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Initialism Questions: VFW

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

I know we've discussed this many times, and I'm normally good at this, but how well understood is the initialism VFW around the world? Do I need to explain WTF it is (like I might have to with "WTF"?), or is the term recognized other places besides the U.S.?

I use the following in an upcoming story:

"So where are we heading?" Abe asked, glancing around the unfamiliar neighborhood.

Phil led them across the street. "Somewhere to find allies unlikely to shoot us."

"A VFW?"

"Cops and criminals carry guns. Here, people with anger issues come to commiserate with others in a safe environment."

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


how well understood is the initialism VFW around the world?


Not well, is a safe guess. About as well understood as "RSL" is outside of Australia. "RSL" is "Returned and Services League," AKA bar/restaurant/casino/event venue/club, depending on size, and open to the public.

So, tell your readers what VFW is the first time you use it.

ETA: Whether you need to explain the "anger issues" thing is up to you, because not everyone at a given VFW post has them, even if it is a nice compact description of some folks.

bb

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I know we've discussed this many times, and I'm normally good at this, but how well understood is the initialism VFW around the world?


Not at all, unless they've come across it before and had it explained. Best to list it in full first time, then go with the initials.

typo edit

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Lumpy

I live in the US and have no idea what VFW means.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Nit at all, unless they've come across it before and had it explained. Best to list it in full first time, then go with the initials.

Alas, I was hoping to go for effect. Since they have a young child with them, unfamiliar with such places, I wanted to play her innocence against the whole 'anger management' issues in order to flesh it out via dialogue. I may have to rethink the entire opening scene, explaining the whole 'anger management issues' before they ever arrive.

Update: Not that hard, after all:

"So where are we heading?" Abe asked, glancing around the unfamiliar neighborhood.

Phil led them across the street. "Somewhere to find allies unlikely to shoot us."

"A VFW?"

"VF who?" Meg asked.

"Veterans of Foreign Wars," Phil explained. "Cops and criminals carry guns. Here, people with anger issues come to commiserate with others in a safe environment."

Though it may change the dialogue once inside, as I planned to use the Meg's naitivity to explore her perceptions of veterans with a few humorous comments.

Replies:   Bondi Beach  Capt. Zapp
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Lumpy


I live in the US and have no idea what VFW means.

Veterans of Foreign Wars. Unless you've been taken to one, you'd be unlikely to be familiar with them, meaning most younger readers would be unfamiliar with them too (especially since the number of combat vets as a percentage of the population has never been lower than it is now).

Guess that answers my own question.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
rebink

Most veterans are very familiar with them regardless of age. I joined the VFW right after I got out of the service back in 1990 and I was only 27.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Bondi Beach


So, tell your readers what VFW is the first time you use it.


That's what I did in my novel "Last Kiss," but now that I'm thinking about it I wonder if it could have been done more subtly. This is what I have:


"I have contacts at the FBI's VCAV," Mrs. Wayne said. "I'll give them a call tomorrow."

"What's that?"

"It stands for Violent Crimes Against Children. Some of the programs I'm involved in to help abused children get involved with them. I'll call them first thing in the morning."


I could have left out the "It stands for Violent Crimes Against Children." Why spell it out? The important thing is that it's an agency that helps abused children and part of the FBI. If the reader wants to know what those letters stand for they could Google it.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

I know we've discussed this many times, and I'm normally good at this, but how well understood is the initialism VFW around the world? Do I need to explain WTF it is (like I might have to with "WTF"?), or is the term recognized other places besides the U.S.?


Assuming that you are referring to Veterans of Foreign Wars (if not, it's not as well known in the US as you think):

It might be recognized in other English speaking countries, But, even if equivalent organizations exist in countries where English is not the primary language, they will have a different initialism based on that countries language.

StarFleet Carl

@Crumbly Writer

Or, you could have said this:

Phil led them across the street. "Somewhere to find allies unlikely to shoot us."


"An American Legion hall?"

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Crumbly Writer
Not_a_ID

@StarFleet Carl

"An American Legion hall?"


Ah, the refuge for the Veterans who never went anywhere they were likely to be shot at from. :)

I really should see about joining one of the veteran groups at some point, but can't be bothered to just yet. Have been qualified for the VFW since 2000 though.

Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

especially since the number of combat vets as a percentage


As far as I know, membership in VFW or the American Legion is not limited to combat veterans, although they and veterans in general form an ever decreasing percentage of the U.S. population, as you point out.

gg

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


"So where are we heading?" Abe asked, glancing around the unfamiliar neighborhood.

Phil led them across the street. "Somewhere to find allies unlikely to shoot us."

"A VFW?"

"VF who?" Meg asked.

"Veterans of Foreign Wars," Phil explained. "Cops and criminals carry guns. Here, people with anger issues come to commiserate with others in a safe environment."


Exactly, greatly improved, although I don't understand the "cops and criminals" reference, but I assume your subsequent dialogue will explain that.

bb

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Bondi Beach

@Switch Blayde

I could have left out the "It stands for Violent Crimes Against Children." Why spell it out? The important thing is that it's an agency that helps abused children and part of the FBI. If the reader wants to know what those letters stand for they could Google it.


I don't think it's excessive and I don't really want to have to take time out to look up something unless it's really compelling. I'd leave it in.

bb

Ross at Play

You might need to explain what the VFW is too.
I've read this thread and the Wiki entry and still don't know what a VFW is like.
As an Australian, I imagine something like the RSL (Returned Services League), which has a clubhouse in most towns with a bar, restaurant, and poker machines.
My guess is a VFW is less like a pub, and more like the offices of a welfare organisation with an attached drop-in centre.

Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

My guess is a VFW is less like a pub, and more like the offices of a welfare organisation with an attached drop-in centre.


It's more of a combination of asocial club and a private social services agency.

The local VFW post in my area has a canteen, but it's probably members only. Pub is short for Public House.

The do have resources to help members find jobs, but AFIK they do not do direct support payments.

StarFleet Carl

@Not_a_ID

Ah, the refuge for the Veterans who never went anywhere they were likely to be shot at from. :)


I sort of resemble that remark.

I was in during the early / mid '80's, 4 years Army National Guard and 3 years ROTC SMP. Was discharged in November so I could go active duty Navy (and mind you, passed the physical then), supposed to ship in January. Diagnosed with testicle cancer in December, couldn't ship because of major surgeries, and since technically I was discharged, they ruled me ineligible.

Still qualify as a Cold War Veteran - I raised my hand and gave Uncle Sammy the blank check just like everyone else. Just makes me wonder how my life would have been otherwise, as I had planned on making the military my career. (And no, it's probably not a good do-over story line that would be interesting to anyone but me.)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

"An American Legion hall?"

"An American Legion hall" doesn't really identify any more than the more generic VFW does (i.e. those who don't already know what a VFW aren't any more likely to know what the American Legion does. :(

Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

As far as I know, membership in VFW or the American Legion is not limited to combat veterans, although they and veterans in general form an ever decreasing percentage of the U.S. population, as you point out.

Sorry, I didn't mean 'combat veterans' as much as I meant we're now 'farming out' our military service jobs to minorities so the majority don't have to worry about service. All they have to do is wave a flag every 4th and they can feel good about what we do overseas since it doesn't impact them directly.

Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

Exactly, greatly improved, although I don't understand the "cops and criminals" reference, but I assume your subsequent dialogue will explain that.

Actually, the previous book and other chapters fleshed this idea out. Basically, the MC has had trouble with these groups, and is now seeking a safer alternative from confronting someone who's armed to the teeth.

Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

You might need to explain what the VFW is too.
I've read this thread and the Wiki entry and still don't know what a VFW is like.
As an Australian, I imagine something like the RSL (Returned Services League), which has a clubhouse in most towns with a bar, restaurant, and poker machines.
My guess is a VFW is less like a pub, and more like the offices of a welfare organisation with an attached drop-in centre.

Nope, it sounds like it's exactly like the RSL, a social group for veterans to gather and commiserate among others from similar backgrounds. A sort of respite from the ignorant general populous.

I was hoping the "Veterans" part of the title would clue readers in to the function, though the follow-up dialogue makes it clear that its' a social club for U.S. veterans who fought or served during various wars.

Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

Just makes me wonder how my life would have been otherwise, as I had planned on making the military my career.

I'd planned to follow my family traditions and sign up for the U.S. Navel Academy (free college in exchange for a commission as a Navel officer). However, Juvenile (Type 1) diabetes intervened, making me ineligible. However, it wasn't long after that when my brother was court-martialed for being gay and started a lawsuit which overturned the existing anti-gay laws in the Supreme Court and my father was 'forced out' because he defended his son, so I haven't considered actually 'serving' in the military for a long time.

All-in-all, I'm glad I never served, as I can't imagine how my life would have unfolded if I had.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Bondi Beach

As far as I know, membership in VFW or the American Legion is not limited to combat veterans, although they and veterans in general form an ever decreasing percentage of the U.S. population, as you point out.


VFW doesn't require you to be a combat veteran, otherwise I wouldn't qualify. What it does require however, is that you must have been deployed to, or otherwise have been stationed at a (foreign) location that the DOD later designated as being essentially "a potential combat zone." Hence the name "Veterans of Foreign Wars" as it requires you to be in foreign territory, and for it to be considered a potential combat (war) zone. So hence my earlier comment about many(not all) Legionaires never having gone anywhere in service to their nation where somebody (hostile) might shoot at them(with intent to kill/harm--so combat exercises don't count).

So actual combat is not required, it simply requires you to be somewhere that DOD thinks "combat may be(/might have been) likely to occur" and their definition of those areas is based on Geography, and can be overly broad. So the guy who never made it any closer than 500 miles from the front line would often qualify.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

VFW doesn't require you to be a combat veteran, otherwise I wouldn't qualify. What it does require however, if that you must have been deployed to, or otherwise have been stationed at a (foreign) location that the DOD later designated as being essentially "a potential combat zone."

For my story, the protagonist is searching for people suffering from either 1) anger management issues, or 2) PTSD, as the story differentiates the two into two distinct classes.

If you're seeking someone with anger issues, you can try picking a fight with a gang member of a typical 'angry cop', or you can try to treat someone who's suffered the effects of war and hasn't completely recovered from it yet.

Obviously, it wouldn't do him any good to treat someone who'd been stationed behind a desk throughout various American conflicts.

BlacKnight

@Not_a_ID

Ah, the refuge for the Veterans who never went anywhere they were likely to be shot at from. :)

My grandfather, who was with the Big Red One in North Africa and Sicily, and my father, who did two tours as a radioman in Vietnam and earned a Bronze Star for events that he would never tell me about, and who were both in the Legion, would beg to differ.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@BlacKnight

My grandfather, who was with the Big Red One in North Africa and Sicily, and my father, who did two tours as a radioman in Vietnam and earned a Bronze Star for events that he would never tell me about, and who were both in the Legion, would beg to differ.

As far as I know (I'm basically ignorant on the subject), but it seems to me that both are open to members of the military service during times of war, actual service overseas not being a specific requirement in either the VFW or the American Legion.

Never having gotten a VFW induction notice, though, I'm not up on the requirements.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

I don't know to what extent they used to be, and if the old lines are still applicable now, but when the veteran's associations started up they used to have certain requirements to be a full member. First was having served in the military (some were service type based). Then some required that you had to have served outside of your home country, while others required you had to serve in a combat unit against enemy troops. Various units had different requirements, but I think they've all become fairly standard now.

About a decade ago I had to look into the history of some of the units in Australia, USA, and the UK and found that almost all settled down to one set of uniform rules and cross affiliated at some point. Following the end of WW2 some of the veterans associations had some issues due to their rules because you had ex-military who fit the groups below:

a. Saw combat with the enemy in a foreign land.

b. Saw combat with the enemy in their homeland.

c. Saw service in a foreign land but didn't get into a combat zone.

d. Saw service in their homeland without any combat.

Here in Australia one of the organisations simply required service overseas to be a full member, but got complaints from those who served in combat in Darwin in WW2 because they were excluded while others who never saw combat overseas were included. Similar issues occurred with troops who went overseas but never saw combat, and some who never got a chance to be shipped out. Add in the many ex-military from non-combat periods and the associations were faced with declining memberships or amalgamations and affiliations. This moved them to change the rules for many of the organisations, so you need to check the current rules for them today.

almost forgot: With some organisations you only qualified if it was a declared war, while others made the rule of being shot at while in service. One organisation I read about only allowed for ex-members from declared wars - they had some major issues because some of the vets from Korea, Malaysia, and Vietnam qualified, while some didn't because they were in-country while it was still a police action and a not a declared war.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

About a decade ago I had to look into the history of some of the units in Australia, USA, and the UK and found that almost all settled down to one set of uniform rules and cross affiliated at some point. Following the end of WW2 some of the veterans associations had some issues due to their rules because you had ex-military who fit the groups below:

My sister is a prime candidate. As a researcher, she's restricted to major U.S. military hospitals (i.e. only located in Texas or Germany), and thus wasn't allowed to serve anywhere else, though no fault of her own, but based exclusively on her skills being in demand by those fighting in those wars.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

The child of a friend of mine is in one of the Australian equivalents of the US Judge Advocate General's Office - they're reached a point where they're doing almost constant overseas postings to be the head of the legal unit near a combat zone, because there are so few who stay in the service long enough to reach that high a rank, and most modern combat commanders what a legal opinion on a lot of things before they approve some missions, now. The result is they never get near the actual shooting, but are moved from one combat zone posting to another combat zone posting every few years. In recent times they've spent more time in Iraq than in Australia, and more time in Afghanistan than Australia. The problem is there's only two positions at that rank within Australia, but they need someone at that rank with each major deployment force, thus there are more posts outside the country than in it, right now, and has been for many years.

It just shows how the duty can often dictate the posting. Technically they're a combat vet, but in many years of posts in war zones has not heard a shot or shell fired except in training. If the fighting gets near where they are, they're one of the first to be shipped out as an almost non-combatant, despite being in uniform.

REP

Personally, I feel the potential of being sent into a war zone and being engaged in combat is a better way of determining if an ex-member of the military should qualify as a veteran of a war.

People enlist or are drafted into military service. They all face the same probability of being sent into a war zone. They are used by their governments to fill the need for a warm, trained body at a variety of locations. They all served their country so they should be accepted by veteran organizations that recognize military service during times of war. Conversely, many of those organizations limit membership to those who were in combat or at least in a war zone where the enemy might have attacked them.

I had a friend who was the Load Master on a USAF aircraft. He was based outside the war zone and his aircraft flew supplies into South Vietnam landing at what was considered a safe location. Since he was not stationed in the war zone, should he be eligible for membership in a VFW post or similar organization that requires combat exposure.

Capt. Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

Here, people with anger issues come to commiserate with others in a safe environment.


Claiming that veterans who are members of a VFW post have 'anger issues' is not factual. I've been around the VFW all my life in locations worldwide and can say I've seen more 'anger issues' from supposed 'peace organizations' than from the VFW.

Many of my family members had been members and held positions from post secretary up to district and national commander until their passing.

You are more likely to encounter 'anger issues' in a nightclub.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Capt. Zapp

@Ross at Play

My guess is a VFW is less like a pub, and more like the offices of a welfare organisation with an attached drop-in centre.


I think you have the VFW confused with the USO or the VA. I wold say the VFW is the American equivalent of the RSL.

Crumbly Writer

@Capt. Zapp

Claiming that veterans who are members of a VFW post have 'anger issues' is not factual. I've been around the VFW all my life in locations worldwide and can say I've seen more 'anger issues' from supposed 'peace organizations' than from the VFW.

I didn't mean to cast aspersions, but between book 1 and book 2 in this series, I expanded PTSD and 'anger' into two different disorders needing treatment, thus the character is trying to select them from a safer environment. By no means are ALL veterans angry, but there are still enough who are, or who suffer from PTSD, that's it's not uncommon to find one or two in most halls.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp  Not_a_ID
Capt. Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

... it's not uncommon to find one or two in most halls.


Sorry, but the way I read the original post, it struck me as meaning that all VFW members had anger issues.

Here, people with anger issues come to commiserate with others in a safe environment.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


By no means are ALL veterans angry, but there are still enough who are, or who suffer from PTSD, that's it's not uncommon to find one or two in most halls.


For the PTSD cases, for many of them, that won't translate into an "anger issue." Instead it'll translate into them being "triggery" in which case seemingly innocuous things to you may "set them off" and either cause them to flip out and do serious (potentially lethal) bodily harm to anyone near them, or alternately, turn them into a quivering heap of emotional distress.

...and since alcohol does a decent job emotionally numbing many people, it makes the bar at many veteran's halls rather popular for such actual combat veterans.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Not_a_ID

For the PTSD cases, for many of them, that won't translate into an "anger issue." Instead it'll translate into them being "triggery" in which case seemingly innocuous things to you may "set them off" and either cause them to flip out and do serious (potentially lethal) bodily harm to anyone near them, or alternately, turn them into a quivering heap of emotional distress.

That's where it gets 'tricky' in my story. In the first book, I just had 'anger issues' affecting the cops harassing my main character, but in the second I created a separate category for PTSD cases, but the scene in the VFW doesn't impact them, so I had to sidestep that issue.

It's difficult to explain without including the whole premise of the story, which is premature at this point.

Also, a quivering mass (unless it features a sympathetic romantic interest) isn't as dramatic as homicidal rage. ;D As a result, there aren't many quivering individuals in this story.

Crumbly Writer

@Capt. Zapp

Sorry, but the way I read the original post, it struck me as meaning that all VFW members had anger issues.

The context is clearer in the story, which has already established what the character is searching for, why, and the complications he faces, thus readers will already know what he's referring to.

red61544

@Crumbly Writer

Most places overseas where troops are stationed, there is a VFW. At one time, there were three on Okinawa. They usually employ the indigenous population as cooks waitpersons and bartenders. I think you can safely assume that wherever there are US troops, they will understand VFW.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@red61544

Most places overseas where troops are stationed, there is a VFW. At one time, there were three on Okinawa. They usually employ the indigenous population as cooks waitpersons and bartenders. I think you can safely assume that wherever there are US troops, they will understand VFW.

Assuming they live near a U.S. base. As far as I recall, we have one major base in Germany, so does that mean everyone there would know what "VFW" stands for, or for that matter, would residents of Australia?

Still, you comment means it'll be more widely recognized—even in non-English speaking countries—than I feared.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Tw0Cr0ws
Updated:

@Not_a_ID


Ah, the refuge for the Veterans who never went anywhere they were likely to be shot at from.


The VFW was not very accepting of Vietnam veterans for a long time because it was not a declared war.
At the time the last actual declared war was WW2

But let me assure you that many participants in the South East Asian war games were shot at with live ammunition.

As a result many Vietnam veterans joined the American Legion and wanted no part of the VFW.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

so does that mean everyone there would know what "VFW" stands for, or for that matter, would residents of Australia?


I've worked with many US military over the years, and only ever came across the term VFW here at SoL. The one major US base here in Australia is way out in the boonies and hundreds of miles away from any decent sized civilian locations, so I doubt VFW is well known here at all.

Replies:   gmontgomery  Not_a_ID
gmontgomery

@Bondi Beach

These are differences between the Legion and the VFW. The Legion requires service during a time of conflict (basically any period that qualifies for the National Defense Service Medal). The VFW narrows that by requiring a campaigntheater ribbon. Combat service is not required, just service overseas during a period of declared conflict.

As far as I know, membership in VFW or the American Legion is not limited to combat veterans, although they and veterans in general form an ever decreasing percentage of the U.S. population, as you point out.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
gmontgomery
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

Dollars to doughnuts if any former service personnel settle in Australia, they'll form an American Legion Post.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@gmontgomery

Dollars to doughnuts if any former service personnel settle in Australia, they'll form an American Legion Post.


We've a heck of a lot of retired US military people here in Australia, and all of them I know, or have heard of, have joined the Australian equivalents like the RSL.

Replies:   Bondi Beach  gmontgomery
Not_a_ID

@Ernest Bywater

I've worked with many US military over the years, and only ever came across the term VFW here at SoL. The one major US base here in Australia is way out in the boonies and hundreds of miles away from any decent sized civilian locations, so I doubt VFW is well known here at all.


Active overseas military bases are more likely to have a USO (United Service(s?) Organization) nearby.

"Stateside" is likely to also see a VFW and/or American Legion post(among others) nearby. "Generally speaking" most people on active duty have little to nothing to do with the veterans groups unless they're "lifers" or have already obtained a "service connected disability" as those groups are very big on advocating post-service medical and retirement benefits.

In other words, a big military base may have a VFW post nearby, but most of the people you'll find inside are either near retirement from active service, or are no longer on active duty. (They could still be a reservist, however)

Not_a_ID

@gmontgomery

These are differences between the Legion and the VFW. The Legion requires service during a time of conflict (basically any period that qualifies for the National Defense Service Medal). The VFW narrows that by requiring a campaigntheater ribbon. Combat service is not required, just service overseas during a period of declared conflict.

It doesn't have to be a campaign medal, one of the various expeditionary medals is also sufficient for the VFW. But once again, you only get those if DOD has record of you setting foot in a "hot(/combat/war) zone" during a time frame that they specify.

The McDonald's Ribbon doesn't qualify.

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


We've a heck of a lot of retired US military people here in Australia, and all of them I know, or have heard of, have joined the Australian equivalents like the RSL.


American Legion Post AU01 "Yanks Down Under" is in Sydney.

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 12163 is in Perth, Western Australia. Just formed May 2017.

When I lived in Sydney in the early 1990s there was a group of U.S. vets who were working on documenting every grave of U.S. Civil War veterans in New South Wales.

ETA: The leader (president, VP, chairman, or whatever he was) of the group resigned in disgrace when it was discovered he wasn't the Korean War vet he'd claimed to be.

bb

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  REP
gmontgomery

@Ernest Bywater

Then I owe you 5 CSA dollars (did you think I'd pay off in Federal currency :D?). I do know there are Legion posts in France and Germany. Then again the Legion was formed in France just after WW1 by officers waiting to go home after the armistice was signed.

Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

American Legion Post AU01 "Yanks Down Under" is in Sydney.


I see, from the website, it was organised the same year I moved out of Sydney - they must have been waiting for me to get out of the way.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Ernest Bywater

I see, from the website, it was organised the same year I moved out of Sydney - they must have been waiting for me to get out of the way.


They had a limited number of seats at the bar and couldn't afford to have you nursing one beer all day.

bb

REP
Updated:

@Bondi Beach


The leader (president, VP, chairman, or whatever he was) of the group resigned in disgrace when it was discovered he wasn't the Korean War vet he'd claimed to be.


We have a lot of people like that in this country. They claim to have been awarded decorations they never earned. They claim to have been members of the military, when they weren't.

My brother-in-law, persona non grata in my household, keeps telling people he served in Vietnam as an Army Ranger lieutenant. The truth is he was never in the military. He has lost a lot of friends when they learn the truth about his claims, but he keeps telling his lies. He is a very good liar, and if you don't know the facts, he is very believable. He also has a number of mental and emotional issues that have aided him in destroying his life. People like him deserve what they get.

Bondi Beach

@REP

He is a very good liar, and if you don't know the facts, he is very believable.


I have a brother-in-law who is the opposite. He's an entomologist ("bug guy" is the term of art) plus amateur this and amateur that. As my younger daughter told us years ago when she returned from a visit with my sister and him, "George knows EVERYTHING."

When you're ten or eleven years old many adults might appear so to you, but in George's case it's always true.

bb

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

When you're ten or eleven years old many adults might appear so to you, but in George's case it's always true.

But then, when you're an entomologist, does it really matter whether your lying or telling the truth? After all, you're still just dealing with bugs. 'D It's hardly the same as "I led the charge up San Juan Hill leading 200 men!"

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


It's hardly the same as "I led the charge up San Juan Hill leading 200 men!"


Not if you did it with giant upholstered spiders* it isn't.

*Magic for Beginners, by Kelly Link. Very bizarre. Very good. Upholstered spiders, not to be missed.

ETA: Besides, there's always going to be some dork around who says, "Yeah, and I did it with 125 men!"

bb

StarFleet Carl

@REP

We have a lot of people like that in this country. They claim to have been awarded decorations they never earned. They claim to have been members of the military, when they weren't.


Yep. Stolen valor.

People tend to not do that too much around here. It helps having a large population that either did serve or have members of their families that served. Pull that crap here and you won't lose friends, you'll lose teeth.

Tell you one thing, too. I used to wear my U.S. Army hat in Indiana, no big deal. No one said anything. I wear it or my Cold War Veteran anywhere in this state (Oklahoma) and at some point during the day someone will come up to me and say thank you. First few times it happened I just didn't know what to do or say. Now I respond with you're welcome and thank you for your support.

Anyone else on here do BCT or AIT at Fort McClellan? I was there from September of '81 till May of '82.

Replies:   Not_a_ID  Crumbly Writer
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@StarFleet Carl


Tell you one thing, too. I used to wear my U.S. Army hat in Indiana, no big deal. No one said anything. I wear it or my Cold War Veteran anywhere in this state (Oklahoma) and at some point during the day someone will come up to me and say thank you. First few times it happened I just didn't know what to do or say. Now I respond with you're welcome and thank you for your support.


Yeah, I personally avoid the obvious veteran self-identification stuff at this point for pretty much that reason. Like many of my fellow veterans "I didn't do (much of) anything." So I'll let someone else(preferably someone who did do "something" ) field it instead.

More generally I recognize for many people who do make the approach, it's more generally intended for the ones who they cannot thank(but the living and whole are included as well)... Still awkward, and that's an "ambassadorial role" I'll leave to others for now.

Still have "fun" making my own approach more often than not. :P

The "stolen valor" crowd is a frustrating one to deal with, particularly when you also factor in the natural tendency of people to, ah, "embellish" on their tales over time. Makes it hard to sort out the chaff, particularly when the claimant proclaimed a different service branch than you dealt with(Navy in my case, with some degree of interaction with the Marines)

Although I've also seen fairly mellow responses from fellow Vets as well when we encounter it more often than not. I can recall a few discussions where I'd end up in a long discussion/bullshitting session with 3 or more (alleged) veterans in one place or another where "unusual claims" would be getting made by one person or another. Eventually the guy with the unusual story will leave, and the remaining guys will compare notes briefly, decide the other guy was probably blowing smoke, shrug, comment about how sad it was that is that they felt compelled to do, and left it at that.

In at least 1 case, "we" concluded the other guy probably was either a veteran or military brat, but everything else was smoke. Which is its own special category of sad.

But hey, at least now non-retired, and non-disabled veterans can now get government issued ID to help demonstrate their veteran status in the U.S. Now if only it wasn't such a hassle to sort out the documentation to do so.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
StarFleet Carl

@Not_a_ID

Yeah, I personally avoid the obvious veteran self-identification stuff at this point for pretty much that reason. Like many of my fellow veterans "I didn't do (much of) anything." So I'll let someone else(preferably someone who did do "something" ) field it instead.


I blame my wife. She also served, and will sometimes wear her USAF veteran shirt (nurse, Air Rescue), but people don't approach a woman. So I wear mine. It also gives her family something to talk about, since I was Army and they were ALL Air Force with a couple of Navy in there.

Now if only it wasn't such a hassle to sort out the documentation to do so.


Tell me about it. I've sent in a request for a copy of my DD-214 three times over the last few years. Never heard back any of them.

Replies:   Not_a_ID
joyR

Surely in the term VFW the F is redundant, unless of course the US has recently engaged in a civil war and kept it secret?

By definition all wars unless civil are foreign wars.

Ernest Bywater

@joyR

By definition all wars unless civil are foreign wars.


My understanding is, when they set up the VFW they were only looking for those who served in combat zones outside of the USA. Thus those still around from the War Between the States (and there were a few) and the various 10th Century conflicts in the USA wouldn't qualify. Nor would those who never left the country, and it would also exclude those on the ground in Hawaii during WW2 , but that was later.

Replies:   richardshagrin
Not_a_ID
Updated:

@StarFleet Carl


Tell me about it. I've sent in a request for a copy of my DD-214 three times over the last few years. Never heard back any of them.


They never gave me my short form, my home state was never sent a copy as it was supposed to. And somehow, the long-form I do have doesn't actually characterize my discharge. (Or alternatively, myself and the DMV worker were struck momentarily blind and stupid, which is possible, being the DMV and all)

VA also still hasn't worked out implementation of the "veterans ID"(non-retired, non-disabled) that Congress provisioned 2 years ago. Meanwhile I can get a "Veteran Endorsement" on my state issued ID, but it requires me to present them proof of a honorable discharge.

Haven't yet decided to fork over the $50-ish for the Archives to retrieve the complete set of dd-214's for me, particularly given that alternative options seem to be likely to become available "soon" which should cost me less cash. As I've already renewed my license for 4 more years, I'm currently in no hurry.

Tw0Cr0ws

@joyR

Surely in the term VFW the F is redundant, unless of course the US has recently engaged in a civil war and kept it secret?


When it was formed in 1899 most of the wars the US had engaged in were within the US.

Its older name was the Army of the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@joyR

Surely in the term VFW the F is redundant, unless of course the US has recently engaged in a civil war and kept it secret?

By definition all wars unless civil are foreign wars.


The American Indian Wars lasted on and off until 1924. The last living US combat veteran of the Indian Wars died in 1973.

The last of the Civil War veterans died in the 1950s.

There was a Boarder war With Mexico that overlapped with WWI https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Border_War_(1910%E2%80%9319)

Last veteran of the Boarder War died in 2006.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_surviving_United_States_war_veterans

Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

Anyone else on here do BCT or AIT at Fort McClellan? I was there from September of '81 till May of '82.

I live near Norfolk, VA (the East Coast port for the U.S. Navy), and it's similar, but the 'fake valor', where those who never served pose as veterans has even reached the various veteran communities, so it's nothing to sneeze at. Now, those agencies are working to check everyone they vet (or appoint to office) for fear of another embarrassing scandal. There's no better way to shrink a veteran's group membership then to appoint a spokesman who never served a day in the field, yet claims national attention by speaking for all those who did.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp  Not_a_ID
Crumbly Writer

@Tw0Cr0ws

When it was formed in 1899 most of the wars the US had engaged in were within the US.

Even in those cases, at the time of the combat, they weren't a part of the country (though we annexed them later.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Capt. Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

I live near Norfolk, VA


Fascinating. So do I.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Capt. Zapp

Fascinating. So do I.

We should get together sometime. I head up that way at least once a month, just to stock up on the basics, though it's a two-hour drive each way.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
richardshagrin

@Ernest Bywater

Nor would those who never left the country, and it would also exclude those on the ground in Hawaii during WW2

I disagree, if the enemy is a foreign state attacking US territory, it is a foreign war, no matter where you served. If you think the attack on Hawaii wasn't a foreign war, what about Midway, which was a US territory, or even the Philippines, which were US territories at the time.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Capt. Zapp

@Crumbly Writer

...two-hour drive each way.


A little better for me, only about an hour. I don't make the drive often since the traffic over there is crazy.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Even in those cases, at the time of the combat, they weren't a part of the country (though we annexed them later.


At least in the case of The American Indian wars, a lot of the combat took place in territory already claimed by the US government. And the American Indian Wars continued on and off though the first quarter of the 20th century.

Ernest Bywater

@richardshagrin

I disagree, if the enemy is a foreign state attacking US territory, it is a foreign war, no matter where you served.


I wasn't at the meeting to start the organisation, but from what i read about it when they set it up it was to accept only those who served in the main US military who fought on foreign soil. Thus those involved in combat on US soil didn't qualify - regardless of who they were fighting. I didn't see anything about how they may or may not have regarded the territories in that. Another section of fighting to keep in mind is what happened in the Aleutian Islands during WW2, US soil with real fighting.

Tw0Cr0ws

VFW Opens Membership To Military Fakers Due To Lack Of Interest From Young Veterans
http://www.duffelblog.com/2013/07/vfw-military-fakers/

Replies:   paliden
paliden
Updated:

@Tw0Cr0ws

We are in no way, shape, or form, a real news outlet. Everything on this website is satirical and the content of this site is a parody of a news organization. No composition should be regarded as truthful, and no reference of an individual, company, or military unit seeks to inflict malice or emotional harm.

All characters, groups, and military units appearing in these works are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or actual military units and companies is purely coincidental.

Read more: http://www.duffelblog.com/about/#ixzz4lmAt4POT

edit to add -

This is a good example of a fake news website.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@paliden

This is a good example of a fake news website.


As against certain sites and stations that provide fake news slanted their way while claiming to be unbiased reporters calling their fake news real.

Not_a_ID
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I live near Norfolk, VA (the East Coast port for the U.S. Navy), and it's similar, but the 'fake valor', where those who never served pose as veterans has even reached the various veteran communities, so it's nothing to sneeze at. Now, those agencies are working to check everyone they vet (or appoint to office) for fear of another embarrassing scandal. There's no better way to shrink a veteran's group membership then to appoint a spokesman who never served a day in the field, yet claims national attention by speaking for all those who did.


It should be pointed out that in many cases, those scandals aren't so much over the person "being a veteran" because in virtually all of such cases, they did actually serve on active duty at some point.

The issue there is that the dd-214 isn't particularly descriptive as to where a person may or may not have been, even when looking at a "long-form" which will detail all of their (unclassified) awards.

Short form DD-214(which is the one normally used) is even less useful in that respect. Which can make it rather difficult for veterans groups to determine one way or another. Kind of like there are plenty of veterans who can claim campaign ribbons for Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi freedom, et al who never actually set foot in either Iraq or Afghanistan, or even came within several hundred miles of either country. For that matter, I understand my unit is technically qualified for the OIF campaign medal, but I haven't seen it officially listed anywhere, but I think some of that is bureaucracy at it finest, as the ship I served on was decommissioned prior to the medal being finalized(so nobody remained at the command to have it added). That said, being a Navy Ship, we never actually moored or dropped anchor in Iraq, although we did spend a lot of time in its territorial waters, and a number of our crew members DID set foot on "Sovereign Iraqi Territory" even if it wasn't land. ;) (edit just for giggles: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Ba%C5%9Frah_Oil_Terminal )

Of course, the classified medal/ribbon awards add further complications to things. Thankfully in my case, I'm not in that club, but I know a few people who claim to be.

Submariners and Special Forces in particular tend to be the most prone to being subject to that one. Since I wasn't in either "community" I didn't encounter it myself. But I knew people who I know were in those communities, and they all claimed to have such things in their collection.

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