1. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Military Thread

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by jonathan hernandez13, Sep 4, 2009.

    I have begun this thread for military afficianados, veterans, and anyone interested in military issues both old and modern.

    I invite discussions, old war stories, questions, even criticisms of the military (I have been called some horrible things because of being a Marine Corps vet, if you call me a baby killer it wont offend me as much as make me laugh).

    I would like to take this time to address certain issues and concerns I have, brought about by my often seeing the military being poorly represented or portrayed.

    The media often exploits every military cliche possible, perpetuate myths and misconceptions, and reduce the individuals of the armed forces to mindless robots drinking the blood of foreign babies.

    It is easy for me to become defensive when people make erroneous assumptions about my old profession. The overwhelming majority of people have been kind to us, thanked us, and even buy us drinks at bars (and at least one time bought dinner for a large group of us). Unfortunately, it often takes one bad piece of fruit to spoil the lot. There were establishments that refused service to Marines, College counselors in towns close to bases "warned" new students about us, and so on. Merchants exploited gullible boots by selling them used cars at outrageous interest rates, its no wonder that the suicide rate and rate of alcoholism among Marines (especially in the barracks, where I was) is way above national average.

    We were often seen as "others" or "outsiders" and could be spotted anywhere and identified as Marines just by our haircuts and appearance. While civilians were often kind, they were not always inclusive, and for five years my only friends, the only people who understood me or what I was going through were other Marines (or other service members of other branches).

    I was at a club in Arizona once, as far away from my permanent duty station in North Carolina as you could imagine. The highlight of my night was when I met up with two Army soldiers and we started swapping tales through the night. The civilians would never understand why, but I felt like a goldfish in a bowl filled with Piranhas who suddenly found a few Minnows.

    The service was not full of many fond memories, most of it sucked, and the best thing about it was my friends who worked with me and (if needed) would fight to the end alongside me in a fighting hole. I trusted them, they became a family, while my real family back home thinks I was away on a god damned vacation.

    Anyway, thats the end of I rant I can waste time on a blog.


    Please enjoy this thread:)
     
  2. Mfish618
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    Mfish618 New Member

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    Interesting. I work on an army base resetting military vehicles and the majority of my co-workers are ex military people. Every day I see army personel that are clearly suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, and it's quite upsetting to me.
    It seems the population in general, while grateful for the service, have a difficult time relating to a service person's expierances and problems.Most people will never understand what you've been through, and further, don't care. The war is merely an event read about or seen on the news and I think this country is in denial, and feeling guilty about it. My generation faced the draft upon graduation from high school, so it was more of a reality than the current all volunteer military of today. It's difficult to change peoples perception, especially when the have nothing to base it on. You have my best wishes.
     
  3. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    I respect all service members unless they prove, through some heinous act or just general douchebaggery, that they do not deserve respect.

    Members of our armed forces all sacrifice something for the rest of our nation, even if it is just time away from their loved ones.

    I know it's not nearly the same as the Marine Corps, but I have certain aspirations to join the Coast Guard after high school. I want to experience the law enforcement side of things and the Coast Guard do that pretty regularly, so I hear.

    While I would not be out in a fighting hole with the infantry duking it out with enemies, I like to think I'd still be serving my nation adequately.
     
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  4. SonnehLee
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    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm a soldier's daughter. :) Probably can't contribute too much to this thread either.
     
  5. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's interesting that the American media is the one that criticises the soldiers whilst the British media is the one that criticises the government. I'd have thought that, with the rivalry between the Democrats and Republicans, it would be the other way around.

    But, seriously, I have to question the capabilities of American generals, and the rationality of some of their officers, whether on the ground or planning the campaign in a headquarters in Kabul, or wherever the American generals are based.

    There's a few problems I saw with the campaign in Afghanistan, that I thought probably wouldn't mean that much to the campaign, but noticed anyway. Well, I was wrong - these problems have made a big difference to the campaign, and I'd just like to mention them. They need to be mentioned as much as possible, in my opinion - they are possible means to a Taliban victory.

    Who sent the British to Helmand? There was an American commander to oversee the campaign at the time, so I'll assume that he is responsible. This shows a lack of understanding of the history or people of the province, and it is made even more ridiculous when you hear that the British general thought that it was a good idea to object. His argument? That the British had invaded Afghanistan before, in the 1840s, and their defeat was still remembered in local Pashtun tradition. When shuras were held with the local tribal chiefs, it took them less than ten minutes to mention the Battle of Maiwand. There were also regiments in the army sent to Helmand that had been at the Battle of Maiwand. Their presence would both make the locals suspicious, and would be brilliant for the Taliban's propaganda machine.

    The American general's response? Well, he didn't need to make one, as he'd already decided and there was nothing the British general could do about it. I'm not going to be politically correct here; that is such a spectacular example of a general having no understanding of military theory that, if I was a politician, I'd have blocked British forces from being sent to Helmand, and would have told the American general who ordered it to send in his own troops if the region was that important. Which it actually isn't.

    Helmand is not an important region of Afghanistan, not to the Taliban. It is almost entirely irrelevant to the economy of Afghanistan, or to the economy of the Taliban. They do not, as many people have suggested, make most of their money from the drugs trade. They actually banned it when they were in power; would they really have missed that out, when they enforce one of the strictest interpretations of shari'ah law ever seen in the Muslim world? They make most of their money from donations from Muslims around the world - wherever they get their soldiers from, they get money from. Most of their soldiers are Pashtuns from Afghanistan and Pakistan, but others are from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and even Chechnya. And after many years of war, Afghanistan is full of weapons - they can just march into a police station in Kandahar if they want equipment.

    The Taliban's spiritual capital is Kandahar. It is the most important place for Pashtuns, and is where the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, was born. They have publically said on many occasions that their intention is to retake the city. But control of the region was left to Canada, and (no offence to any Canadians; this failure of military strategy is nothing to do with your own general's decisions) as they have no experience in handling a modern insurgency, or no regiments that are good at public interface (the Gurkhas are perhaps the best example of this, and are especially useful in southern Afghanistan), that is another bad decision on the part of American generals.

    A better idea would have been to send the Canadians to Helmand - the Taliban will not want to take Helmand as much as they want to take Kandahar, so there will be an opportunity to do some reconstruction, and the Canadians will be trusted more by the locals that the British. There'll at least be no mention of Maiwand at the shuras, and the garrisons in the cities will not automatically be at a disadvantage. The British could have garrisoned Kandahar, as the British army is both more capable and more specialised to hold the city against the Taliban, militarily and politically. Kandahar is militarily, spiritually, and economically more important to the Taliban than Helmand - even the benefits of taking over a city that is full of weapons are a good enough reason for them to try and take it back. The gurkhas, with their skills in public interface, are the only regiments available to the coalition that speak Urdu, which is understood by most people in the south of Afghanistan, can understand the Afghan tribal society, command respect because of their martial birth, and whose soldiers are not European.

    When Kandahar has a strong Taliban presence (if you see a video of the city, count the number of people who wear black turbans - they are probably Taliban), you simply need to engage with the people. If you don't, then your soldiers are essentially under siege.

    Then there's the brilliance of the American policies of forced eradication of farmer's crops. The Taliban were actually doing that, although they provided compensation. I don't understand how Americans intend to stop the drugs trade, the main export of the region, and promote economic stability. The only other option available to the people is to sell weapons to the Taliban, as long as compensation is not provided; either pay up money, or be outgunned. Or just don't enforce things that are impossible.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    TO ALL: Please limit the discussion to military in general. Posts which highlight differences between national policies are divisive and will not be tolerated.
     
  7. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    It was said in the first post, that:

    The essential meaning is clear there, isn't it?
     
  8. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not a stereotype, it's not a criticism (although I'd like to see the other examples of those). It's not even an opinion. It's an observation of what was said in the original post, by an American poster, and is irrelevant to the rest of my post regardless.
     
  9. Lavarian
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    Lavarian Contributing Member Contributor

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    John:
    I'd buy you a beer, mate. I appreciate your service to this country. A good friend of mine is in the Navy and another in the Marines.

    God bless you, sir.
     
  10. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you all for the kind words, they mean a great deal.:redface:



    Sabreur:

    I dont know anyone in the Coast Guard, but I had a friend who was checking it out for when he was done with his five year tour.

    From what I understand, yes, its like a Maritime police force, and you'll probably see way more action then I did as a jet tinker-man:)

    They have some cool bases, they stay by the coast obviously, so I hope you like sea food. Their training places alot of emphasis on swimming skills and training, I think even moreso than the Navy.

    In boot camp we had water survival training where they taught us different methods for staying afloat (using a blouse or pair of pants as an inflatable floatation device is a skill that I shant ever forget and is pretty awesome:)). There are 5 diff levels that got progressively harder, in the highest one they pretty much try to drown you.

    Me and my buddy checked out the Coast Guard swim qualifications needed, and they were a little diff then Marines, which are sea soldiers essentially. They emphasize more swimming then drown-proofing, so my advice is that you do alot of swim excersize in the pool. Stamina is the key for qualification, they will teach you all the techniques you need and drill you until it becomes second nature.

    Good luck, it sounds like an adventure.:cool:
     
  11. Syne
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    Syne Member

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    I'm a soldier too. But things are a bit different from me. You see, I'm serving in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces). Here, the army is something everyone goes through when they turn 18 -- guys for 3 years, and girls for 2. If someone doesn't, managing to evade service due to medical disability or mental illness, fake or genuine, they are ever-so-subtly looked down upon. Some view them as less trustworthy, whether their condition is true or false. Many employers expect their applicants to have undergone military service and might be unpleasantly surprised when they find otherwise.

    The army is viewed as something essential, as a duty a citizen must do his or her best to uphold. Few people counsel others to avoid service, and many violently oppose those who do.
     
  12. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have been told that there are some opposed to service called refusniks? Im sorry they get persecuted, anyone has a right to view their opinions and concerns.

    My heart goes out to you, I dont know exactly what youre going through as an IDF soldier, but I can relate as a vet. It will only suck for a few years and then you can put it all behind you. Pay attention to what your trainers tell you and make close friends.

    PS, Sabbat Shalom:p
     
  13. ChimmyBear
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    ChimmyBear Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hello Sabreur...I read this and had to post.

    My oldest son, Jasper, is serving in the Coast Guard. He is treated and expected to perform just as in any other branch of service. He started out a "Firemen" on a boat. Transferred over after some schooling, to an "Airman". After a lot of work and schooling, he is now qualed to fly SAR (Search and Rescue), his love, however, has always been the law enforcement side of the Guard. He begins school for that sometime in the spring. Let me say, it is hard work, complete dedication, and discipline. They don 't play.

    He hasn't regretted one day of it, you can find his picture on my profile page, under family. He is in Uniform. He made E5, Second Class, August of last year. Anyway, I'm a proud mom. :D
     
  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Regardless of subject, wf.org is a writing forum. So, with that in mind….

    It is clear that the military and the police are related organizations, historically speaking. I don’t mean near history. I mean deep history, when these two concepts first come into being within a culture.

    As a writer, I am left to wonder what drives the differentiation between these two organizational concepts within a culture. That the greater whole of a group might require individuals dedicated to protecting that greater whole from aberrant individuals seems clear enough, but what are the dynamics that drives a culture to then create a different group whose purpose is to protect the greater group from other groups? Please understand that I understand the need to protect the greater group from other groups given human nature. The question's focus is on why the differentiation in jobs. Why not just one group dedicated to both with specialized dedications within the organization?

    I ask because as a vet myself, I often note that the concept of both a police force and a military is completely missing from most works of fiction unless those works of fiction have as their main focus the military or police. And when I do see an organization that seems analogous to the military in fiction (science fiction to be more specific) it is so vastly different in structure and seeming intent from what the real world presents that I am left to wonder Is this a military organization? An ambassadorial service? What the heck are these snooty people wearing uniforms, anyway?
     
  15. Syne
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    Syne Member

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    Most people don't think 'sarvanim' ('people who refuse') have the right to avoid military service. Even in a democratic state, your rights are what the government says they are. After all, government would be kind of silly if everyone had the right to ignore its laws. If everyone refused service, Israel wouldn't exist.

    Oh, and you wouldn't have as much respect for the IDF if you actually saw us :p

    Oh, right now I'm on extended sick leave due to a seizure I had this Sunday. Depending on the cause I may not return to service at all, and if I do, I will probably be reassigned to a 'day job' of some sort. It could mean all sorts of bad things, though, so I'm not exactly happy.
     
  16. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree, if you live in a country, and its laws are not clearly corrupt, swallow your pride and obey like a good citizen.

    :eek:I am very sorry to hear about your seizure, I sincerely hope that you do well.


    PS, I have seen pics of some IDF guys who have been fighting in the desert and they looked kinda scruffy. They had beards and were covered in dirt, if my superiors saw me with stubble they would have chewed me out on the spot.

    But superficialities aside the actions of the IDF speak for themselves and you guys still have a worldwide reputation.
     
  17. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    I have a question. My eyes are rather sensitive to light, be it natural or artificial. It limits the time I can spend in front of a TV or computer because my eyes really start to burn before long, and even when I wear sunglasses outside on a cloudy day, I can still get rather irritated. It's not a problem with my vision as some people believe, because my eyesight is perfect; I'm simply photosensitive. Would something like that prevent me from going into military service?
     
  18. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It might (and I say might) prevent you from voluntarily entering. These kinds or rules tend to fall by the wayside during times of war or military conflict.
     
  19. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You bring up an excellent point Wrey, police forces are paramilitaristic in nature, with rank strcuture, discipline, and many other close parallels to be sure.

    As a history nerd I resort to the antiquities: ancient societies did not have professional militaries. Warfare was as old time, but the people who did the fighting had different faces. If you had a culture condusive to fighting and had a warrior class you might have faired better against hostile nomads than a society that didnt.

    In that regard, militaries are far older than what we would think of as police. One of the oldest scholarly references to a police force that I can find is that of the Nubian "Medjays" who were used by the Egyptians as scouts and by the new kingdom could be found patrolling streets by night like constables enforcing the laws of the Pharaoh. These Medjays were warlike in nature even before they became incorporated into Egyptian society though, and made good "policemen" specifically because of their militaristic tendencies.

    The most obvious distinction between a military and a police force is that the former should deal with hostilities from outside the domain while the latter deals exclusively within. This was not always the case, in the ancient world there were many regime changes and rebelions within borders, and the army would be used against their "own people".

    Most ancient armies had seasonal levies, made up what we would call national guardsmen. Wealthy citizens who could afford armor and weapons would drill a few months out of a year, but were not soldiers by profession. Not even the mighty Spartans could fight 365 days a year, their society was agriculturally based and would collapse under constant warfare (none of the Spatans actaully did crop tending though, all males were warriors by birth and culture, and left their large population of Heolot slaves for the manual work. To keep their workers in check they would annually sacrifice a number of them during something called a Crypteia).

    The first evidence we have for a professional army that I know of is found exclusively in Rome. Again; not a feudal class, warrior caste, or King's army. So by those terms Samurai, K'shatriya, and even the "professional" army of Alexander the Great were not an actual professional military.

    The first Roman armies were conscripts before the Marian reforms. All males between the ages of 17 to 46 were obligated by law to serve, and while well trained, were not exactly well motivated. Most people in the ancient world considered military service, much as today, as a burden. The top level leadership in the Legions were politicians called Consuls, who had 12 month tenures. Thats a quarter of the minimum term of enlistement for a modern US Marine, hardly enough time to learn the intricacies of tactics and such.

    In the time of the Imperium and after the Marian reforms the army was mostly volunteers who were paid as soldiers, making them professionals by the context of their paid professions. There were auxiliaries to boost numbers, foreigners who were given the incentiveof becoming a citizen after 25 years of service and "retirement".



    I have often observed that what the modern age calls a military is becoming largely obsolete. Large formations fighting pitched battles lost favor rapidly after the advent of nuclear weapons, where large massed targets make excellent targets for a missile strike. The enemies of "civilized" nations realize that they cannot win a pitched battle with their numerical and weapon inferirority, so rely on guerilla, partisan, and even terrorist tactics.

    The military is beginning to adapt, Green berets are trained in unconventional warfare, armies in Iraq have Explosive Ordnance Disposal guys defusing IEDs, but the large indoctrinated armies cannot keep up with the change at a pace fast enough to meet the changing tactics of the enemy. Hence America being able to win a "war" against a nation with a numerical abundance with few casualties, but losing the "peace" in the streets and roadsides and losing troops every day to improvized booby traps.

    Essentially, troops who are trained in boot camp to fight large formations, armored vehicles, and hunker down in fighting holes as if the Reds were coming are fighting walking bombs wiling to kill themselves for a cause. Troops are not policemen, but they have been used as if they were ever since Panama where they were sent to extract a drug lord or in Somalia when sent to arrest a warlord. They were used as police again in Bosnia and now again in Iraq AND Afghanistan. They are not domestic fighters, and know nothing about the people, but are expected to be able to tell a terrorist from a civilian when the two mix in the same population and exploit that advantage.

    It is a COSTLY way to fight an unconventional enemy.

    It does not surprise me that there are more foreign civilians in Iraq than there are military, and that mercernary groups like Blackwater make money up the wazoo by doing jobs that an 18 year old kid out of High School isnt paid well enough to risk.

    Ancient armies like the Carthaginians had mercernary armies too. Why? They didnt want to fight, didnt feel like dying. But they had enough money to buy people to fight, maybe what we need is a modern mercernary force.

    Who says you cant learn anything from history?:rolleyes: The more things change the more they stay the same.


    Most fiction gets the concept of military completely wrong, they emphasize one aspect while failing to witness the practicalities of the others.

    1)Technology - A guided missile cant hold ground, build a bridge, or have a conscious. Low tech is actually better, because as both Wrey and I know, the more high tech the more they fail and require man-hours of maintenance. A Marine with a rock or pointy stick is as deadly as with a rifle, just need to get CLOSER.

    2)Training - Without discipline or knowledge you dont have an army, ou have a mob with guns who are as likely to rape and murder their own people as the enemies' (which is against international laws btw). The reason why the Samurai had Bushido is the same reason why Knights had Chivalry and Boot camp indoctrinates (what civilians call brainwash) their recruits day and night over and over for months that "a Marine never lies, cheats, steals, or does ANYTHING dishonest". They instill in us (brainwashed) core values like "Honor, courage, commitment" and "Unit, Corps, God, Country". As Jack Nicholson said in "A few Good Men", some people use those buzz words as jokes at a party, but some take it to heart, by design.

    3)Tradition - military is very rich with it, its the reason why theres a salute (knight lifting a visor), drill (old time large formation battles) and sentry posts (because the French and Indians attack at dawn:cool:).

    Many fictions gut the essence of militaries so that all that is left is heroic looking men with jazzy suits, cliched and dated jargon (AWOL is a dated acronym, its UA now), and cutting edge level technological weapons that win the day and steal the show.

    How untrue, without a team of 18 year old techs fixing the broken ass jets they never even get off the ground.

    Funny:rolleyes:
     
  20. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes

    One of the first things you do after visiting a recruiter is going to your State Capital and getting poked and prodded by government doctors at a Federal facility called a MEPS. They take your blood, check you for color blindness, and all kinds of weird stuff.

    Essentially they try to filter out anyone who is mediaclly unfilt and sift through to find able-bodied men. The trick is, if they cant catch it, and you dont tell them, they dont know. Bear in mind that as military medical care is free (its actually deducted, but theres no "insurance cap"), so if it is a serious problem, youre better off treated in a "free" federal hospital then in an HMO ridden place. Especially if you were seriously thinking about signing up.

    Once you get in, if it becomes such a problem that you have to be asked to leave, it does not affect you in any way, you are medically discharged, and will get paid a disability percentage for the rest of your life as their way of thanking you.

    Unfortunately Im heathy as a horse, so I didnt claim anything for disability when it was my time to check out.:mad:
     
  21. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Absolute truth. The job that I did in the service (I was a 208 in the USAF. Had I been Army, that would have read as 98G. If you know what that is, then you know what I did) was very tech dependent. This made things a little sticky if your tech was on the blink. My job also made me aware how vulnerable the enemy could be when his tech was non-functional and he had become dependent on his tech.

    I detest when the movies and media paints people in the military as blindly obedient flesh robots.


    Both the training and the sense of tradition that impart a quiet feeling of elitism to the service member are next to impossible to erase. Ever notice, Jonathan, how you can spot someone who is ex military or ex police force from a mile away? :rolleyes:

    Star Trek is the worst offender of this. These guys and gals carry military rank, but Starfleet is nothing like what I remember. The basics are missing altogether. Is Capt. Picard a ship captain or a scientist, or an ambassador? What is he? Seriously.
     
  22. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Star Trek is the worst offender of this. These guys and gals carry military rank, but Starfleet is nothing like what I remember. The basics are missing altogether. Is Capt. Picard a ship captain or a scientist, or an ambassador? What is he? Seriously.[/QUOTE]

    lololol, that is true.

    for someones whos a jack of all trades he manages to delegate and micromanage every episode

    Ensign...can we do that? We can? Sweet, make it so!
    [​IMG]

    my fav Picard moto poster:p
     
  23. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    And now for a little fun, just some funny pics to lighten up the air and poke fun at the uniformed services. Please contribute. Some may offend slightly, but once you understand the sense of humor that the makers have you understand how silly they are.

    There are a few inside jokes that maybe only vets may get, some universal, some sad, some scary, some are just WTF?

    Most were found at

    http://www.motivatedphotos.com/home.aspx?tag=tunnel&pageIndex=0&sort=5

    [​IMG]

    for the love of God...put those down before you shoot your girlfriend in the face(facepalm)

    [​IMG]

    thats actually a rifle drill movement, sling arms to tactical carry, but it still looks funny

    [​IMG]

    what the hell are these two birds doing? Is that some radical new tactical river crossing technique??? Fail!
     
  24. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    yes, budget cuts suck, I have also had to "pretend". Dont laugh, its embarassing.

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    Im pretty sure his medal placements are a little off, but I dont think that mean old bastard gives a damn:D

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    I know its sexist, but its still funny!
     
  25. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    ja ja ja

    it looks like shes staring down the barrel:D

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    ummm, what the hell?

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    sureee...why not?
     

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