What is a Combat Veteran?

What is a Combat Veteran?

The VA states:

Veterans, including activated Reservists and members of the National Guard, are [Combat Veterans] if they served on active duty in a theater of combat operations…and have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.

[However, the above definition is for eligibility for VA benefits]

The American War Library states:

What is a Veteran? – A veteran is defined by federal law, moral code and military service as “Any, Any, Any”… A military veteran is Any person who served for Any length of time in Any military service branch.

What is a War Veteran? – A war veteran is Any GI (Government Issue) ordered to foreign soil or waters to participate in direct or support activity against an enemy. The operant condition: Any GI sent in harm’s way.

What is a Combat Veteran? – A combat veteran is Any GI who experiences any level of hostility for Any duration resulting from offensive, defensive or friendly fire military action involving a real or perceived enemy in Any foreign theater.  Wartime medals also define various levels of individual combat involvement, sacrifice and/or valor.

The above statements are pretty broad and do not adequately describe the troops of Charlie Company. So here are my definitions of an Army Combat Veteran of Vietnam:

–          You were eligible and received a Combat Infantryman Badge.

–          You were eligible and received a Combat Medical Badge.

–          You may have received a Purple Heart.

–          You may have received various medals with V device for valor.

–          You humped the boonies with Charlie Company.

Fast Freddy says:

If you lived behind wire, you were in the rear echelon, you slept in a bed, you ate hot food, you took hot showers, you used a flush toilet, you got laid regularly…you were NOT a Combat Veteran.

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And…”That’s all I have to say about that” – Forrest Gump

 

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4 thoughts on “What is a Combat Veteran?

  1. I beg to differ with you as a member of the 6/27 field artillery we lived in the same conditions as you on fire support bases waiting to be attacked we were sitting ducks just couldn’t pack up and move Had to be there in place to fire support for our fellow brothers in arms We took our fair share of crap more to war than the grunt side of things

  2. Fred,

    I was at a small base, Dong Ba Thin. We had great food and good beds, etc. And, we got hit by rockets and mortars on a regular basis. Some of our base’s men were killed and some wounded. I was on guard duty 65 nights, and one night we were hit by sappers while I was on duty. They sneaked under our wire near the tower next to mine, but we caught them and 10 sappers were killed. I also guarded a small post in the jungle called the Water Point where we got our fresh water – just 3 of us out in the jungle on one guard tower for 12 long hours. Frankly, I would much rather be with an infantry squad in the jungle than to guard the Water Point. So, my opinion, we all served in that awful war, even the clerks and cooks. Many thousands of soldiers with non combat MOS’s died in Vietnam, and I knew a few of them. Randy

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