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Who gets to call themselves a ‘combat veteran’? - Task and Purpose

dimsum

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It's an American article, but we have some similar discussions.

Example: Is "combat" limited to life-threatening situations for the member? What if an RPA pilot launches a missile 6000km away - are they considered in "combat"?

 

daftandbarmy

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It's an American article, but we have some similar discussions.

Example: Is "combat" limited to life-threatening situations for the member? What if an RPA pilot launches a missile 6000km away - are they considered in "combat"?


The CIB walt hunt enters the chat :)

A typically American angst-fest, sadly, and one that can take on the character of a fool's errand. Especially when many of the longest serving 'combat veterans' are civilians, within the context of many recent conflicts.

Lots of countries are looking forward to the day that they don't have to send people into situations that generate combat veterans, and consequently tend to not glorify that status in some way ;)
 

KevinB

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It's an American article, but we have some similar discussions.

Example: Is "combat" limited to life-threatening situations for the member? What if an RPA pilot launches a missile 6000km away - are they considered in "combat"?

Meh.
Too many dipshits think it means something beyond their actual service.
 

Journeyman

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What if an RPA pilot launches a missile 6000km away - are they considered in "combat"?
They're not even real veterans, let alone combat veterans. #StirPot. ;)

I consider a "Combat 'Vet'" anyone who has gotten a pharmaceutical into their house cat and not bled out.


No, I don't care about this topic. You folks enjoy.
 

dimsum

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If you have to add a quantifier to your service, you're either reaching for credibility or showing off your own insecurity.
...which brings me to a related thing that grinds my gears. CD1, CD2, etc isn't supposed to be used as a post-nominal.

Capt Bloggins, CD is fine. Capt Bloggins, CD3, is not.



Decorations (other than the VC and CV, as per Annex A):
  1. Military writing custom dictates that the award of bars to decorations is not indicated in post-nominals. Similarly, the award of a clasp to the CD does not change the post-nominal.
 

Infanteer

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The most sensical definition of combat to me is that one is engaging in trying to kill someone while at risk of taking a killing shot back. Could be two foot soldiers with bayonets, two tanks dueling over a crest, artillery crews firing at each other, or a plane doing a mission while a AD crew shoots. You can probably quibble about this with a bunch of "what abouts" but in general it seems intuitive to me.

So, a combat veteran is someone who experienced combat as defined above. A war veteran is someone who served somehow in a theatre of war. So a clerk on base in theatre is a war veteran, as is a drone pilot in Vegas flying a UAS into a theatre from afar. Again, you can quibble about this with a bunch of "what abouts" but it seems intuitive to me.

So, all combat veterans are war veterans, while not all war veterans are combat veterans. The former is not superior in any way to the latter, nor does it deserve some sort of badge, but the categorization can be useful in defining one's experiences.
 

GR66

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The most sensical definition of combat to me is that one is engaging in trying to kill someone while at risk of taking a killing shot back. Could be two foot soldiers with bayonets, two tanks dueling over a crest, artillery crews firing at each other, or a plane doing a mission while a AD crew shoots. You can probably quibble about this with a bunch of "what abouts" but in general it seems intuitive to me.

So, a combat veteran is someone who experienced combat as defined above. A war veteran is someone who served somehow in a theatre of war. So a clerk on base in theatre is a war veteran, as is a drone pilot in Vegas flying a UAS into a theatre from afar. Again, you can quibble about this with a bunch of "what abouts" but it seems intuitive to me.

So, all combat veterans are war veterans, while not all war veterans are combat veterans. The former is not superior in any way to the latter, nor does it deserve some sort of badge, but the categorization can be useful in defining one's experiences.
Or they could all just be veterans. They all signed up to potentially put their lives on the line for their country but fortunately only some of them were actually called upon to do so.
 

FSTO

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...which brings me to a related thing that grinds my gears. CD1, CD2, etc isn't supposed to be used as a post-nominal.

Capt Bloggins, CD is fine. Capt Bloggins, CD3, is not.



Decorations (other than the VC and CV, as per Annex A):
  1. Military writing custom dictates that the award of bars to decorations is not indicated in post-nominals. Similarly, the award of a clasp to the CD does not change the post-nominal.
The bloody (N) enters the chat.
 

Infanteer

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Or they could all just be veterans. They all signed up to potentially put their lives on the line for their country but fortunately only some of them were actually called upon to do so.

Service in war is a significant experience for most, if not all, who participate. There is no problem in recognizing it.
 

Good2Golf

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I dunno, I once saw on a military sig block "PHD awaiting disertion". Immediatly labels you a total prick.
🤦🏻 JHFC!

My current sig block/LinkedIn profile has neither Ret’d rank, nor post-nominal….and no uniform on my LinkedIn picture FFS!
 

GR66

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Service in war is a significant experience for most, if not all, who participate. There is no problem in recognizing it.
But the problem is in defining the level of participation that should be recognized as being worthy of special distinction. Is simply being in theatre enough? Is it being under fire? What about those back home that face the trauma of treating those that were there? Or that never faced enemy fire themselves but had to face the grizzly task of cleaning the results of combat from damaged vehicles? Or those that have to break the news of tragic loss to the families of those that are killed or injured. And is the trauma faced by those that are forced to deal with those same tasks when they occur outside what we consider as "war" any less significant for those individuals?

I'm in no way trying to downplay the sacrifice and physical/emotional impact of those that have gone to war for our nation, but I have a hard time defining a clear line at which this sacrifice is worthy of special distinction while those sacrifices on the other side of this line are not.
 

dimsum

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But the problem is in defining the level of participation that should be recognized as being worthy of special distinction. Is simply being in theatre enough? Is it being under fire? What about those back home that face the trauma of treating those that were there? Or that never faced enemy fire themselves but had to face the grizzly task of cleaning the results of combat from damaged vehicles? Or those that have to break the news of tragic loss to the families of those that are killed or injured. And is the trauma faced by those that are forced to deal with those same tasks when they occur outside what we consider as "war" any less significant for those individuals?

I'm in no way trying to downplay the sacrifice and physical/emotional impact of those that have gone to war for our nation, but I have a hard time defining a clear line at which this sacrifice is worthy of special distinction while those sacrifices on the other side of this line are not.
That's where I think the "star" (as in GCS) vs "medal" (as in GSM) is not a bad line to draw. It's based on geo location - if you were in/over (under, I guess, if sub crews are involved in a future conflict) then you get the GCS. If you were deployed outside Canada, but not in that theatre specifically, you get the GSM. This is where I think there should be either a third medal, or to expand GSM to remove the "outside Canada" bit.

I've said this previously, and the article mentions it, the interesting cases would be RPAS and Cyber - they are not in the geo area but have direct effects on the AOR - whether it be launching a Hellfire from 10000 km away, or sending a virus that cripples the enemy's comms structure. If the GCS and GSM require deployment outside Canada, then those folks may never receive recognition*.

While there has been precedent (ask how many medals the LRP crews got before Op Mobile kicked off), that's not reasonable. Then again, there is always uproar in some US military circles whenever the idea of a medal for RPAS crews is announced. The USAF has the Remote Effects Campaign Medal which fits the intent.

* Yes, others don't receive recognition at this time either, like SAR crews or NORAD crews. I think they should get recognition as well, be it a SAR medal after X time or something like that.
 
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