Tag Archives: Military

Things you don’t know about the military until after you leave the military

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in the military for four or 34 years you’re going to get out. I was in 20 years and five days … here’s a few things I’ve noticed.

1. Uniform vs. Civilian Clothes:

Look your ACU, battle dress or ‘look pretty with ear rings’ (yes you Air Force) uniforms are a few things, chief among those things are predictable and easy. If a piece wears out you go to the military clothing store and buy a new one. Camouflage patterns hide dirt and stains. I drove a 1995 Jeep Wrangler for 15 years. The Jeep, which my good friend and co-worker Erika Fields once referred to it as “that thing you drive”, is not known as a smooth ride and it spilled coffee on me every time I drove to work.

Camouflage uniforms don’t care, they make coffee stains their bitch.

In the civilian world though…

Spilling coffee on yourself, in the civilian world, is a turn around and go home, full-blown emergency!

Forget dirt and stains the simple number of choices will make you insane.

This guy designed his own uniforms!

A uniform, no matter if it’s a camouflage based uniform; a uniform for wear in the office or the one this dude has to wear … is still a uniform. There isn’t a choice, even if you are choosing the type of uniform itself, the morning when you get dressed you know exactly what you have to put on.

In the civilian world though…

HOLY FUCK welcome to an infinity of choices. Maggie Menzies warned me about this when I was getting ready to retire from the army and for the first six months after I retired I thought she was a dirty, filthy liar but then one morning in the shower it happened.

“Jesus! What the FUCK am I going to wear?”

Who am I dealing with today is a question that factors in to what you’re going to wear. As does, what am I doing today, where am I doing it and will they make fun of that pink shirt at work? (Hint: They will). It becomes this retardedly complicated question that once answered can be rendered moot by one bump in the road that causes a bit of spilled coffee.

I once worked for a Major who told me a story about his ranger squad, group, cluster (it’s hard to keep these things straight) that was asked to test out a new night vision mount on a helmet. One ranger intentionally banged the mount against the wall and when the company representative complained the major said, hey this shit happens. Point being the stuff the military buys is generally well made.

Civilian clothes on the other hand are scared of sick, dying kittens. Everything tears, snags and pulls apart. I found, early on in my retirement a great pair of Steve Maddenshoes that I LOVED. I LOVED those shoes, I kissed them at night. Everyone complemented me on them. Trouble was they wore out after like a day. I bought

I'm hiding ... so I can destroy your clothes

literally 10 pairs of them before I admitted defeat and realized I was not going to win. Wearing a different pair, of the SAME TYPE OF SHOE, every other day just prolonged the death. They may have looked good but they were made by meth addicted Chinese sweat shop eight year olds that were anxious to get back to their world of warcraft gold-mining jobs.

Those shoes sucked, but I loved them.

Don’t get me started on slacks.

2. Rank … it lets you know so goddamn much.

I don’t care if you were a private or a colonel when you left the military, when you walk into a room you know you’re place. It’s just that easy.

Seriously toss 50 military people into a room and within .0003 seconds they know who is in charge. Hell you know who’s second in charge, who the senior enlisted guy is and who will head up the moral and welfare part of the group. It’s just that simple.

In the civilian world it becomes decision by committee. Everyone’s opinion matters. I think I’ve seen the cleaning lady get asked about her thoughts on an invasion of Iran. Everyone has a voice and it sucks. I’m pretty sure I could tell my boss tomorrow that I think we should consider the feelings of puppies when we go forward with the plan and he’d have to pause to think about it. In the Army you’d be stuck doing pushups, which are GOOD FOR YOU.

3. You’re generally taken care of:

You are. You’re taken care of. Fuck you, you are. Everyone has a story about how the military fucked them. Here’s a stop on the clue train for you, you weren’t and you ignored some key bit of information that allowed you to feel like you were fucked while the U.S. Military put on kid gloves and tried to make it as easy as possible for you.

And you fucked it up after all that effort.

I have dug down into more people’s lives, asking where that last dollar went when I was in the military than I care to think about.

“Why are you buying the good cheese when WIC approves the other cheese? I’m asking because you’re in debt and I want to know, fuck you answer me.” That’s a legitimate question in the army if you’re having financial trouble. Your leaders can step in and tell you that you’re making dumb decisions with your money. They can and literally do make you write out your budget.

mmmmm ... cheese

Sure it looks good but is it W.I.C. good?

They can’t make you buy WIC cheese but they can call you an idiot for not doing so.

This is just one example of hundreds, if not thousands, of things the military does in an effort to take care of their service members

In the civilian world NO ONE GIVES A SHIT. They say they do. Hell they might try to make an effort toward helping you but at the end of the day, after 5 p.m., it’s your problem.

Living in a cardboard box? Fuck you be in on time.

Daughter dying from cancer? So sorry but while you’re at her bedside don’t run out of time off.

I exaggerate but the military puts so much effort into seeing you succeed that you never realize it and when you do realize it. It’s too late.

4. Organizational predictability:

Even the most super-duper, ultra, if you read this blog we’ll kill you, secret ninja military person, if they’re married, has a spouse that knows they might be gone tomorrow and might be gone for a year or forever. The average person in the military KNOWS full well when they are leaving for deployment or to change duty locations. The military takes great pains to let you know so the process is less painful for you, your family and your organization. As a squad leader all the way up to the very top movement from one station to another, or from one job to another, is predictable to a large degree. Knowing that your personnel action specialist is leaving in 6 months makes replacing that person that much easier.

But in the civilian world it’s like a bomb is dropped, mostly. Civilians can, and do, out of nowhere come up to their bosses and say, “Hey, I love it here but I’ve got a job on the other side of the world and they want me there tomorrow so we need to have the going away lunch now.” Meaning the organization now has to function one person down and, perhaps, has to operate without a key set of skills.

There are generally exceptions to any rule so if you want to think you’re a special little butterfly and one of these didn’t apply to you fine, generally though it’s spot on.

Now there are a myriad of ways that life outside of the military is better/easier/whatever but that’s another update.

Homophobic Master Sgt. to Stars and Stripes, ‘teh gays are gross!’

Corey thinks this photo makes baby Jesus cry ...

Today in the European edition of the Stars and Stripes newspaper a Master Sergeant serving in Afghanistan offered readers this wonderful piece  (link). While the letter’s to the editor section of Stars and Stripes has long been both the equivalent to an internet fight among 7th graders (Is not! Is to!) it’s also typically filled with wonderfully retarded opinions. Normally I chuckle and read Pearls before Swine but Corey Wade really caught my attention.

Dear Corey,

How’s the hatred of the gays going?  Seems you’re boiling over in fact with hate. I’d watch the blood pressure; maybe write Limbaugh or Reverend Jones a letter to provide a little relief. From reading this letter you seem to have gotten yourself into a good old fashioned bible- thumping rage over it. That’s awesome, good job … wait a minute.

Did I just read that right Corey? You’re a master sergeant in the U.S. military? Holy shit dude you’re likely in charge of people! I think you might even be the kind of person that the Sergeant Major of the Army talked about recently. The kind he talked about getting rid of I mean.

Okay, because I like you, I’m going to help.

You see in November of 2008 this guy was elected to be our president. I know, I know you didn’t vote for him but the majority of us did and he won. Democracy is a great thing isn’t it? One of those things we both have in common, you and I Corey, is that we love our country. Anyway one of the things he promised was that he’d repeal don’t ask don’t tell.

A lot of people, myself included, thought the whole DADT was kind of like segregation. You don’t think segregation in our armed services was a good thing do you? Good, I hoped not. That aside, our feelings (yours AND mine) really don’t matter (well yours don’t, I’m retired). See the guys and gals in charge (some of them might even be gay guys and gals) said, with the President’s permission, “You can now serve openly if you’re homosexual.”

End of debate.

Now here’s where my heartburn comes with your lovely little hate-filled rant. I really only give it a 6 on a scale of 1 – 10 for general hate-filled shitgasims but for utter bullshit, you’re off the charts Corey. Have a lollypop, good job.

I assume you attended the repeal of DADT Training, I did and it was a hoot! Maybe you had to go to the bathroom when this bullet statement was on the screen.

The Army maintains:

  • Zero tolerance for harassment, violence, or discrimination

I assume you missed it because you wrote: It’s bad enough to publish articles that cover the debauchery of homosexuality.

Were I your subordinate and gay (I’m neither), I’d be more than a little hesitant about approaching you for anything/everything. You’ve basically told me that I’m disgusting and or a sinner. I’m guessing it more of an ‘and’ not an ‘or’ but that’s just a guess. What kind of leader does that make you?  If your subordinates know you think their sexuality makes you disgusting and a sinner I mean.  Do you think that might call into question your ability to take care of your subordinates? I think so, but I also think bible-thumping, narrow-minded bigots in positions of power should be shouted down at every opportunity.

You see Corey, your opinion, no matter how backwards, hateful and wrong, doesn’t matter.

If I, in 1948 had said Harry S. Truman was a fucktard and the ‘the blacks (and let’s be honest, no one said blacks)’ shouldn’t serve next to whites you’d rightfully think I was a racist scumbag and an idiot to boot. You, my good friend, are a bible thumping homophobe … thou doth protest too much!

Besides being a shitty leader by letting your personal beliefs get in the way of your duty you’re also, very fucking wrong. Making fun of statements that are just chocked full of bull-shit is always more fun (to me) than picking on someone’s belief in an invisible man in the sky.

While the bible may or may not say homosexuality it wrong, we all know there’s a lot of whacky stuff in there.   How do you pick and chose which parts you’re going to follow and which parts you’re going to ignore?   Have you let any cattle graze with other kinds of cattle lately? Know any Buddhists? I think you’re supposed to kill them. I propose at your next bible study session you ask the group what the official stance on sitting on a seat that a menstruating woman has sat on is, do you have to kill her too or what? That book is just full of rules, a lot of them made sense (maybe) when we were still living in mud huts but they have no place in today’s society. 

Finally some factual fun: here’s this little gem from your letter.

“The vast majority of military members I know do not support homosexuality.”

Nobody’s asking you to go to a gay-pride parade here buddy. You can even keep your narrow-minded bigotry if you

Gay people obviously have more fun than straight people at parades ...

really want to but now you just have to keep it to yourself. Vote for the guy that opposes homosexuality, Santorum I think his name is if you must.

While it may be true that most of the military members you know don’t support homosexuality (a statement I frankly doubt) the fact remains that 70% of today’s service members DO support the repeal of DADT. You’re echo chamber of religious fired hate aside; most of your fellow service members have joined most of the rest of the modern world in their opinion of the decision.

Corey, the exact same argument has been made every time rights were extended to a group that was previously disenfranchised. I think most of us agree that having slaves is a bad thing and that allowing people of all races and genders to vote is a good thing.

One final thing about your letter Corey:

“America is in a deep moral slide and this country will pay the due penalty of its errors.”

Corey, if this is true, what are you doing in uniform? Aren’t you in essence helping this decline? Corey you’re very vocal but you obviously don’t have the courage to do anything substantive, like most cowards.