MILITARY VETERANS: Have You Ever Wished You Had Stayed In The Service?

N320AWN320AW Senior MemberPosts: 648 Senior Member
I post this question because I cannot come to terms with the continued news coverage in reference to unemployed veterans. Maybe I am posing two questions, but I need your input.

First, why is it that there seems to be so many unemployed veterans? I do not mean recently, but going back to the infamous Vietnam conflict. Do military veterans exhibit some stigma that makes them unemployable?

Secondly, and to the thread topic, have you guys sometimes wished you had stayed in? The reason I ask this is that, over the years, I have had many dreams that I was still in the U.S. Navy (Vietnam twice) and actually felt comfortable in those occasional dreams.

I've done very well, and had a full-life since I left the service in 1971, but I wonder about others.

I would appreciate some thoughts about these things, especially why it is that so many veterans cannot seem to sustain gainful employemnt.

Is this true, or just the news media spinning things around a bit?

Replies

  • DanChamberlainDanChamberlain Senior Member Posts: 3,375 Senior Member
    Far too many veterans were high school educated guys and gals who didn't make use of the benefits available, i.e. GI bill or in service education. Their jobs in the service did not give them the technical skills employers were looking for, or if they had the skills, the "qualifications" did not match the civilian counterparts. Take medical. I've been stitched up by med techs who also start IVs and do a myriad of things in the service that only RNs or MDs can do in the civilian world.

    Then too, I have to believe that a significant number of unemployed vets are that way because they don't have the drive to pull themselves up.

    Dan
    It's a source of great pride for me, that when my name is googled, one finds book titles and not mug shots. Daniel C. Chamberlain
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 7,351 Senior Member
    I can tell you straight away that a lot of the guys coming back from the war, just like their Vietnam predecessors, suffer from PTSD and are, for all intents and purposes unemployable. It may not even be a direct PTSD symptom, but a guy who is a raging alcoholic as a result of his wartime stress is simply viewed as a drunk who can't keep it together by a prospective employer. We just saw a TV special here on the local Las Vegas news about a shelter for vets who came back from the war so messed up that the cannot earn gainful employment.

    The other aspect is physical disability. I'm sure a lot of the boys at Walter Reed missing both legs and possibly an arm are being counted as "unemployed" when in reality, they are disability cases who may never be able to do real work. Some do, of course, but with many months or years of rehabilitation. Are they still on military payroll or are they militarily retired without work? If it's the latter, you have to presume they will be counted as unemployed for that duration.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • N320AWN320AW Senior Member Posts: 648 Senior Member
    Then too, I have to believe that a significant number of unemployed vets are that way because they don't have the drive to pull themselves up.

    Dan

    Thanks for that, but what do you mean by "pull themselves up?" Up from what? This is the kind of thing I want to know about.

    It seems that the majority of WW-II veterans came home and made a success of hard work with ample opportunities. What's happening since those times?
  • NyGunownerNyGunowner Banned Posts: 328 Member
    Yes, but whenever I play "what if?" I am aware that means EVERYTHING changes. I woulda never met my kid's mother.....

    Vets suffer more than their share of employability related issues, from drug abuse alcoholism, to PTSD, etc that inflate the numbers.
  • BufordBuford Senior Member Posts: 6,661 Senior Member
    I wish I had stayed in for the simple reason I could have retired at 39 and seen the world. I never had a problem getting work and I do well for myself and family. Right now I think it's an economy thing but back in the late 70s if you wanted work it was there. Now a days not so much.
    Just look at the flowers Lizzie, just look at the flowers.
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,429 Senior Member
    I got out in 1975 while trying to keep an abusive soon-to-be-ex wife from killing our kids. I had planned on a 20-year Air Force career, but my plans changed after a 1-year unaccompanied tour to Thailand and the Phillipines. It took nearly 5 years of court battles to get custody. Some of you have met my children and grandkids- - - -did I make the right decision? In California, Southeast Asia vets couldn't get a job cleaning toilets- - - -I know from personal experience. I opened up a diesel shop and 24-hour road service, working out of a utility bed on a worn-out 65 Dodge pickup, to keep from starving to death. Some of my contemporaries chose drugs or alcohol instead of becoming self-reliant. Bottom line- - - -nobody in the world is responsible for your well-being but yourself. Do the best you can with whatever hand you're dealt by life!
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • QuinianQuinian Senior Member Posts: 707 Senior Member
    you have to account for injury too. I was infantry, wanted to be a cop or fbi when I got out and I'm very well qualified for both (I checked) other than the fact that I have some pretty bad injurys that would prevent me from even flipping burgers muchless dealing with violent criminals.

    Even still I would have rather stayed in. I can't stand most civilians or at least not the ones my age
  • N320AWN320AW Senior Member Posts: 648 Senior Member
    Quinian wrote: »
    .Even still I would have rather stayed in. I can't stand most civilians or at least not the ones my age
    Could you elaborate a little more on this? Please do.
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,508 Senior Member
    Luis nailed it....DID you know that PTSD is not even seen as a Disability. Not everyone gets PTSD and not everyone who has PTSD is ruined by it. I have had the this talk a lot with folks. Those that have never seen been in a Rifle BN or Tank BN have a real hard time understanding this too...I get the, "yeah I deployed a few times but I am fine, I had stress everyday.." Yes, you had stress as a Personnel Clerk on Victory Base processing my pay request...Not the same as the guy who is stressed everyday because he just spent 2 hours going down 30 miles of road looking for IEDs.

    SO, take 22 year SGT Smith. Does his second tour in Afghanistan, Patika Province. Comes home, re-intergrates (7-10 days), takes leave (30 days), out process the Army because he is done (30-60 days). Add up the days and you get somewhere between 90 - 100 days. PTSD often times does not begin to really show the symptoms until 90-120 after return. So now we have young SGT Smith trying to find a job as an 11B and very little college showing signs of PTSD through rage, abuse, or anxiety....Do you really think he is going to get hired? Oh yeah he can get help at the VA, as soon as they get to his claim in 6 months. By then he is so far gone it is insane. So why doesn't he have more college...The same reason I don't as a MSG...It is hard to college when every 9- 12 months you are deployed again. And in the 9-12 months you are home you are either in the field or getting ready for the field so you are ready to deploy again. Tell me how to fit an online college into that...

    Jerry is right too, you are responsible for you. There is enough education out there now on PTSD, a Soldier should know he going the wrong way. HE should be strong enough to say I need help...Army Strong.
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • DanChamberlainDanChamberlain Senior Member Posts: 3,375 Senior Member
    Centermass, you wrote: "And in the 9-12 months you are home you are either in the field or getting ready for the field so you are ready to deploy again. Tell me how to fit an online college into that..."

    Many of my fellow nursing students were full time employed and single mothers. they were exhausted but managed to keep it up long enough to get it done. I don't want to diminish what our military members are doing or going through, but excuses come in all shapes and sizes.

    Dan
    It's a source of great pride for me, that when my name is googled, one finds book titles and not mug shots. Daniel C. Chamberlain
  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Posts: 5,420 Senior Member
    Many of my fellow nursing students were full time employed and single mothers. they were exhausted but managed to keep it up long enough to get it done. I don't want to diminish what our military members are doing or going through, but excuses come in all shapes and sizes.

    Dan

    Good point, but "in the field" can translate to days and days away from home at a time, sometimes without much heads up. With online classes that have certain deadlines a surprise FTX, base lockdown, or CQ duty can equate into a failed class.
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "It's far easier to start out learning to be precise and then speeding up, than it is having never "mastered" the weapon, and trying to be precise." - Dan C
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 9,560 Senior Member
    Good point, but "in the field" can translate to days and days away from home at a time, sometimes without much heads up. With online classes that have certain deadlines a surprise FTX, base lockdown, or CQ duty can equate into a failed class.

    :that: Field= 24/7
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • DanChamberlainDanChamberlain Senior Member Posts: 3,375 Senior Member
    I agree there as well. Just being stateside is no guarantee you won't find yourself exercising 12 on 12 off for a week at a time, no notice. It's one of the things that drive people mad when they're trying to manage their personal lives. The last 10 years have been hell for the military.
    It's a source of great pride for me, that when my name is googled, one finds book titles and not mug shots. Daniel C. Chamberlain
  • QuinianQuinian Senior Member Posts: 707 Senior Member
    N320AW wrote: »
    Could you elaborate a little more on this? Please do.

    Most people my age can't even speak english clearly enough to be understood, they have zero discipline, they're rude, they seem to feel like everyone owes them everything for free, in the work place they don't take anything seriously, come in late, mess up the uniform (if there is one), back talk their boss, rude to customers, call off work because they're hung over. They kind of remind me of the OWS crowd actually...

    I just don't understand that mind set. I was raised military and then I joined the military. I have zero tolerance for lazy, stupid, rude people. I also hate the good ol boy system that seems the be the norm now. Last job I had out of the army I was at work on time, dressed properly, did my job, did what the boss said yet the chick who did what ever she felt like got promoted to asst manager over me because she was buddys with the boss. That's a bunch of bull IMO. Civvys can keep that crap, I want back in the military.
  • Medicine HatMedicine Hat Member Posts: 106 Member
    Far too many veterans were high school educated guys and gals who didn't make use of the benefits available, i.e. GI bill or in service education. Their jobs in the service did not give them the technical skills employers were looking for, or if they had the skills, the "qualifications" did not match the civilian counterparts. Take medical. I've been stitched up by med techs who also start IVs and do a myriad of things in the service that only RNs or MDs can do in the civilian world.

    Then too, I have to believe that a significant number of unemployed vets are that way because they don't have the drive to pull themselves up.
    Dan


    Agree with that. I was in for 16 years as an Army Medic, had just made the E-7 promotion list then got caught in a RIF in 1984. I had completed a degree in Clinical Lab by then, but civilian pay for that was pretty poor at the time. So..Back to school to get my RN degree, so I could legally do the same things I did every day in the Army. I don't know if there are any good answeres, but yes, I would have stayed for 30 if it had been possible.

    Al
  • TSchubTSchub Senior Member Posts: 780 Senior Member
    Sometimes, but when I lay in bed at night and my daughter crawls in bed with my wife and I , and I hear that little voice say " I love you, Dad ", I'm so glad that I'm home. There are days at work when things are dragging by and I'd love to be doing vessel checks, or standing by for a SAR call, but it is what it is, and I can't complain about where I'm at now. It's one of the reasons that I'll buy a service man or woman a meal or a drink if I know they are serving, because I know what they give up to do what they do.
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    I retired from the Army in 96, no regrets and I'm glad I stuck it out. It's not for everyone to stay in over a hitch or two.

    There are plenty of opportunities/programs out there for active duty and VETS to take advantage of, but like anything else in life you have to strive for it and make some sacrifices to reach your goals.

    Thank you all for your service whether it was one term or or a career and the support all of you give our military/VETS:usa::usa::usa::usa:
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,508 Senior Member
    Dan,
    ...single mothers.....
    That is exactly the mentality that I am talking about with the PTSD...If you an't ever lived the life in the dirt and the Sand with a Rifle/Tank BN, you just don't get it. When I was in the field, I did not have any access to take college at all...In the field means you are in the woods, running around playing army, and using the least amount of technology possible, all for various lengths of time...Hell I worked the TOC a lot because I am Commo and the only times I had access to the computer was to send SITREPS. There was no way in hell I was going to be able clog the bandwidth to check mail, let alone College.

    So do you really think I can take a college class if the semester is from Jan - Apr and I am in the field from 2 feb - 18 Feb and then at JRTC (field again) from 15 March - 5 April? There is no way I can miss that much time...
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • NyGunownerNyGunowner Banned Posts: 328 Member
    Lotta hating going on right on this thread, and a lotta useless chest thumping.

    BUT the fact remains, you take an 18 yr old and send him to college, where he has a loose set of rules and gets to come home often, he still might melt down.

    But send him to the military for maybe two years at a time between seeing his family, unpredictable work schedule, etc, then sk him to re-up. Ok he does. He marries his HS sweetheart, SHE is dragged halfway across th country from her family, lives in some apt. complex, then "poof" he's deployed, then "shazaam, he's back, ad she's developed a lifestyle without him, they adjust, she gets pregnant, then poof, he's deployed,...... Add to all this neitheer of em has mom around the corner, they are forever strangers in town, etc.... It isn't an easy life, even discounting IEDs and ragheads.

    Even without sand and gunfire, military duty can be mind-numbing and induce all manner of hurt and hate. My kid brother was Navy during the first Gulf War. He spent his entire "cruise" 6 decks below the water line, working 16 hour days, 7 days week, and never even SAW the Persian Gulf except at night, when he'd go on break, out on a helicopter elevator to smoke. His rack mate jumped off that elevator when he couldn't take it any more....
  • shawn1172shawn1172 Senior Member Posts: 588 Senior Member
    I'll just stick with the headline question. Yes, I frequently wish I had stayed in. Don't know if I really fit the category you seem to be discussing though. I was never regular Army, just National Guard for ten years, 1991-2001, and was never deployed. My unit was on alert for deployment in the first Gulf War but never got sent. We were the next maintenance company on the list to go when deployments stopped. My unit did end up being deployed twice after I was out. This is a big part of why I wish I had stayed in. My fellow soldiers, friends and family were sent over while I was here in civvies. At the point I got out I was fed up with all bs I dealt with in the Guards and really wanted out. Then when they were all activated I felt like I'd abandoned them. I still feel guilty for not being there with them. It's certainly not that I wanted to go to war. It was that I felt like I didn't do my part.
    Another part of wishing I had stayed in is what I could have earned from it- retirement and lifetime medical. If I had stayed in I could be retired almost a year by now. But at 28 I wasn't thinking of retirement. The Guards felt like an inconvenience to me at the time and I wanted to get out and move on. I regret it on a pretty regular basis now.
  • wolf049wolf049 Member Posts: 217 Member
    I'm retired (23yrs) Dec 2008, 15 yrs Army and 8 yrs Nat. Gaurd, with a tour to Korea and a deployment to Iraq. When I got back from Iraq, I also had a hard time dealing with civilains and a whinny boss's son. After a bad spell of anger out burst and lossing two jobs, I went to the VA and found that I had PTSD. I've under gone treatment for 2 yrs now, the PTSD is still with me but I've learned how to deal with it and the bouts of anger has gone waaayyyyy down. Every soldier deals with stress differently and not all of them know that they have PTSD and/or deny that they have it. For example; I started working again last Sept. and had a nasty reaction to the carbon fiber. I was sent to Medical and when I was there, I met a nurse there that was a corpman in the Navy and he was in Iraq the same time I was. He had a tatoo of a rifle stuck in the ground with a helmet on the stock and the Roman numeral IV above it on his forearm. I asked him if those 4 men was his friends and his answer was, yes they where. He said that he doesn't suffer any syptems of PTSD, but his coworkers and the doc say's he does.
    I'm glad/proud that I stayed in to Retirement and ALL joking aside, I miss it. Not so much of the Military BS but the soldiers that served beside me.
    "To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them."
    - Richard Henry Lee
  • 104RFAST104RFAST Senior Member Posts: 1,265 Senior Member
    For me, coming home (1966) was very weird. While I was very glad to be home I found the civilian population to be undisciplined
    and on drugs most of the time. I went to College on the GI Bill, but most of my new friends were veterans. If you weren't around
    during the 60's you wouldn't understand. Later in life when I ran a business I made a point of hiring veterans because of those
    experiences. Even today, finding people who can pass the Piss test is difficult. While hiring veterans today can include a lot
    of baggage, most can pass a drug test and are worth any extra training that may be necessary. When Southwest airlines
    was starting up they made a point of hiring Veterans and it worked out very well for everybody. My Son
    is a lifer today and frankly I'm glad he is. If I were a young person today I would definitely give it a
    long hard look as a career. YES, for a long time after I got out I missed the total experience of being
    in the Air Force, but I enjoyed my job, that's important. GOOD LUCK!!
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