Thursday , November 21 2019
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Military Habits

Summary:
The title of the article intrigued me: “Military Signs that US Soldiers Will Always Recognize.” It was about habits that people acquire in the military that are hard to break. The article is quite long, so here is the complete list of the habits with just a brief part of the explanations where necessary. Eat Fast Marching As Standard (you can spot a soldier on the street as they all walk with the same sense of purpose and control) What’s The Time? (using military time) Buzz Cut Keeping Eyes On Everything Their Unrelaxed Stance (stand up straight with their hands behind their backs) How Do You Do (answering someone as sir or ma’am) Speaking Their Own Language (saying roger or affirmative) Swearing and Cursing Boot Polish (still

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The title of the article intrigued me: “Military Signs that US Soldiers Will Always Recognize.” It was about habits that people acquire in the military that are hard to break. The article is quite long, so here is the complete list of the habits with just a brief part of the explanations where necessary.

  1. Eat Fast
  2. Marching As Standard (you can spot a soldier on the street as they all walk with the same sense of purpose and control)
  3. What’s The Time? (using military time)
  4. Buzz Cut
  5. Keeping Eyes On Everything
  6. Their Unrelaxed Stance (stand up straight with their hands behind their backs)
  7. How Do You Do (answering someone as sir or ma’am)
  8. Speaking Their Own Language (saying roger or affirmative)
  9. Swearing and Cursing
  10. Boot Polish (still shine their shoes to a high standard)
  11. Memorabilia (a lot of memorabilia from their time with the Forces)
  12. Formal High Fives (still salute to say hello to fellow servicemen)
  13. When A Kitchen’s Not A Kitchen (still invariably call a cafeteria a mess)
  14. The Only Computer Game Worth Playing (Call Of Duty)
  15. The Difference Between Boot Polish and Paint (boot topping is the black coating that is slathered on in between the deck and waterline)
  16. Queueing Quietly
  17. Equipment Check
  18. Knowing Your Jobs (a chore list that anyone in the military will compile within a few days of living in a house)
  19. Fireworks Night (it has been known for fireworks to bring flashbacks on in those that have served)
  20. Standing Tall (trained to stand in a power stance)
  21. Your Platoon (a bond with those that you served with)
  22. Three Letter Abbreviations
  23. Honk To Reverse (honk twice on the horn when they go to reverse)
  24. Respect for The Flag
  25. Wall To Wall Training (choosing to stand with their back against a wall)
  26. Bed Making
  27. Unbelievable Films (problems and mistakes in war movies)
  28. Whistling Whilst Relieving Oneself
  29. No Pointer Needed (keeping all fingers tight together and using the whole hand as a pointer)
  30. Early Risers
  31. Popping Out For A Smoke (he simply means that he will be leaving)
  32. Flavouring Up Those Ration Packs (adding Tabasco sauce to food)
  33. Punctuality Is Key
  34. Explanation Not Needed (getting straight to the point)
  35. Workout Beats (working out to music)
  36. Know Your Gun (having the sensation that their gun is still with them at all times)
  37. A New Alphabet (J will always be referred to as Juliet, or H as Hotel)
  38. Knowing 5 Ways To Get Somewhere
  39. Always Having Your Right Hand Available
  40. Knowing A Way Out (being aware of every single exit that you pass)
  41. Running Towards The Danger (instead of away from it)
  42. What’s That? (saying “say again” instead of “pardon or excuse me”)
  43. Clean Shaven – 24/7
  44. You Still Play Tug Of War
  45. Fix Things By Brute Strength
  46. Competitive Nature
  47. Serializing A Spreadsheet (serialize a spreadsheet of tasks to allocate and billet out to people)
  48. Quick Thinker
  49. Making Do
  50. Showering Quickly
  51. Ability to Sleep Anywhere
  52. Ironing The Life Out Of A Shirt (ironing as a matter of discipline)

Clearly, the article was meant to be both informative and humorous.

But there are some other habits that people acquire in the military that are not so benign. And they are no laughing matter. Here are ten of them that immediately come to mind:

  1. Making widows and orphans
  2. Killing civilians and dismissing it as collateral damage
  3. Taking body parts from the enemy as trophies
  4. Reciting vile and filthy cadences
  5. Engaging in offense while calling it defense
  6. Incessantly watching porn
  7. Supporting a network of brothels around the world
  8. Shooting first and asking questions later
  9. Blindly following orders
  10. Deceiving themselves that they are role models, defenders of freedom, public servants, and a global force for good when they are just the opposite.

Naturally, the article didn’t mention any of these things. Just like it didn’t mention how serving in the military can negatively affect one’s physical, spiritual, and mental health—not to mention one’s marriage and family.

Since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there have been so many cases of veterans with PTSD who have committed crimes, become addicted to alcohol or drugs, ruined their lives, lost their families, and/or committed suicide that there is no need for me to list any examples.

On this last item, I note that just last month three sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush killed themselves within five days. The ship is not even out to sea; it is in dry dock in Norfolk, Virginia, for extensive repairs. And according to the New York Times:

The suicide rate in the Navy, which once ran well below national averages, has worsened rapidly in recent years, more than doubling since 2006. The annual rate is now 20.1 suicide deaths per 100,000 service members, according to Defense Department figures. That is lower than in the Army or Marine Corps, but higher than the civilian rate of about 14 deaths per 100,000.

According to the Veterans Administration (VA), an average of twenty veterans commit suicide every day.

If veterans want to continue to eat fast, get a buzz cut, observe military time, or know five ways to get somewhere then more power to them. But something must be done to prevent the bad, and sometimes deadly, habits that they acquire in the military. Here are ten things that the military should stop doing that immediately come to mind:

  1. Stop fighting foreign wars
  2. Stop occupying countries
  3. Stop being the world’s policeman
  4. Stop overseas deployments
  5. Stop intervening in foreign countries
  6. Stop killing and maiming foreigners
  7. Stop engage in offense and calling it defense
  8. Stop pretending to fight “over there” so no one has to fight “over here
  9. Stop helping to carry out a reckless, belligerent, and deeply flawed U.S. foreign policy
  10. Stop being a global force for evil

And until the military stops doing these things, young men, and especially young women, should stay out of the military lest they pick up some of the above bad habits.

Laurence M. Vance
Laurence M. Vance is an author, a publisher, a lecturer, a freelance writer, the editor of the Classic Reprints series, and the director of the Francis Wayland Institute. He holds degrees in history, theology, accounting, and economics. The author of twenty-four books, he has contributed over 700 articles and book reviews to both secular and religious periodicals.

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