Does military service make a difference in how we think?

Does military service make a difference in how we think?

This is a discussion on Does military service make a difference in how we think? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Mods, if this should be under the LE/Military heading please move it. I was thinking the other day, I know kind of scary, but taking ...

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Thread: Does military service make a difference in how we think?

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    Question Does military service make a difference in how we think?

    Mods, if this should be under the LE/Military heading please move it.

    I was thinking the other day, I know kind of scary, but taking into account the folks that I know that have their CHL's, we all have different thresholds as to when lethal force should be used or to what extent one might use the fight or flight mechanism. In my thinking I asked myself if maybe the differences in our reponses to threats had something to do with whether or not we had served time in our military, and the training we recieved there.

    No, I am not trying to suggest that somehow the folks that carry and are prior military are somehow going to start blasting folks away for no reason.

    I served in the mid 80's when the threat from the Soviet Union was still very real. I can remember during basic/AIT just how much the threat of those commies was thrown around and what it would take to protect our country and family from the threat if ever all hell broke loose. Before then it was the Germans, Koreans/Chineese, or the Viet Cong, and now it is the Muslim Terroist that are the enemy and I assume that the DI's call all manner of names and tell the recruits what they will do to their mothers/girlfriends or whomever to get them motivated.

    Just like we are a product of our upbringing and tend to have lasting impressions from the morals or lack of morals that our parents or whomever teach us when growing up. I am sure that some of what we are taught or experience while in the military has to have some lasting effects on us in the future and gets carried with us today.

    So, do any of you who are prior military, or those that have never served in the armed forces think that it makes a differnce in our daily carry and what we would determine to be threat levels or would cause us to act for ourselves or others?

    I do not want this to get into the discussion of whether those that have served are any better than those who have not, or any other nonsense like that. We all do things for our own reasons, and I am not going to begin to second guess anyone else on this forum.

    I personally see some differences in the people who have been in the military and those that have not when it comes to reactions from threats and actions that the CHL holder is willing to take during some circumstances. To me it seems the threashold of action is lower for prior military than it seems to be for others.

    I know different state laws come into play, and each one has its own limitations. I will admit that I am looking at things from a state which is pretty open to when one can act and what a person can do, each of you will have to take that into account when answering this.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  2. #2
    Member Array hdawson's Avatar
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    Cool

    Didn't the secretary of homeland security recently suggest that there may be a higher propensity of verterens being potentially violent?

    As a vet, I strongly disagree with her.

  3. #3
    Member Array Smokinbbl's Avatar
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    I think it might have to do with your job/MOS. I am active duty Air Force, and I am a aircraft mechanic. that being said I have no training what so ever about personal defence. If I was a cop, or maybe EOD, or OSI then yes my military background would have an effect on how I think. I have had to seek training out side of the military to teach me about personal protection.

    I think that the people in the Armed Forces, that carry a duty weapon as a part of there job has a great impact on there thinking.

    Me personally I am a knuckle dragger, a wrench monkey. so the only thing the military helps me with is my situational awearness.

    James
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  4. #4
    Ex Member Array PNUT's Avatar
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    The mindset is different. We were taught to kill, not to stop the threat. A lot depends on what you do in the military too, some guys fix air conditioners, some cook, some are highly trained for combat, others not so much.
    For example, not long after I got out of the Army someone tried to break into my house in the middle of the night, I ended up chasing him down the street, half asleep, shotgun in hand, No stopping to think about it, just acting, because that's what I was trained for, overwhelming violence. Not to stop the threat but to kill, or take a prisoner . See enemy,kill enemy. Big, big no,no for a civilian, or LEO. Everything happens fast, but to me it's like everything is in super slow motion, you're actually seeing, hearing, thinking,evaluating and acting so fast, but you are aware,very aware of everything. I don't know if that makes sense or not.
    I have always thought that I wouldn't make a good LEO.
    So yes, I think it's a big difference for some of us.
    I do want to make it clear that I value everyones service and respect all military personnel, regardless of MOS, rank, branch, or time in service. The guy that makes the pancakes, cuts orders, or hands out uniforms, are just as vital as anyone else.We're all on the same team and it takes all of us to make it happen. It takes an Army / Navy/Air Force/ Marines, and Coast Guard to keep America safe and hopefully make the world a better place while we're at it.
    Last edited by PNUT; July 13th, 2009 at 11:56 PM. Reason: forgot something.

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    New Member Array GottaCarry's Avatar
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    With the military rules of engagement changing for a given mission, our veterans have more experience in evaluating threat levels for a given situation than most any civilian. I would be more concerned with a civilian, that has never had any military training, being able to make a high stress life and death decision.

    Semper Fi!

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    Member Array John Luttrel's Avatar
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    I retired in 2006 with 24 years of service under my belt and I agree, I see a big difference in how a prior military man reacts to a threat. In fact some of my friends and family have mentioned that I'm skittish acting most of the time; especially around fireworks and other loud noises.

    I am also usually the first to notice any kind of shady activity or behavior from individuals when we are out and about in public and have no problem with taking steps to prevent said individuals from gaining a position of advantage over me. I think it's because we have seen the results of letting somebody with bad intentions get the drop on you and trained for many years to prevent it from happening to us.
    John Luttrell

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    Senior Member Array Natureboypkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GottaCarry View Post
    With the military rules of engagement changing for a given mission, our veterans have more experience in evaluating threat levels for a given situation than most any civilian. I would be more concerned with a civilian, that has never had any military training, being able to make a high stress life and death decision.

    Semper Fi!
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    I think a large part of the difference has to do with combat experience.

    Someone who has seen real combat no longer has to question whether or not they could do what they were trained to do in the heat of the moment. Those who have pulled the trigger and dealt with the consequences have a better sense that they could do what they had to do.

    Others, who have not been in that position, still have to wonder if they could REALLY pull the trigger in that moment. If we were honest (truly honest) we would admit we don't really know for sure.

    Having had to pull the trigger takes away a lot of that guess work and can serve to harden things up a little bit.

    It's the same with police or other civilians who've had to take a life or perform an act of lethal defense.

    I've never been in the military and I've never needed a firearm in defense. I'm not a police officer and other than civilian training I have nothing to "harden" me other than the school of hard knocks.

    Some seem to think I'm a little over-zealous. I think I'm a realist.

    Maybe it's because I'm married to a combat-salted Marine and he's tainted my thinking with all that military stuff.

    But I'll admit.. I still am a lot of fluff. There is a difference. Something about the training and the experience does give SOME veterans a bit of an edge.

    I do agree with GottaCarry. Having to actually make those decisions under real stress goes a LONG way to get your brain in the right place.

  9. #9
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Does military service make a difference in how we think?
    Of course it does.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Array InspectorGadget's Avatar
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    I was thinking the other day, I know kind of scary, but taking into account the folks that I know that have their CHL's, we all have different thresholds as to when lethal force should be used or to what extent one might use the fight or flight mechanism. In my thinking I asked myself if maybe the differences in our reponses to threats had something to do with whether or not we had served time in our military, and the training we recieved there.
    For better or worse, being military has taught me restraint when dealing with people I did not have 20 years ago (Gray Man). Dealing with many military rules and regs has taught me to learn the Law's for myself. Both of which are steps needed prior to actually shooting. Then there is the actual tactical training, the weapon I use is the same type uncle sam trained me to use (Colt 1911), only recently did we switch to the M9 (Beretta 92) for personal reasons I do not trust the 9mm (argument for other threads). I know first hand when the SHTF you go back to training and I practice the same ways the Navy and then Army trained me when I was active duty.

    I know different state laws come into play, and each one has its own limitations. I will admit that I am looking at things from a state which is pretty open to when one can act and what a person can do, each of you will have to take that into account when answering this.
    As far as what laws I live by that was my choice also, I was in California when I retired and do not like their laws. I chose to retire to Pensacola which has always been home to me between commands for schools and general vacationing. I specifically chose to live by Florida's laws rather than Washington State or California's.

    I can't say as I am better or worse just have a different way of viewing a threat.
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  11. #11
    VIP Member Array Dal1Celt's Avatar
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    When I was a young paratrooper in the 82nd, I had the privilege of being welcomed bye the Brigade Command Sergeant Major (2nd BDE, Falcons). In his speech to me and the other guys he asked what MOS we were. I am Chemical, another was a Mech and another was a Cook. He told us that it did not matter if we were not Infantry because when we went into combat and jumped in we were all "Gun Fighters". Your not gonna be turning wrenches in a fight, nor cooking, or doing ops stuff (my area). We would be slugging it out with our brothers (Infantry, Cook, Mechanic, HRC personnel, Radio guys, Intel, Chem) and the first order of business was to KILL anyone not dressed like us until the area was secure and a beachhead (for lack of better wording) was established. We had only those that jumped in with us to rely on until we could be resupplied. (paraphrasing the speech)

    While in the Military and deployed I always lived that speech. BUT while at home and out in the civilian area, I try not to look at things that way. Will I go for 2 to the chest? Most likely. I don't think I'll be fixing bayonets or pulling out an entrenching tool to slaughter any one.

    I think my SA is a little closer to tuned.

    I think that my survival instinct will be keener.

    Just my humble opinion.
    "Without fear there can be no Courage!"

  12. #12
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    I am not a LEO nor do I have military experience - I don't count 2 years of ROTC in college. That being said, I absolutely agree that some one who has been trained in and actually participated in combat is going to have a different threshold than I do. On the other hand I also think that some one trained in martial arts, but not military training, may also have a similar threshold.

    I am recalling a thread from a couple of weeks ago regarding our responses to a gunshot heard and what we would do. That got me thinking about different issues. Would I actually drop or seek cover, or would I turn and look for the source? Training and experience come into play for this situation.

    As for when or how far our responses take us, I think that another consideration is our general mental/emotional state - tired, worried about the job, grieving for a death in the family, whatever. We all know how easy it is to overreact under certain types of stress just in mundane situations. That being said, I actually believe that combat experience would or may temper that overreaction.

    If I am ever called upon to draw and defend myself or my family, will I be as fast to react as some one with combat training? Probably not, but I will keep working at it just the same.
    If you have never broken your gun or bled on your gun in training, you're doing it wrong!
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  13. #13
    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    I remember the day my Uncle returned home from the Vietnam war; As soon as he stepped off of the plane's exit stairway, he kneeled down and kissed the tarmac. When he stood up, he was in tears and thankful he was back with his family.

    I know years later, he told me that having someone throw lead at you in anger changes you a lot. He told me that it was the first time it had dawned on him that somebody was trying to end his life, and that when he got home, he was so thankful to be alive and have made it through such an experience, it made things like the freedoms we enjoy all the more clearer to him from that moment forward.

    He had explained this to me while I was visiting him in Weisbaden, West Germany where he was stationed in 1985. After having that conversation, we drove to the end of the free world the next morning, and I saw the wall that stretched as far as the eye could see with all of its machine gun emplacements, and guards everywhere.

    Needless to say, I came away a changed young man. I have never served, but I have been fired upon, and could only imagine what our veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan must go through. I know my Uncle told me the hardest part of his service in Vietnam was the last 30 days, he said every day was like an eternity wondering whether you were going to make it or not.

    I can't imagine....
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

  14. #14
    Member Array Bosun's Avatar
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    Military service does make a difference in just about everything we do, good or bad. My service in the Coast Guard working LE sure gave me skills and situational awareness for CC. Note that the Coast Guard under the Dept. of Homeland Sercurity (not DOD), all E-4 (Petty Officers) and above are federal LE Officers.
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    Distinguished Member Array Chaplain Scott's Avatar
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    In response to the OP quetion, I think that it does make a huge difference. I think, however, that there are a combination of factors involved.

    First, we have an all-volunteer military (not debating pros or cons, just stating fact), so those in the military CHOOSE to be there. This means that the people in the military are not entirely representative of a cross-section of America. They are self-selected volunteers. I suggest that this sub-group of Americans (military volunteers) has certain selected personality traits that led them to volunteer for military service in the first place.

    Secondly, we have certain personality types within the Military sub-group that is even more selective--these are your folks who further volunteer for more intense/physically demanding types of jobs (for example: Infantry, or Airborne volunteers, or folks like PNUT who were in the special ops community (PNUT--I have a 1st Group coin- #A-325--I was in 1st Group when it was re-consitituted back in early 80's ).

    Most military personnel have personalities that are more prone to taking action and initiative when stuff hits the fan. The Infantry/Airborne/Special OPS/Force REcon types, even more so. These personality types are then refined and honed by more specific training.

    There is also a great deal of similarity between the personalities of the more demanding/aggressive military folks and LEO's/Firefighters, etc.

    So, yeah, I think it makes a heck of a differnece.

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