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Jennings

"Are you a veteran?"

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This can't be true, how can your military be allowed to quit? I hope this is not the case. I couldn't live with myself if I guit during basic or AIT.

I once had a Drill Sargent (Army) tell me he was quitting. Asked him why? He said the Army has changed, and they actually had a "time out card" to prevent him from getting into his butt. I said you gotta be kidding me! He said that you didn't have todo runs in full field gear now, and he wasn't allowed to get in your face for quitting. I told him Howard Oliver would have whopped the snot out of me for even thinking about it. He said I was probably a good man, but said I have no idea. My mission was to keep my right hand man alive, and not much else. Said Oliver was a good man as he got that thought in my brain. I never lost a right or left hand man, but regret getting a couple shot up trying to pull my mangy butt out of the fire (he laughed and said the Army needed my mind set). I had a First Sargent that treated me as if I were his own kid. But also lead me into the fire. I'd hate to have thought what he'd have done with a time out car waved in his face. Probably been quite ugly! Yet I can remember yelling for a couple belts, and low and behold he was crawling thru the mud to get to me. That's a true vet in every man's mind!

glt

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That being said, maybe today's "kinder and gentler" military has changed the rules. I did hear that anyone who quits during basic / AIT is now given an honorable discharge. No idea if that is really true or not.

They are given an ELS or Entry Level Separation if they are discharged within 180 days of service, and not eligible for Veteran's benefits unless they have a service connected disability.

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They are given an ELS or Entry Level Separation if they are discharged within 180 days of service, and not eligible for Veteran's benefits unless they have a service connected disability.

Some of us who served for a full tour with an honorable discharge aren't eligible for VA benefits either. The only things I can ever get from the VA (based on my dates of service, 21 Feb 84 - 20 Feb 88) are the useless VA home loan (which most lenders won't even do anymore, and which is more expensive than a normal loan), VGLI life insurance ($30k), and, had I been able to contribute to it, a whopping $7500 education assistance thing (less than one semester of grad school). The VA would match my money 2:1 up to a max of $7500 total. But at the time, I was a 2nd Lt living on less than $1000 a month in Alaska, and I couldn't afford $25, much less $2500. I get no VA medical benefits (ever) nor anything else, simply because I fell into the magic window between the end of the Vietnam era benefits and the revamping of benefit eligibility in the 1990s. Sorry, but thanks for your service...

Edited by Jennings

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It seems nothing has really changed in more than 100 years. ☹️

Tommy, bloody Tommy

Chuck the barstard out

But 'es the 'ero of 'is country

When the guns begin to shout

Attributed to Rudyard Kipling

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It seems nothing has really changed in more than 100 years. ☹️

Tommy, bloody Tommy

Chuck the barstard out

But 'es the 'ero of 'is country

When the guns begin to shout

Attributed to Rudyard Kipling

If you are going to quote Kipling at least take the trouble to get it right.

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' ``Chuck him out, the brute!''

But it's ``Saviour of 'is country,'' when the guns begin to shoot;

Darius

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Some of us who served for a full tour with an honorable discharge aren't eligible for VA benefits either. The only things I can ever get from the VA (based on my dates of service, 21 Feb 84 - 20 Feb 88) are the useless VA home loan (which most lenders won't even do anymore, and which is more expensive than a normal loan), VGLI life insurance ($30k), and, had I been able to contribute to it, a whopping $7500 education assistance thing (less than one semester of grad school). The VA would match my money 2:1 up to a max of $7500 total. But at the time, I was a 2nd Lt living on less than $1000 a month in Alaska, and I couldn't afford $25, much less $2500. I get no VA medical benefits (ever) nor anything else, simply because I fell into the magic window between the end of the Vietnam era benefits and the revamping of benefit eligibility in the 1990s. Sorry, but thanks for your service...

This amazes me... we had several fights during the time of your service yet benefits were so low. I know it was popular to 'lower costs' all around, but it seems like the powers that be felt some kind words were all you would need to get by on after serving your country. Your education benefits are a darn joke. Same thing happened to my old man when he served around that time. There's really a lot going on in the conscious in the post-Vietnam time frame.

Today's education benefits are through the roof, comparatively speaking. When my grandfather (wife's actually) got out of the Corps following the Korean War, a war in which he only experienced as part of ANGLICO in Japan, he got his education and lived like a king during this period. Compared to where many of us were before the military, many of us live quite well during the GI Bill period following discharge. I know I do. But every few weeks I see someone come by without full benefits because of the length of time they served, so their GI Bill gets pro-rated. I think it's this way unless they are 100% service connected. However, being in Texas allows students to use a state benefit that waives the cost of tuition called the Hazlewood Act, which helps many partial recipients get through college.

Edited by Exhausted

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I'm in the same boat as Jennings.

81-85. Limited VA benefits, no GI Bill.

But that's okay. I'm a Veteran. I have never been in a War, but I was part of the "Cold War", and I've been on several "Operations".

I'm sure Jennings has as well. Foreign Lands, different stars at night, Holidays that lost their meaning, only to be more meaningful upon return. Lost Friends.

How do you measure a Veteran? Loss? Time Served? Sacrifice? Duty? The scars they carry? Pride?

I don't know, I really don't.

But I have met some Civilians that were better people, who had more pride and honor than many of the Veterans I have met.

I do remember that if you got washed out of BMT you were "reset to civilian" like was mentioned before.

And as I recall there were several that couldn't or wouldn't hack it.

if you screwed up in Basic when I was in, you got recycled. Back a week, or back to week one, whatever.

I would rather have done push ups, or been slapped, or made to run an extra mile than be recycled.

Fortunately I never was, but I watched a few pack their crap up and get walked out the door.

But I digress.....

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This amazes me... we had several fights during the time of your service yet benefits were so low. I know it was popular to 'lower costs' all around, but it seems like the powers that be felt some kind words were all you would need to get by on after serving your country. Your education benefits are a darn joke. Same thing happened to my old man when he served around that time. There's really a lot going on in the conscious in the post-Vietnam time frame.

Today's education benefits are through the roof, comparatively speaking. When my grandfather (wife's actually) got out of the Corps following the Korean War, a war in which he only experienced as part of ANGLICO in Japan, he got his education and lived like a king during this period. Compared to where many of us were before the military, many of us live quite well during the GI Bill period following discharge. I know I do. But every few weeks I see someone come by without full benefits because of the length of time they served, so their GI Bill gets pro-rated. I think it's this way unless they are 100% service connected. However, being in Texas allows students to use a state benefit that waives the cost of tuition called the Hazlewood Act, which helps many partial recipients get through college.

OK, I see your points made here, and I'll respond in kind.

* a kid standing guard in Japan in December 1945 is still regarded as a WWII vet even though he didn't enter the theater till September 1945. Strange I know, and trust me the question has come up several times over the last three or four years. The folks in the Pentagon say it's the fact that he had his boots on the ground. I have one of those vets in my VFW post, and a couple men challenged him (I could care less as the guy is close to 90 years young). So what does this have todo with the 1980's? It's whether you had boots on the ground, or were actively involved (Think of a kid loading bombs on a carrier or Guam). Korea is still (to this very day) known as a combat zone. There are also certain vets that are considered to be combat vets (?) even though they never actively were involved in a theater. These are known as "Cold War Veterans". Not everybody falls into that window. Don't ask me as I've never had it fully explained to me.

* With the above in mind, a vet is still a vet. Period! BUT! The VA lists all vets by a "line level". I'm a #5 moving towards #4. I started out as a six just because I physically had boots on the ground in Vietnam. Deemed it as arrogant discrimination, but also into deaf ears. Things in the VA are constantly changing, and if (for one thing) you flew or flew in a C123 you need to get your line level changed ASAP! Many C123's were contaminated with Agent Orange (even in the states). Gonna at least make you level six, and probably five (there is no set ending date for this by the way). The folks coming home from the Sand Box have it a lot easier these days in dealing with the VA. It was near impossible in 1970! Believe me it was just as ugly in the early 80's, but things started to look better when Reagan took the issue (he's credited with getting the ball rolling). Bush and Obama have actually done more than the rest combined, but not enough. I switched my health care to the VA System five or six years ago for several reasons (mostly Agent Orange). Yet I also had Blue Cross and went to Medicare in 2011. The VA simply bills Medicare, and then bills the remainder to Blue Cross. They eat what's left (very little by the way). Tina and I bought our first house with a VA loan in 1970, and I went to school on the GI bill. Whoopie doo!! It only covered about 18 months, then Nixon and Congress forced an extension to 24 or 30 months at about $170 a month!! Still without it Tina and I would have starved.

* I'm three days short of doing fifteen months in the game of mortal combat. Whoopie Doo! My 15 months gave me lots of free fringe benefits. I got a free dose of PTSD, enough mental scars for four life times, get to shake hands with Agent Orange daily. Fight depression 100% of the time (only admitted it a year ago). Have zero medical records to file a claim off of, yet I have the tattoos and scars to show for them. I (personally) would trade those fifteen months to just be like anybody else with no train rides.

gary

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Below is directly from the US VA website. I qualify after 38 years, regular and reserve. When I was processing for retirement in 2013 they had me complete paperwork for the VA Healthcare System, and I was accepted. This year I received my federal tax form from the VA stating I had qualifying health insurance under Obamacare.

Minimum Duty Requirements

Most Veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or entered active duty after October 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty requirement may not apply to Veterans who were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, for a hardship or “early out,” or those who served prior to September 7, 1980. Since there are a number of other exceptions to the minimum duty requirements, VA encourages all Veterans to apply so that we may determine their enrollment eligibility.

Enhanced Eligibility

Certain Veterans may be afforded enhanced eligibility status when applying and enrolling in the VA health care system. Veterans who:

Are a Former Prisoner of War (POW)

In receipt of the Purple Heart Medal.

In receipt of the Medal of Honor.

Have a compensable VA awarded service-connected disability of 10% or more.

In receipt of a VA Pension.

Were discharged from the military because of a disability (not preexisting), early out, or hardship.

Served in a Theater of Operations for 5 years post discharge.

Served in the Republic of Vietnam from January 9, 1962 to May 7, 1975.

U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships associated with military service in Vietnam

Served in the Persian Gulf from August 2, 1990 to November 11, 1998.

Were stationed or resided at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987.

Are found by VA to be Catastrophically Disabled.

Previous years' household income is below VA's National Income or Geographical-Adjusted Thresholds.

Edited by Ranger74

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You've been on a roller coaster with all that and I apologize because everything that follows truly is trivial in comparison. I can't speak any criticism and I have to acknowledge that it's bitter-sweet in my position. I joined in 2007, never got deployed (a fact I own, given that I had no choice in the matter), and served until 2012. While I was in this new thing called the Post-911 GI Bill became law and it expanded the benefits to near post WWII levels. It's bitter sweet in my position because I know countless others got less for doing so much more, but I have benefited from this law so very much. I was a college idiot before I joined, now I'm a salty student kicking so much butt (never dreamed of 3.5 at a prestigious university, this is at the edge of my capabilities) -- I couldn't have done this without my service.

But veterans benefits means a lot to different folks. To a married father they lift the burden from the family and pave the way for a nicer future, but for a young singleton it could be just another piece of disillusionment. To those who preceded me, please except my spirit offering of your beer of choice and my thanks, because everything I've done has been build on the shoulders of those who came before.

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You've been on a roller coaster with all that and I apologize because everything that follows truly is trivial in comparison. I can't speak any criticism and I have to acknowledge that it's bitter-sweet in my position. I joined in 2007, never got deployed (a fact I own, given that I had no choice in the matter), and served until 2012. While I was in this new thing called the Post-911 GI Bill became law and it expanded the benefits to near post WWII levels. It's bitter sweet in my position because I know countless others got less for doing so much more, but I have benefited from this law so very much. I was a college idiot before I joined, now I'm a salty student kicking so much butt (never dreamed of 3.5 at a prestigious university, this is at the edge of my capabilities) -- I couldn't have done this without my service.

But veterans benefits means a lot to different folks. To a married father they lift the burden from the family and pave the way for a nicer future, but for a young singleton it could be just another piece of disillusionment. To those who preceded me, please except my spirit offering of your beer of choice and my thanks, because everything I've done has been build on the shoulders of those who came before.

This will roll slightly off topic, but bear with me. Everybody knows how Korean and Vietnam vets were treated. Some of us are thicker skinned than others, and I just never let it get to me much after I was home a couple years. Now there are about 30% of the RVN era vets alive, and probably less than 15% of Korean War vets left. Yes we're soon gone and out of everybody's mind. Yet I am seeing (now days) a small mind set of vets from my era discriminating against the current lot of combat vets. This doesn't do well with me. I'm very certain some of this has even drifted over to the VA.

Some of the best (and friendliest) vets I have ever known; never spent a day in combat. Many are better people than many combat vets. I see veterans daily with my position in the VFW. Yet I'm also close with the folks at the American Legion. When I'm there, I never ask a person where they did their time unless he has an RVN hat on. Even only to see if we're I-Corp rats. We all put our pants on the same way! I'm the number two man in my VFW post, and could be number one. Yet in a discussion with my Service Officer a couple months back, I asked him how many of the folks he helped were combat vets. He said about 40%! Rest were not even eligible to join the Post, but we treated them as veterans anyway. I want him to ask each one of this 60% to join the Legion. The more names and faces, the greater the impact in Washington D.C. I'm finding the "non" combats tobe more in need than most of the others that are. They all seem to have families, and just want to get on in life. They're not really needing a hand out as much as they need some one to help grease the path for them. Yet I can say we've handed out close to $55K in the last six months to men and women needing help. Now we all have something that is special to us. Mine is the homeless veterans thing. Most folks fail to realize that 10% of all homeless are veterans. That's a lot of people! We hunt for them.

gary

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I guess I are a veteran. Not quite 11 years ago, I got a letter that told me to report and get a new ID card. It's blue tinged, the Expiration Date Block says INDEF and the Upper RH block says U.S. ARMY RETIRED. Do that qualify me as a Veteran?

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Since we're rolling things out here: One thing about Veteran in Canada I don't understand is why the line is drawn for an NDI75("Record of Service" card) at 10 years. I qualify, but my wife served just over 7(as an officer) and does not! So, federally her service doesn't count? Provincial plates(Ontario) is three years, which she does have.

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I'll just say "yes, I'm a veteran". 35 years in a RCN uniform backs that up. Just retired a month ago.

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I am kind of the other side of that coin. 15 years active duty F-15 and F-16 crew chief. I never deployed to the mid east as I was in PACAF in the 90th then the 18th at the time (98-05 and 08-13). When I was in the 90th, we couldn't leave PACAF as we were the only Strike Eagle squadron and we had to stand by for Korea deployments. I damaged my spine in 05 on a GBU-15, then PCS'D to Mountain Home for 3 years in the 391st. I was forced out at 15 years on medical separation with 70% disability but with no retirement. Having never deployed anywhere but Korea multiple times, I do not like being called a veteran as I dont feel it applies to me. The closest encounter I had with danger was standing up beneath a GBU-15 (rookie stupid mistake) and cracking my spine.

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I am a veteran but have been told I do not qualify for Veteran of a Foreign Wars status because I entered the Navy after the beginning of May 1975 when the Viet Nam war was declared over. I served from May 19,1975 to May 19, 1979. I served on a carrier for three and a half years in the Med and my drunken brother-in-law served in Germany for the same time period and yet he is still considered eligible.

Edited by Viperguy

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VFW isn't a public institution so they get to set their own rules, IIRC. VFW standards have no bearing on your veteran status. I don't qualify for VFW either, which makes me apprehensive about visiting and swapping stories with the folks their. I am eligible for AFL, which I plan on joining.

Edited by Exhausted

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I am a veteran but have been told I do not qualify for Veteran of a Foreign Wars status because I entered the Navy after the beginning of May 1975 when the Viet Nam war was declared over. I served from May 19,1975 to May 19, 1979. I served on a carrier for three and a half years in the Med and my drunken brother-in-law served in Germany for the same time period and yet he is still considered eligible.

Your brother inlaw is known as a "cold war vet". I think it would be worth a phone call to the National VFW (have a current DD-214 with you). Not positive about your qualifications, but it's worth the shot (pun).

gary

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VFW isn't a public institution so they get to set their own rules, IIRC. VFW standards have no bearing on your veteran status. I don't qualify for VFW either, which makes me apprehensive about visiting and swapping stories with the folks their. I am eligible for AFL, which I plan on joining.

In most VFW Posts, there is an unwritten rule about war stories. You never start one that gets bloody. Some folks don't do well, while it doesn't bother others. Last thing you want to do is to trigger someone's demons. Yet it does come up on occasion. I know they got me about a year ago. I visit several posts in my area, and with two of them there are zero war stories floating around. Almost like going to the Legion (I love those folks by the way).

The main interest with the VFW is helping other vets. Helping them thru hard times, and getting them proper health care (mental and physical). My post probably helps more non combat vets than combat vets. Now your a non combat vet. This leaves you a couple alternatives to consider. You of course can join the American Legion, but you also can join the VFW's Auxiliary. It's now combined to accept men as well as women (note: a few post still have a Men's Auxiliary, but the women's now takes in men as well).

Gary

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