The Unwanted Soldiers

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jonbosley, Dec 18, 2007.

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  1. In 1980, when I was 16, I served in the British Army till my 21st Birthday. I have now lived in the USA for over seven years, all of it in the State of Texas. One of the big differences that I have found is people’s attitude towards its service people. There is a general respect for the soldier that just does not exist within the UK. I am not talking about the politicians who will play lip service to whomever but the average person on the street.
    I was at first amazed to find that as a US veteran (all ex-service are referred to as veterans here) you receive a lower mortgage rate, free health care, discounts in many retail businesses both large and small and more over, a general respect from everyday people. The World War II Vets are rightly revered and the only time I see this social respect braking down is with some of the Vietnam Vets. Today’s serving US Gulf soldiers receive many accolades from Joe public – even though they are the best paid and equipped soldiers in the world, local church and social fund raising is carried out throughout the year to help with everyday soldier supplies. Many peoples view on the rights or wrongs of the current military campaigns does not really affect their common view of their serving soldiers.
    When I left the British army I was not looking for any pat on the back. I do not believe most serving soldiers do but I may as well have spent five years washing dishes as to the difference it made in peoples opinions of me. I like others believe this is a historical problem and its time the British people modernized its thoughts towards its service personal. Poor housing, poor equipment and poor pay need to be corrected but so does the opinion of the public, businesses, politicians and social structures that make up the state. I do not believe you can blame the Secretary of Defense, the Prime Minister or any group of MPs, they are just reflecting the views of the people who gave them their jobs. The fact is the British public does not care much for its soldiers either serving or retired. I would not discourage any young person wishing to join the military but I would ask them to shop around and maybe find a country that will reward you with better pay and conditions and far more respect then maybe the one written on your birth certificate.
    I am not a religious person but at a recent extended family dinner with the in-laws they prayed for the well being and protection of their serving soldiers, I wonder how many times that happens around a British dinner table?
  2. I think that the Brits tend to do things in a quieter way. I stopped in a service station while on the way home from Brize on R+R, complete with dessies and the remnants of Basra mud on my boots (being idle, I couldn't be arrsed chiselling it off). Most of the youngsters looked at me like I was a freak of nature, but the cafe and the shop both gave me a discount without my asking, a middle aged couple offered to let me jump the qeue (sp?) and one of the oldsters insisted on holding a door open for me. It felt a bit strange. I'm not used to appearing in uniform outside barracks or training areas, but when I do, I don't normally get that reaction.

    I think that those Brits with a mature head on their shoulders probably hold us in fairly high esteem - they just don't shout about it.
  3. A couple of Coldstream guards where collecting for a regimental charity today. I heard an older woman in the queue to give them money state that our government is not doing enough for the troops (or words to that effect). People do care, just because we behave differently to the spams does not change that.
  4. ditto got a free coffee on the way home to chilly jockland and an extra night free in the 5 star hotel I took Sporranette to to shag the brains out of her, however point taken free stuff a plenty and massive savings for veterans, are we all so dumb that we believe it couldn't actually happen here?
  5. It's so true. I'm sure most of you have done telic or herrick and been to an American camp and a British one and notice the differance in food and welfare facilities.

    When I came on RnR the other month, I was also in my dessies, I tend to despise wearing uniform in public of my own back, but in this case I couldn't really care, got the train up to jockland. I had quite a few stares, still don't know if these were in spite or in respect. Not one person said anything to me.

    So, I think people tend to keep themselves to themselves, regaurdless of their opinion. Which, unfortunatly, reflects the differances in discounted items/respect from the public as a whole.
  6. I put some posters up in the pub to raise money for "Christmas parcels for the troops"
    As it happened, there was a local lad out in Afghanistan although sod's law he was back for two weeks R&R when we were collecting! Anyhow, there was very little time to collect money because of the amount of time we needed to buy stuff with it but even so the pub raised £195 in 48 hours.

    There was a lot of support but people needed asking. I think it's British nature not to jump up and down in excitement.
  7. ony my way home on R+R in the service stations... i didnt get any of that treatment... just people staring at me???

    wound me up

    i dont mind going off camp in uniform if its round the garrison but you dont half get some funny looks in public none mil areas
  8. and also yeah the american camps are aboslutely amazing

    anyone ever been on OSD to camp arifjan, kuwait...
  9. Having experienced all of the above, The suddenly coming out of theater and finding yourself on public transport UK side , to the I was in Texas last year thing I think i have somthing to say.
    Return from Granby to my bezza on the main squar holding a champers and a six pack for me was awsome!!........needed no more.Still was refused entry to various clubs n pubs in camberly ( Girlfriend lived there at the time )......why? Was my question , the fikkers had been sending us X-mas cards and parcles days before!!
    Return from Bosnia, nothing............
    Return from Kosovo..............nothing
    Return from Iraq.................nothing
    Went to Texas last year soon after return from second tour Iraq, they love you , ..................everything , respect , welcome, discount in shops , friendly faces.........................................................................................................................UK HAS A LONG WAY TO GO!!