All US Military War Veterans Are Not Same-Same

It seems that some veterans want to create an impression that a veteran is a veteran is a veteran. Then there are guys like me who think combat arms veterans, in particular, have paid one hell of a lot more dues than the majority of vets, especially those we call rear echelon mother fuckers (REMF).

Let us take two guys, one is 18 years old and the other one is 23 with a college degree. The 18 year old enlists in the active duty Marines and does 30 years as a grunt, rising to the rank of Sergeant Major before being put out to pasture with a pension that is not worth spit.

The other guy joins the Navy reserve as some sort of computer geek with the intention of milking the tax payers for all he’s worth; but at the same time and throughout his career, he takes every precaution to ensure that the greatest risk he will ever face are paper cuts and swear words.

Then America gets attacked on 9/11 and Congress, in order to retain mid-level officers and enlisted personnel, sweetens the (retention) pot with something called the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The problem now for our Go Navy beat Army REMF is that he has to do 90 days in OIF (Iraq) and/ or OEF (Afghanistan) theatre of operations in order to get this new, improved and quite lovely GI Bill which allows him to pass that 4 year free ride on to his dependents.

Now imagine that his lust to snag that GI Bill and pass it down to his kids is so intense that he breaks that vow to self, and starts shopping around for a cushy yet super-safe ‘in theater’ gig to qualify to claim his prize. A little problem arises for our future war hero/ vet in that there are no 90 day billets available that are completely risk free or our Reserve/ National Guard officer; but he is tenacious in pursuit of his goal and finally lands a 45 day volunteer gig inside fortress America in Kabhul, Herat, Mazar or any place where he his wonderfulness will be protected by grunts and he can buy good quality European wines and such at the German PX 24/7/11.

Iraq was always too dangerous, even inside Baghdad’s green zone the bad guys could always reach out and touch you no matter how cushy your assignment, but Afghanistan was not. Actually anywhere inside the Green Zone in Kabul was safer than your mother’s womb. This fact of course would make OEF/ Afghanistan the only so-called war zone in which our reluctant warrior/ hero/ soon to be VFW/ vet would be at all interested in. Winning that 4-year free ride on the backs of the US taxpayers ‘scholarship’ for his son or daughter would be less dangerous than almost any neighborhood within the continental US. Plus the tax-free because you know, war zone, officers salary combined with danger pay and other perks would be a nice boost in his annual income so once again we find our Reservist/ Nat-Guard vet guy practically ecstatic when he manages to find and ‘volunteer’ for his second pump to Afghanistan and the 90-day golden ring is grabbed.

If you think it could not happen, I will gladly introduce you to an Army Major, also a reservist, who proudly announced that he volunteered for some chickenshit assignment in Djibouti (designated as part of OIF theater of Ops) for 6 months because it got him the Post 9/11 GI Bill which he promptly signed over to one of his sons. There were also tax breaks and, in his case, a higher salary than he was making in his civilian job. For our Army Reservist dude, the war in Iraq was a Win-Win-Win with the taxpayers being the suckers as usual.

Still believe that all ‘combat/ war’ veterans are created equal?

The Pareto Principle is also alive and well within the bowels of your vaunted Department of Defense where fewer than 20% are trigger pullers and the other 80% are stealing both oxygen and tax dollars.

With love,

LtCol Simon MacTemplar

USMC/Ret.

13 thoughts on “All US Military War Veterans Are Not Same-Same

  1. The peons vs the elite. How very baroque. And, if “Let’s Go Brandon” continues to royally screw up an entire country, it will soon be very, very, baroque.

    My dad was a private at 33 and left the military as a corporal after WWII, when he was 36. He was in one of the few places that wasn’t hit by bombs in England. During the time he lived there, all they had to eat was mutton. As a result of flying there in a plane, eating Mutton, and returning on the Queen Mary, he never wanted to do any of those 3 things again as long as he lived.

    As a result of his 3 years of service to the army, he was able to get a 3-bedroom/1 bath house without a down-payment, which he kept until it was sold 23 years later. He never said anything about what the higher eschelon received. That was “then.” What is happening now is nowhere near the same thing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am USMC prior enlisted (AKA mustang) and was accused on my very first Fitness Report as an officer of having “Troop Mentality.” It was meant to condemn but I wear it as a badge of honer to this day. For what it is worth, my highest enlisted rank was also Corporal.

      Finally, having three of my own I can honestly say daughters also serve.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Then there was Gunny Hernandez who did back-to-back tours in Iraq as a Weapons (machine guns, mortars, anti-tank rockets and such) Platoon Sergeant/ grunt. His wife was not pleased when he volunteered to join his replacing unit because they had no Weapons Platoon Sergent.

    Semper Fi!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. HA! I thought I already cleared up your misconceptions of REMF’s? With today’s warfare where some guy 6000 miles away can drop steel on a target the size of a trash can, the FLOT or FEBA do not exist. The only rear echelon is CONUS. Everything else is vulnerable. So even the cooks, JAG, mechanics, and Dental hygienists are in an active forward theater of operations just by being in country.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Situational dependent but yes, normally you are better off if you can observe the enemy.

          My guess is since the beginning of organized warfare more infantrymen (by every metric) have been killed and wounded than any other job in the military (MOS). Even in training REMFs do not begin to take the risks that grunts do.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Worst case scenario, there was usually eye-candy sashaying about at ‘Dental.’ I am reminded that grunts need our toofers cleaned from time to time too. Do you realize just how hard it is to floss in the field?!?

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        3. Oh, I am not arguing that point at all. I am arguing what defines a REMF? With floating battlefields, a BatTOC or DivToc that is 100 k’s deep is no longer “rear”, considering the advancement of weaponry.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. I can live with that! They do not have the same duties, dangers, or stress than the Grunt, so yeah, I am comfortable with that…but not all non-infantry players are pogues. Engineers, The Bomb Disposal guys, TAC analysts…and many others, are standing right beside the pop-up targets when the shit gets rough.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. As a civilian, I can only comment on the two military men with whom I have had an explicit conversation:

    One was my next door neighbor- USMC copter jock who crashed and burned in the jungles of Cambodia and made it back to his platoon in Saigon all alone because his co-pilot had been killed. That is a conversation that will live in my mind forever and this very brave soldier cried in my presence.

    The second was a West Point grad who I met at the Heritage Foundation and served in Desert Storm. He re-upped for a second tour of duty because and I quote him, “It’s hard to explain to civilians but you never want to leave your troops behind.”

    We are one lucky nation indeed to have men like this amongst us.

    Liked by 1 person

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