Free Markets, Free People

Happy Veteran’s Day

I wrote this in 2006, and it is as true today as then. Our combat troops are the best the world has ever seen – but without those who support them so well they wouldn’t be anywhere near as effective as they are.

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Anyone who doubts all veteran’s are heroes need read no further. But for the vast majority of you who do, I’d like to take a little different slant in my tribute than you might read elsewhere. Most of the time when you read tributes to vets, they’re filled with the stories of those who’ve suffered in combat and we see pictures showing the battle-weary combat vets which pointedly make the argument about the sacrifices our veterans have made and continue to make.

But not all sacrifices are made on the field of battle. While infantry, armor and artillery are the combat arms – the tip of the spear – they, better than anyone, know how important the team that makes up the rest of the spear are to their success on the battlefield.

Those F-16s don’t show up on target at the right time unless that kid flying the boom of a KC10 tanker at 30,000 feet at 2am doesn’t do his job. That sabot round from an M1A1 fired at a threatening T72 isn’t there unless the truck driver hauling ammo day in and day out gets that ammo where it needs to be when it needs to be there.

Veterans are the guys like the cook who gets up every morning at 3:30 am and begins to prepare breakfast for his guys and gals. The kid below deck on an aircraft carrier who makes sure the F/A 18 he’s responsible for maintaining is in perfect shape and ready to fly. The nurse who holds a dying soldier’s hand as he takes his last breath, wipes away the tears, straightens her uniform and heads out to do it again.

He’s the kid in the fuel soaked coveralls who hasn’t slept in 2 days gassing up another Bradley from his fuel tanker. The company clerk who makes sure all of the promotion orders are correct and in on time, or the instructor in basic training who ensures those he trains get his full attention and who puts his all into helping them learn important lessons that will save their lives. He’s the recruiter who’d rather be where the action is, but does what is necessary to make sure he gets the best and brightest available for his branch of service. Or the MP at the gate who shows up every day, does her job to the very best of her ability and never complains.

Most vets have never seen combat in the sense we think of it. But every single solitary one of them has contributed in vital ways to the success of our combat efforts. Without those who support the combat troops, success would impossible. Without the wrench turners, truck drivers, fuel handlers, cooks, clerks and all those like them, the greatest military the world has ever seen is an “also ran.”

It doesn’t matter what a vet did during his or her service, it matters that he or she chose to serve and do whatever vital job they were assigned to the best of their ability. It isn’t about medals, it isn’t about glory, it isn’t about what job they did. It is about the fact that when their country called, they stood up and answered. They are all, every one of them, heroes.

To all the vets out there – Happy Veteran’s Day.

And thank you for your service.

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7 Responses to Happy Veteran’s Day

  • Good post.  Those people may best epitomize the term “selfless service.”  Doing hard and thankless work tirelessly, all for the greater good.  Thank you to all of them.

  • All the “good wishes” from the politicians and pundits are little more than lip service.  If the politicians cared, benefits stolen from America’s military retireees in 1994, by Perry and Clinton, and that theft abetted by Gingrich and Lott in 1995, would be restored.

    If the politicians cared, full concurrent receipt for military retirees disabled in the line of duty, would be the law of the land, rather than this patchwork of partial concurrent receipt our Washington weasels have given us.

    If the pundits cared, they would expose the abysmal treatment of our military retirees at the hands of the country and government they so proudly served.

    In the words of Sylvester Stallone, in one of his “Rambo” movies, “We want our country to love us, as much as we love it.”   It could start by keeping the promises of its agents and representatives, dating back to Teddy Roosevelt’s administration, and earlier.

  • I love this post, Ive shared some of it with friends and family, my son especialy. Thank you and thank our past, present and future Veterens. Bless them all and Bless you for the wonderful post.

  • Thanks to you Bruce and all the vets who read this.  Your service and sacrifice are deeply appreciated.

  • To all the vets who put their lives on the line including my father Mr. James, T, H, I would love to say thank you for all you sacrifices and your will power to insure I and others had a better life. You guys are awsome and verey appreciated  100%.