I have what could be considered a tumultuous relationship with my fellow veterans. I love my brothers in arms from all branches of service, but man do they annoy the crap out of me sometimes. I am very proud of my time in service, I wear Marine Corps shirts, have an Eagle Globe and Anchor pin on my hat, and even have a “moto tat.” I still carry myself in a very military fashion as well: always checking around me, refuse to sit with my back to the door, demand discipline from coworkers and my kid. None of these things are what irritate me. I still dress like I did before the Corps, I don’t wear coyote colored Oakley sunglasses, and I most definitely refuse to wear my issued boots outside of a manual labor environment or hiking. When did every veteran become “that guy.” We all know a few of those dudes. You know the one. He wears a coyote, olive drab, or black Flex-Fit hat with one or two things: an American flag embroidered into it, or a punisher skull because they wish they were Chris Kyle (News Flash, Chris Kyle was a fucking war God sent to earth for the sole purpose of keeping Marines, myself included, alive and killing terrorists. You may have been through some shit, seen the worst, and be a legit badass, but you aren’t now and will never be Chris Kyle). I guess what I’m getting at is that I get really tired of seeing the “operator” look on every swinging Dick that stood on some footprints or went to basic training. Let’s get this straight, I’m not saying some of these dudes have seen some shit. I’m not saying some may have been actual tier 1 or 2 operators. Hell, I’m not evening denying that the look is the epitome of comfort and convenience. That isn’t my point really, it’s more that the stigma attached to this kind of look is very real in both the veteran community, and the greater community at large. We as veterans often come across people with one of two mentalities: the first being disdain for our crude and Frank nature, as well as overt forwardness and the fact that we do in fact have mental issues resulting from extreme stress. The second being admiration or kinship. The second isn’t a problem, and is often welcome given our nature to feel lonely and isolated. It’s the first of these two reactions that’s the problem, and that ultra manly operator style isn’t helping the cause.
First off its kind of off putting to both civilians and some other veterans. You can be mad at me all you want, but when I see that I assume one or more of these three things: you’re over compensating or stuck in the “glory days,” you still refuse to even attempt to Assimilate and are probably prone to being a Dick for no reason (yep, I do that one too, it’s a very real symptom of PTSD and shouldn’t be taken lightly), but these kinds of dudes seem to use it as an excuse to forgo common courtesy, or finally you are arrogant or telling flat out tall tails (not calling stolen Valor, but more insinuating very heavily that you take the military tradition of exaggeration to a higher level). That’s all coming from one of your own, so quit it. You aren’t impressing anyone, and you need to stop living in the past. We all miss it. We are all proud of our service, but we realize we need to try and be a part of the real world. Just be a normal dude, wear the occasional moto gear and incorporate the high speed low drag Bullshit into actual outfits. You know jeans, t-shirts, sneakers. Normal stuff. We need to actively show the world we aren’t just broken toys. We need the world to realize we are more than just guttural noises and violent decisive action. We’re normal people, sons and daughters who have been through the worst and deal with the logical reactions to that stress. We aren’t monsters and we don’t need to portray ourselves as such by essentially exaggerating our aggressive and arrogant qualities while wearing a “uniform.”
^^^ That’s Chris Kyle. You are not him.