Being in the military is a blessing and a curse.
Crazy cool benefits, job protection, serving the country, and no lines for the bathrooms or showers if you’re a female, are only a few perks.
However, the cons are waking up early, the hurry-up-and-wait game, and answering questions from civilians about what military life is like.
So, here’s a list of stuff you want to know and say to military members past and present but shouldn’t ask or say. This will save you a ton of embarrassment you don’t know you have coming. You’re welcome in advance.
“So, is basic training hard?”
Are you serious? What kind of question is that?
If you’re thoughtless enough to ask, then, for you it probably would be.
However, if you’re reading this article, you might actually wonder, so I’ll tell you: It’s actually a huge let down.
The hardest part of basic training or boot camp is putting up with the idiots to your left and right who constantly get the entire platoon in trouble because they can’t even seem to breathe right.
Yeah, waking up at 4:45 a.m. isn’t a walk in the park at first, but you get a lovely wake up call from your drill sergeants, making you up and at ‘em in no time.
Coffee? Who needs it when you have an angry instructor with a megaphone?
“I bet you could kick my ass, huh?”
One of the most major misconceptions is that all service members are trained at an advanced level of hand-to-hand combat.
There are definitely people in the military who could lay you out with one swoop. We refer to them as special forces, MARSOC, SEALs and rangers, and any of the other elite forces.
A regular Joe could probably still put up a decent fight, but the majority of soldiers do not have that Hollywood style of crazy warrior ninja skills you think they do.
“Have you ever killed anyone?”
I’m pretty sure most of you know better, yet some still ask. One of three things is going to happen.
A: The veteran is going to be brutally honest with you and include all the gory details.
You’ll get your answer and the opportunity to sit through an extremely awkward period of time with no idea how to respond. Here’s a hint: If he or she is telling you after you ask, the veteran is not looking for your sympathy or empathy. You asked and the service member told.
B: You will ask a veteran who has and bring up painful memories he or she doesn’t want to live through again.
C: You’ll ask a service member who hasn’t. Although there’s no negative repercussion for this scenario, eight times out of 10, he or she will think less of you for asking.
“Wow, you don’t look like someone who would be in the military.”
This is one I have personally experienced quite a bit, and, frankly, it makes people look and sound ignorant.
I don’t think much of it, but those are the kinds of comments you keep to yourself because it makes you look small-minded. Service members come in all shapes, colors and sizes.
“Aren’t you afraid you’ll get deployed or whatever?”
Here’s the thing: We didn’t take an oath to not deploy. That’s why we joined the military, and you decided somewhere in or after high school it wasn’t for you.
Most slick sleeves, which is an Army term for someone without a deployment patch, are eager to deploy. The reasons vary. The brotherhood, experience, excitement and the opportunity to do our part and become part of history are all reasons why we enlisted.
Just like any other group of people, veterans cannot be lumped into one big category.
There are a good chunk of veterans out there who couldn’t care less about this entire list. However, avoiding these questions altogether is never going to make you look stupid.