Military Awards & Decorations

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I don’t mean any ill will against patriotic young people, or to be negatively critical, but didjaever see one of today’s Jr. ROTC members, a high school student who is enrolled in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps — in a dress uniform?

Merit badges for young scouts are good, but getting a ribbon, for example, for attaining a grade of “B” or better in a particular class, be in good academic standing, actively participate in cadet corps activities, and participate in at least 50% of all unit service programs. (awarded once per year.). That’s it. Participate, do well, and here’s your ribbon.

Where’s my ribbon for surviving 2019? I need to add it to all the other yearly ribbons I’ve won for getting through the years without a major heart attack, and those for practicing enough safety to undergo the number of long motorcycle rides without incident except for the time I totaled one bike.

Now for active duty folks. The military will give you a medal nowadays if you’re breathing and show up for work on time. Geez, if you finished boot camp you get a ribbon. Whoopie! You did something that everyone else did.


It’s all well and good i guess for those who received team sports trophies for participation and graduated kindergarten complete with cap and gown. But it seems to me that awards and decorations have just gotten completely out of hand so the ones you really earned above and beyond the call of duty have little place beside those worn for serving a tour of duty overseas and does the same job as one who is stateside but gets no ribbon.

I never could figure out why i got a good conduct medal. I guess it means i didn’t get caught.

I served a couple of enlistments in the Air Force, 3X overseas including Vietnam, for a total of 7 years, 3 months, and 10 days. For my first assignment in a very remote area working rotating shifts for 15 months without a leave (vacation) I received nothing, not even a promotion, although the unit did get an outstanding unit award. Nowadays, most all units receive some type of unit award just for accomplishing their missions and members of the unit get either an achievement medal, commendation medal, or meritorious service medal depending on their rank. and, as all those who served in Southeast Asia, got the participation service medals.

I went back into the service, in the Navy, and managed to retire. Unlike many fellow officers who received a number of merit type medals, some at every assignment they served and reading their citation, sounds like they just did their job as expected. Allow me to let you on a little secret. I know some of those men who wrote themselves up for the medal, being the senior officer in their office, or had a friend do the write up, and in some cases the XO processed the write up simply because it was expected. In some cases it is expected that unless the officer fell on his own sword he got an end-of-tour award, usually a Commendation Medal or Meritorious Service Medal, depending on one’s rank. I know that in some commands today, someone is appointed to choose medal recipients and to write them up for the awards.

I did receive an Air Force Commendation medal for service in Vietnam. I was what was then referred to as a REMF, a rear echelon guy serving in a relatively safe zone working in an office doing intelligence work. There’s no doubt that the work I did was extremely important and probably saved lives, but it was nothing more special IMO than anyone else doing their assigned work. I noticed that it seemed to be for the Air Force REMFs of the Vietnam War, at least in my command, that for the rank of E-5 and below, one generally received a commendation medal and for those who were E-6 and above, a Bronze Star and they were automatically given at the end of one’s tour or at a commander’s call after they returned home. No heroics involved, just a job well done.

I served a number of different assignments while in the Navy, both in the Navy and with Marine Corps units. Reputation was a key factor in promotion in my profession, and other things in one’s career (getting one’s career ticket punched). I never had a great reputation. I was too radical in some ways, spoke my mind when I probably shouldn’t have, went outside the chain of command with suggestions and ideas, and in general never played the “game”, so to speak.

Just to relate one incident that will give you a better idea of dear ole Bob, at the end of one 2-year stateside tour of duty, I know I was being written up for an end-of-tour medal by the XO at about the same time a new CO was being assigned and a change of command ceremony rehearsal, which the XO was in charge of producing, was scheduled. I had had a super relationship to the old CO and had already established a good relationship with the new CO. The last week, I was in the process of cleaning out my office for a reassignment and told the XO that I would miss the rehearsal but I had done enough of them that I knew the procedure. I had never really gone through the XO much during that assignment, always going directly to the CO for various reasons concerning issues when they needed command attention. That was the second XO that I didn’t get along with well. In short, because I missed the rehearsal, he never forwarded my medal write-up, which suited me just fine. I didn’t need his or the command,s official rewarding compliments on my job. People who really knew me and my work knew my worth and accomplishments and that’s all that mattered to me.  (Thankfully, medals were not important in my particular field as to promotion boards).

I had had a couple TAD (temporary duty) assignments, including a deployment with deployed Marines unit to the Mediterranean and to the 2d Marine Division during Operation Desert Storm. Both of these assignments were very strenuous and demanding. Both times I left the units following their activities they were involved in and back to my permanent unit without even thinking of receiving any type of medal. I could have taken the time to recommend myself or have a senior officer, or even the command sergeant major with whom I had a cordial and working relationship, recommend me for a medal knowing full well that they would have been approved. Just not my thing and besides, at the times I never even thought about it.

So now I’m a veteran and member of various Facebook veteran groups. What I’m seeing now is some of the old farts who served back in the 1950s and 1960s are an entirely different breed from the guys who served in the late 1970s after the Vietnam War, and later, including Desert Storm and later Middle Eastern tours of duty of the 1990a and 2000s, who received so many ribbons on their chest they walk stooped over and since some of the new stuff is retroactive some veterans are busy having their records changed so they can get the stuff they weren’t awarded but are now qualified for. Then, there’s the “special” medals and participation certificates they are now eligible for by having “been there, done that.” It’s quite interesting watching the discussions on some issues, the difference of opinions between the old and the newer guys.

(Pet peeve, I never figured out why there no ground medals given to compensate for those serving on the ground while their peers received all those air medals for doing the same job but in a different environment).

I don’t understand it. Why not be satisfied with what you did and what you got when you did it and got it? And BTW, you know how to tell a real combat troop and hero? They never talk about it.

© Feb. 2018. Bob Haines

What I Learned on Facebook Today

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(BTW, what i learned on Facebook today is the same as yesterday and no doubt will be the same tomorrow for about 70+% .  nothing new, nothing gained.  instead of taking all that time in the morning with your news feed, just read thru this note once a week and you won’t miss anything)

— OMG is a well-used acronym (if you don’t use it, your not a true blue Facebooker)

— a missing boy was found in an arcade claw machine (very important news, so parents you know where to look if one of your toddlers is missing)

— community pages advertise a lot of strange stuff

— seems like people use Facebook groups to gather material to write books. no doubt they use internet blogs also.  (not sure it’s plagiarism but evidently it doesn’t matter anymore).  OMG, BTW, wonder where all the meme image makers get those photos for their silly-ass annotations?  you put a cool pic on Facebook, chances are it’ll be lifted and used.

— very very very strange humor, like trespassers into one’s garden will be composted.. (people feel noticed when they go to sites and share 10 or more weird banners that are so outrageous as to be anti-funny)

— pretty pic of scenery which looks nothing like the real world (in other words, everyone is not happy with where they live, and they are dreaming the impossible dream)

— people die daily (prayers going up)

— many people are sick (prayers going up)

— many people’s family members are sick (prayers going up)

— many people’s close friends are sick (prayers going up)

— cat’s die (OMG, sympathy and prayers going up)

— dog’s die (say it ain’t so.  sympathy and prayers going up)

— people hate spiders and snakes (no prayers unless bitten)

— a guy was arrested after 13 years of not reporting to prison because he never received instructions to report, so he rehabilitated himself.  now he’s been arrested since he was never told to report and so he didn’t report. (i’ve seen that post 10,248 times.  everyone downloads the meme rather then share it so they can take the credit).

— someone had a lot of time on his or her hands and created a photoshopped pic of dehydrated water to make strange people post it to make other strange people have a chuckle.

— people post historical photographs of famous people, things, and events.  (i don’t know why, perhaps to impress friends that they found an old photo on the internet of JFK who was president of the U.S. for 3 years and was assassinated.)

— military veterans are deserving of special recognition (well, yes they are, but IMO [another well-used acronym] but they are not bona-fide heroes unless they went above and beyond the call of duty, IMO of course. in other words, IMO, not all military veterans are heroes.  just ask them, they’ll tell you.  of course some will fake being heroes.)

— many Fox News videos (above and beyond all other news agencies, but followed by ABC news in a distant 2nd place).  every time a friend posts a Fox or an ABC news article they lose a friend.

— speaking of friends, OMG chances are you’re gonna get a friend request from someone who already has 10,248 Facebook friends.

— men in denim built this land. men in suits destroyed it.  (the person who posted this was at work wearing a suit when he posted it.  also, he didn’t realize that the industrial revolution which, BTW (here’s that acronym again) really built America and was created and led by men in suits with lots of money, you know people like Rockefeller and his ilk.)

— lot of political posters about politicians, freedom, liberty, the Constitution, famous quotes by famous people (most of which the guy probably never said it or it was taken so much out of context so as to distort the true meaning of the context from which it was taken) — mostly of a satirical and sarcastic nature.

all Muslims and all Bible-toting Christians are . . . . . (fill in the blank)

— heard that one of my friends was down on his luck (i felt sorry for him, but if i went out of my way to try and help all of my friends who are down on their luck, i would be doing it 24/7.  prayers going up)

– (BTW, if your prayers are going up, in actuality, to the person on the other side of the globe, they are going down.  so which is it and which one is correct?  are your prayers going up or are the going down.  this issue might be something that you want to post on your timeline for debate so that everyone can reach an impasse, because in a FB debate, no one, and i mean no one is going to change their minds.  furthermore someone is going to get so PO’d that he or she is going to unfriend someone, and when confronted with it, going to say it was an accident and re-friend the person.)

— the energizer bunny was arrested and charged with battery (that one is kind of funny, but i do have a kinda warped sense of humor)

— someone posted the Mexican immigration laws which caused people like me to check google and snopes and wound up spending two hours to discover that no one knows what the hell they’re talking about when they make up s**t like that because it starts a 10+  year debate on the internet and both sides of the argument throw so much BS out on blogs, boards, twitter, FB, etc., only to wind up knowing that it’s impossible to find out what Mexican’s immigration laws are without going to a Mexican law library and spending another 10+ years searching for them.

— was reminded by several postings that all Atheists, Muslims, and Christians are wrong about everything (that is from the perspective of each other).

— lots of pix with hidden images and stuff on them for you to waste time trying to find and if you re-share it, you will have extra luck and God will bless you 3X more for having done so.  (BTW, everyone  can read that puzzle, so you’re nothing special and most certainly NOT a genius).

— someone is running for president 24/7

— lotsa useless scientific data that you didn’t know but which will not make one bit of difference in your life (it really impresses me to know that some of my friends are so knowledgeable, but in reality was very lucky to have a friend who had a friend who had a friend — back 231 friends — who found it on the internet while haphazardly searching for something else and thought it was cool and posted it to impress his or her friends and now that’s exactly what you are going to do — re-post it to impress your friends that you found something extremely unique and unusual

— if you eat meat, you are going to die and if you abuse animals, you are going to hell. (well you’re going to die anyway, but probably out live your vegan friend who posted the one about eating healthy, but as for abusing animals, ever kill a deer? deer, elk, and moose jump over cars.)  OMG, BTW honey and cinnamon will cure all ills.

— posts by foreign friends are mostly the same as American friends except they have changed the picture and translated the caption to their languages.

— old Christian prayers and sayings have been translated into Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and other languages, changed the word for God (Allah), and the Koran for the Bible and then posted into Middle Eastern FB groups as if they were ingeniously made up by the person who found it on a Christian web site, copied it and made the changes.  (of course, this is not plagiarism.)

— lots of pix of friends’ kids (makes me proud to have parents who are doing such an outstanding job of raising their kids and to know that their kids are smarter then the neighbors’ kids)

— several posts by conservatives that Muslims, in general, are violent by nature.  posts by liberals that conservatives are haters and vice versa.

— posts by conservatives who believe that Muslims are taking over America and going to establish Sharia Law and fly a Muslim flag over the White House.

— The English language is a complex language (so are all the other languages, except Hebrew)

— some selfies are just ordinary and some are photoshopped (which impresses me to know some of my friends are proud to show off their photoshopping ability. built-in filtering).

— 91% of selfies are by females.  1% of selfies are by Harley bikers.  8%, males, decided to try it but had trouble holding the camera steady.

— a cat and dog video, one of thousands on YouTube (it really is unbelievable how many funny pet videos there actually are).

— saw a quiz — didn’t do it

—  funny squirrel video (seen it before and didn’t watch it cas it wasn’t very funny the first time).

— learned that recipe posts are passe’ and getting scarcer.  i like recipe posts, even knowing that the person copied it off the internet, changed some wording, and claimed it as their own.

– Obummer stuff is also getting to be more rare.  (didn’t see one today).  tRumpster stuff has replaced it.  i prob may not be around in 2024 but it’s gonna be the same for whoever is elected president.

— hmmm, haven’t seen anything posted by some friends for a few days some for months, others for years (are they on vacation? are they burned out on FB?  are they quitting FB?  are they hiding their posts from me? did they unfriend me? maybe they died!)

— if  you’re a member of more then one similar FB group, you’re gonna see the same post by the same person in all of the groups.

— it snowed in late spring and people are fed up with the rough winter.  (in August when it’s damn hot, they will be craving cold weather).

— all holiday memes are re-cycled

— ABC News posts are nothing but tragedies- another reminder that all FB users are abnormal or very disturbed.

— FB users know more about God than God knows about Himself (Herself?)

— another reminder to leave the past in the past (BS!  i like my past and have fond memories and enjoy reflecting on nostalgic things.  i even remember the bad parts and how i learned many lessons even today by thinking about them)

— some friends are deliberately trying to make me feel guilty and miserable. (i don’t know why. maybe they have all the answers — but so does everyone else, except of course, me). seems that every FB user knows what’s best for every other FB user)..

— another banner that shows that there’s an ongoing battle of the sex’s

— another cat video!- everyone wants to live on an island, or on the beach, or on a houseboat, or in the mountains, anywhere but where they chose to live.  (OMG, BTW, they don’t want their new abode to have WIFI!  so how are they gonna post the fact that they want to live in the wilderness without WIFE???)

— wow, a chicken video

— a baby video

— i’m not a racist, but you are

— i miss my dad (who is  dead) and my mom (who is also dead), and my grandpa and grandma (they are dead also).  i post pix of my kids when they were young.  my kids are awesome. my  brother is awesome, and awesome sister (oops, sorry if you are an only child — you’re missing out and your parents should be ashamed for not giving you a brother and sister, or maybe blame God for not “blessing” you with a brother or sister — but we all know there’s a reason for everything, but we never know what the reason is.  maybe God just didn’t think you could handle it. anyway, have a “blessed day”)

— some of my friends give a lot of advice.  (some i need, some i don’t.  some i agree with, some i think is BS.  WTH  WTF  OMG )

— a pic of someone in Walmart (NOT!)

— weird looking car for rednecks

— another dreadful post about a victim of cancer (makes me sad as always.)

— a war post.  (what else is new?) (haven’t seen any drone attack posts in quite a while)

— all the various definitions of what a true friend is (as if there is a difference of what a friend is and what a true friend is.  i never could figure that one out.)


well, that is just 8 hours of selected stuff.  but believe me, it’ll be the same for the next 8 hours.  love it or hate it, but you’re gonna see it and laugh a little, cry a little, and get mad a little, but as they say, “that’s life” and it’s the only one you’ve got so might as well take the time up doing something and i recommend doing something that you enjoy.

— some more photoshopped stuff, some must have taken the entire day up (like this big waste of time which one or two friends will read all the way through and may or may not like and/or comment on and which will pass always as an act of futility.  OMG Bob, you really need to get out of the house!)

so a few minutes ago i got home from McDonalds, walked passed the washing machine, turned it on to do a load of clothes, walked in the house to put stuff away, forgot about the washing machine. just as i was finishing this blog, i heard it hit the spin cycle LOLOL or LMAO. decided it might be best if i go restart the machine and add the clothes.

— OMG, BTW there still is not a realistic emoticon for satire


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