What Makes Someone a Veteran?


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HABU
February 10, 2004, 09:02 PM
My partner at work and I are having a disagreement about what gives someone veteran status. He thinks that military service makes a veteran. I say that someone needs to be in a combat zone to be a veteran. He asked how people got VA loans and education and medical care if they weren't considered veterans. I replied that prior service falls under the VA umbrella for these benefits.

So, is there an official position on what makes one a veteran? What are your thoughts?

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TarpleyG
February 10, 2004, 09:09 PM
A veteran is someone that has completed their obligatory military service. Combat or not.

GT

Pilgrim
February 10, 2004, 09:12 PM
When I went active duty in 1969, a veteran was someone who served at least 180 days active duty and was discharged with some sort of qualifying discharge. People who washed out of basic training were not veterans.

Pilgrim

4v50 Gary
February 10, 2004, 09:22 PM
Service in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps & Coast Guard qualifies one as a veteran.

BTW, I think Veterans of Foreign War admits only those who served overseas during time of conflict. American Legion on the other hand doesn't make that distinction. VFWers & Legionnaires, correct me please if I'm wrong.

HABU
February 10, 2004, 09:29 PM
Blast! Looks like I am off base on this issue. I distinctly remember 20 years ago when one of my DI's instructed us that you were not a veteran until the first round went downrange.

Thanks for the clarification.

Could all four of us be wrong?:neener:

HunterGatherer
February 10, 2004, 09:29 PM
So, is there an official position on what makes one a veteran? What are your thoughts?What they said.

I don't know of any military vets that don't hold combat vets in higher esteem though. And that is as it should be.

But consider this. A nurse doesn't get a Combat Infantry Badge. And yet she may have helped save several thousand lives while wearing a giant olive drab target on her back everyday. Chances are she has seen things that would make me hurl chunks, and yet she carried on. Is she not a vet? In my book she is.

Ala Dan
February 10, 2004, 09:32 PM
As I understand it, The Veterans Affairs Administration*
deems that if a person spends one day of honorable
service in any branch of the military; then that does
qualify them as a veteran, and entitles them to benefits.

*Resource - from this book:

Stolen Valor by B.G. Burkett & Glenna Whitley

How The Viet-Nam Generation Was Robbed Of Its Hero's And Its History

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

HunterGatherer
February 10, 2004, 09:36 PM
V.F.W qualifications here: http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=mbr.levele&eid=188

American Legion:

June 11, 2003- INET
Please return completed application to:
The American Legion
Attn: Membership
P.O. Box 7017
Indianapolis, IN 46207
AMERICAN LEGION
MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION D26NET
YES! I’ll help my fellow veterans by becoming a member of The American Legion. I certify that I served at least
one day of active military duty during the dates marked below and was honorably discharged or am still serving honorably.
Please send me my current membership card and my free "Branch of Service" label pin.
Please check method of payment :
my $20.00 check or money order enclosed
Name _______________________________________________________________
Address ____________________________________________________________
City, State, Zip ___________________________________________________
Phone Number ____________________________________________________
Signature __________________________________________________________
Mastercard VISA
ACCOUNT NUMBER
••••••••••••••••
EXPIRATION DATE •• -••
Dates of Service Branch of Service
U.S. MERCHANT MARINE — DEC. 7, 1941—AUG. 15, 1945
U.S. ARMY
U.S. NAVY
U.S. AIR FORCE
U.S. MARINES
U.S. COAST GUARD
AUG 2, 1990—OPEN
DEC. 20, 1989—JAN. 31, 1990
AUG. 24, 1982—JUL. 31, 1984
FEB. 28, 1961—MAY 7, 1975
JUNE 25, 1950—JAN. 31, 1955
DEC. 7, 1941—DEC. 31, 1946
APR. 6, 1917—NOV. 11, 1918
Please tell us how/where you heard about The American Legion:
__________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________
Birth Date - -
Please check applicable "Dates of Service" and
"Branch of Service":
Bill my credit card for $20.00
(See box at right)

mrapathy2000
February 10, 2004, 09:44 PM
quote:
So, is there an official position on what makes one a veteran? What are your thoughts?
What they said.

I don't know of any military vets that don't hold combat vets in higher esteem though. And that is as it should be.

But consider this. A nurse doesn't get a Combat Infantry Badge. And yet she may have helped save several thousand lives while wearing a giant olive drab target on her back everyday. Chances are she has seen things that would make me hurl chunks, and yet she carried on. Is she not a vet? In my book she is.


she would be a veteran nurse though.
---------------------------------------
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]
Veteran \Vet"er*an\, a. [L. veteranus, from vetus, veteris, old;
akin to Gr. ? year, Skr. vatsara. See Wether.]
Long exercised in anything, especially in military life and
the duties of a soldier; long practiced or experienced; as, a
veteran officer or soldier; veteran skill.

One who has been long exercised in any service or art,
particularly in war

Note: In the United States, during the civil war, soldiers
who had served through one term of enlistment and had
re["e]nlisted were specifically designated veterans.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
many people can be veterans. veteran mailman has not necesarily been to war or served. but has been a mailman for a long time.

think somewhere along the lines someone has generalized words too much. words can lose theyre meanings if people are not carefull. of coarse we do have those that are trying to reword,remean and rewrite everything.

Jeff White
February 10, 2004, 09:59 PM
Ala Dan said;
As I understand it, The Veterans Affairs Administration*
deems that if a person spends one day of honorable
service in any branch of the military; then that does
qualify them as a veteran, and entitles them to benefits.

That is incorrect. You must serve at least 180 consecutive days on active duty in any branch of the military under Title 10 US Code. Active duty for training under Title 32 does not qualify one for veterans benefits. There are some exceptions, i.e. service connected disability dischage prior to the 180 days etc. There are different levels of benefits based on the status one served under. All of this is spelled out in federal law.

I can't belive the authors of Stolen valor got that wrong. Yes, it is possible for a person who only served one day to be eligable for benefits, but that person would have had to have been injured in the line of duty to the point he was permanently disqualified from serving on that one day.

Jeff

444
February 10, 2004, 09:59 PM
" Is she not a vet?"
Yes, she is a vet, if she served in the military for the required period of time (I seem to remember the 180 day number myself). I assume that if she was serving in a combat theatre she would meet the qualification.
That doesn't however mean she is entitled to a CIB unless she met the requirements. She may have been the greatest, most dedicated nurse in world history, but she wasn't a combat infantryman.

schromf
February 10, 2004, 10:03 PM
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hereinafter referred to as NOAA, and Public Health Service are both uniformed services, They are also considered Vets, cut from eligibility requirements:

a. Acceptable Evidence. Consider only the following documentary evidence of qualifying service, submitted after separation from service, as adequate evidence of service for eligibility determinations:

(1) The original (copy 1) of the forms listed below. If the original is received, photocopy it, authenticate it as a copy of the original document and return the document to the veteran.

(a) PHS Form 1867 (furnished by the Public Health Service).

(b) NOAA Form 56-16 (furnished by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

(2) Any carbon copy of the original DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. Apply the following procedure to copies of the DD Form 214:

Ala Dan
February 10, 2004, 10:03 PM
Many thanks Jeff; as I stand corrected. I will do
further research in my copy of Stolen Valor, to
make sure I didn't mis-quote the author's!

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

Boats
February 10, 2004, 10:52 PM
If anyone thinks the "peacetime" military can't be a dangerous way to make a living, I could easily find the families of some deceased or maimed sailors from the time I served who'd tell you otherwise. Some of those "peacetimers" some have less respect for have even been shot at on occassion.

I was in the Persian Gulf twice before everyone and their Humvee ever got to enjoy the place. We dodged magnetic mines, boarded suspicious ships, looked out for Silkworm missile launches while escorting Kuwati tankers, watched for Iraqi planes armed with Exocets lest we become the next USS Stark, did poison gas drills, shot it out with Iranian fanatics on motorboats, shot up Iraninan offshore oil rigs, served alongside a ship and crew that hairtriggered an Iranian airbus into the Gulf and then repatriated body parts, and this was atop all the normally dangerous underway replenishing and helo ops in all weather and light conditions.

Yet the VFW and the Legion don't recognize active service between 1985 and 1989 as anything worth noting.:rolleyes:

MeekandMild
February 10, 2004, 11:28 PM
Boats, there is a lot to be said for being a peacetime vet or a noncombatant vet. When I was going to school to be qualified for my noncombatant duty I remember the wall there devoted to lists of the 'killed in the line of duty' members of my specialty. Creepy. Plus the Air Force custom of naming bases, streets and buildings after dead flyers. Really creepy.

I would be the first to say that combat vets deserve special honor because they went above and beyond the call of duty, but to be a REMF still takes more dedication and work than civilians know.

A few for instances:

In Viet Nam the number one most dangerous Air Force enlisted job was the medical corpsmen who picked up downed flyers.

The training death rate for pilots in primary flight school and final training school has held steady, about 1.5% since WWII regardless of war or peace. Nothing like the 80% casualty rates of some WWII and Viet Nam War squadrons, but 1.5% is still pretty high initiation fee for just learning a trade.

During the 50's and 60's one of the roles for the Air National Guard was to prepare for one way intercept missions against Soviet strategic bombers. Even though the cold war never exploded it could have on numerous occasions; pilots never knew when their routine patrol would turn into a one way flight.

Bob R
February 10, 2004, 11:31 PM
Never Mind...... PM sent.

bob

Ala Dan
February 11, 2004, 12:22 AM
Att: Jeff White (moderator)

To aid my fellow countryman and make facts perfectly
clear, I did further research on my previous quotation
from the book: Stolen Valor by Burkett & Whitley.

May I direct your undivided attention to page 246
of this book, and train your eyes to sub-section:

Military Records and the VA

lines 5, 6, & 7 of sub topic states-

"A veteran needs only to have ONE DAY of honorable service to qualify for medical benefits; but as much as 180 days to qualify for educational and other benefits".

*FootNote- text copied straight from the book as published by:

Verity Press, Inc.
PO Box 50366
Dallas, TX 75250
www.stolenvalor.com

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

Bill Hook
February 11, 2004, 12:37 AM
How is it NOAA and PHS get veterans benefits?

The CIA should get the same, since they run many covert wars and get killed in the line of duty overseas, such as those recently killed in Afghanistan.

Jeff White
February 11, 2004, 01:20 AM
Ala Dan,

Thanks....I hoped that they had gotten it right. It would have taken some credibility from their otherwise excellent work in my eyes...
Stay Safe
Jeff

schromf
February 11, 2004, 01:37 AM
They are both uniformed services, The NOAA Corps is real small, on the order of around 300ish, they are also on the same pay scale as the military. They have a small fleet, and at least one of their ships was in the first Gulf war, other assignments are the South Pole, fishery enforcement in Alaska coastal waters, Austrailia, there pilots are the ones that fly into hurricanes. They were uniforms very similar to Navy uniforms.

I am less knowledgable on the PHS, I do know that the Office of the Surgeon General falls under this. Remember Edward Koop the Surgeon General? Anyway I think there are about 6000 in this, again they are uniformed service, and I think professional doctors working for military payscales ( novel idea huh? ). I provided a link below to the offical site, but a Vice Admiral runs it and is appointed by the president. Link:

http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/sgoffice.htm

The CIA who definatly go into harms way are on a seperate pay scale and retirement system ( or have been in post OSS days ). I don't think they would want to be paid military wages, or give up the 15 year retirement plan that active agents work under. Their compensation packages are much better than the military and veterans benefits. Another agency with very similiar system is the National Security Agency (NSA). The FBI, US Marshals, BTF, Secret Service are all federal jobs that are front line dangerous jobs in federal service, but none of these are " Uniformed Services" and the payscales, retirement, and benefit packages are much different. It doesn't in any way detract from the valuable and often hazardous jobs these folks do, but they are not structered as a Uniform Service

schromf
February 11, 2004, 01:57 AM
Both NOAA and the PHS are similar to the Army Corps of Engineers, only they are separate branches. NOAA does fishery enforcement Alaska waters and do things like boarding Russian fishing trollers in very lightly armed ships.

I think the PHS work in conjunction the Center for Disease Control and do fun things like make trips to China when the SARS virus breaks out.

There are a lot of ways to die in service of your country, just not all by bullets, and I am sure the PHS people that do that kind of work take some very serious risks. I for one would prefer a soldiers death than to catching some kind of fatal disease I caught in a foriegn country while I was attempting to check its spread to the United States.

Just My $.02

HunterGatherer
February 11, 2004, 03:14 AM
That doesn't however mean she is entitled to a CIB unless she met the requirements. She may have been the greatest, most dedicated nurse in world history, but she wasn't a combat infantryman.Not only did I not say she was, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how anyone would infer that she should.

HunterGatherer
February 11, 2004, 03:23 AM
words can lose theyre meanings if people are not carefull.And their capitalization, their apostrophes (even though that would be the wrong their), and their proper spelling. Oh well.

Andrew Rothman
February 11, 2004, 03:25 AM
Remember Edward Koop the Surgeon General? Do you mean C. Everett Koop, M.D., former Surgeon General of the United States?

Gillster
February 11, 2004, 03:49 AM
The PHS is comprised entirely of officers such as MD's and RN's. They are a fairly small uniformed service and one of their big areas is Indian Affairs. They provide medical care on indian reservations as well as other areas, usually in the areas of public health. As a lot of vets can call themselves that because of nurses and medics, I think they (we) deserve the title as well.


Chris

Khornet
February 11, 2004, 09:55 AM
service at sea in the Navy is one dangerous job, shooting or no. And there will be times when everyone can stay nice and snug inside the hull while only one person--the Doc--has to go out in the stuff and risk his neck to help someone. I know THIS Navy Doc is lucky to be alive after a little session in a storm in Onslow Bay in '86.

Military Docs and Nurses are veterans in my book, whatever the rules say, and I bet most folks here agree.

noklue3
February 11, 2004, 10:30 AM
Is any person that served in the US ARMED FORCES at ANYTIME in ANY capacity, combat or not.
The stipulations such as "180 days" "CIB" etc are qualifing points for different organizations and or programs.

All the best,

Art
Past Commander- American Legion
Post 52, Bellaire, Ohio

schromf
February 11, 2004, 10:43 AM
Yes, C. Everett Koop, M.D, brain fart on my part. Just a interesting side note look at the bio on the current Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona. Enlisted special forces in Vietnam, high school drop out, this is a guy who worked hard to to where he is today, gotta respepect him for that.

schromf
February 11, 2004, 10:56 AM
Duplicate post.

Byron
February 11, 2004, 11:01 AM
Military Nurses have served beyond question.They are Vets.I was in the hospital in Nam,69.I could not write enough good about Army Nurses. They did the impossible and kept going.Yet, when I was released from the hospital and put on my boonie hat, she broke down crying as she knew to what I was to go back to.
Army Medics, we did not have enough. They hold the Combat Medic Badge
and are heroes. I have seen them putting their life at risk trying to save a dying man. Our platoon mdic was a conscientous objector but he saw his duty and was in the middle of it. He patched me up.
Vets,I am not sure what the legal definition is, but a man or woman who has worn my Nations uniform is a vet in my book.The nam years were difficult years.
I was awarded a CIB. It means something far deeper than I can write.That does not take away a grunts respect for the other combat branches or even REMF's. It was REMF doing his duty that made sure I got home.REMF's were called on to fill combat units when things got bad with casualties. I know a REMF postman who was given a rifle and sent to an infantry company as we needed men. He was shot up bad.
I will not let a man or woman in uniform today go by without Thanking them. That includes the ones just out of basic. They are not hard to spot. My day was different and that must not happen again. Vets-God Love Them. Byron 11B 68-69

enfield
February 11, 2004, 11:08 AM
I am a veteran. A 'small v' veteran. Since I served in the Reserves from 1971-76, I receive no benefits of any kind. Didn't ask for any.

RWK
February 11, 2004, 11:19 AM
Previous posters have nailed this quite well. The 180 day “honorable service” rule -- which includes, but is not limited to, an Honorable Discharge -- generally applies. However, if an active duty service member is injured before the 180 day period, he will receive ALL the benefits of a longer-service veteran. For example, Seaman Recruit Jones falls in the shower while at Boot Camp and becomes paralyzed from the waist down; he would be eligible for the same benefits as any other “in the line of duty” veteran with a similar injury/disability.

cdbeaver
February 11, 2004, 11:26 AM
The CIB is a very special decoration awarded to Infantry soldiers who have performed their duties satisfactorily during actual combat. Only in very rare instances is the badge awarded to non-infantry personnel, and that is generally in cases where some one not actually assigned to an Infantry unit does something extraordinary in conjunction with an Infantry operation.

The above says nothing to detract from other veterans who have performed admirably or satisfactorily under actual combat conditions. Army combat engineers, nurses, medics, artillerymen, etc., are denied the CIB merely because the badge is strictly an Infantry award. It was first issued during WWII.

Every infantry soldier who wears the CIB knows that others have done their duty in combat; it's a shame there is no badge to honor those who do not wear the Infantry blue.

entropy
February 11, 2004, 11:39 AM
VA defines a veteran as one who has completed 180 days of consecutive
Federal military service. This can be active or as has become more common these days, Reserves or NG called up (and Federalized, for NG) and completing 180 days continuous Federal military service. I came across this definition while fighting the VA for college money I subsequently never used.:banghead:

wingnutx
February 11, 2004, 01:37 PM
A veteran is someone that has completed their obligatory military service. Combat or not.

Yup. I have some interesting scars from my non-combat job in the Navy :)

EOD Guy
February 11, 2004, 05:13 PM
The PHS is comprised entirely of officers such as MD's and RN's. They are a fairly small uniformed service and one of their big areas is Indian Affairs. They provide medical care on indian reservations as well as other areas, usually in the areas of public health. As a lot of vets can call themselves that because of nurses and medics, I think they (we) deserve the title as well.

There are thousands of employees of the Public Health Service that do not qualify as part of the uniform services. I believe the commissioned corps of the PHS is the only part that qualifies.

RWK
February 11, 2004, 06:01 PM
The Uniformed Services include:
> Army
> Navy
> Marine Corps
> Air Force
> Coast Guard
> The commissioned corps of the US Public Health Service
> The commissioned corps of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration
ALL of the above are entitled to Veterans benefits.

The Armed Forces include only:
> Army
> Navy
> Marine Corps
> Air Force
> Coast Guard
Not the PHS or NOAA commissioned corps.

AirForceShooter
January 24, 2006, 08:59 PM
you took the oath.
You put on the uniform.
You were ready to do as ordered.

Congratulations your a VET.

AFS

frenchwrench
January 24, 2006, 10:33 PM
My mother served as a W.A.S.P for two years durring WWII.She wasn't granted veterans benefits until 28 years after she died.But the VA buried her in the Vets cemetery in Fort Hood.She had more flight time then my father who flew 49 missions in B-26s.Both Vets,regardless.

atomchaser
January 24, 2006, 11:00 PM
The PHS is comprised entirely of officers such as MD's and RN's. They are a fairly small uniformed service and one of their big areas is Indian Affairs. They provide medical care on indian reservations as well as other areas, usually in the areas of public health. As a lot of vets can call themselves that because of nurses and medics, I think they (we) deserve the title as well.


Chris
The public health service has other medically related career fields as well: public health, biomed engineers, environmental engineers, health physics, etc. They generally work a narrow range of jobs and locations primarily like CDC, NIOSH, EPA, etc. I've know a few Air Force folks who have transferred over because of the greater stability in assignments and faster and easier promotions. Same pay scale and 20 year retirement.

dm1333
January 24, 2006, 11:53 PM
PHS doctors also serve as flight surgeons and medical officers in the Coast Guard, wear the Coast Guard uniform and have the same obligations as any other Coast Guardsman. If the Commandant says go over seas to fight, they go. If they don't go they get held accountable just like the rest of us.

Don

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