Being fired from the military is the same as any other job

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#1 Posted by Serraph105 (30117 posts) -

So this topic is going to get a bit touchy to say the least, but in another topic I touched upon an idea that I’ve been giving a great deal of thought. Firing a member of the military, specifically person who has served on one or more combat missions, is effectively no different than anyone else getting fired. Now we may feel they deserve better given that they have sacrificed a whole lot for their country, and because we tend to view them as heroes (and you won’t see me questioning that status in this thread).

However the effect of being let go, downsized, fired whatever you would like to call it is no different for a member of the armed forces than anyone else being let go from their job. They suddenly no longer have a job, or an income making it harder to pay the bills and/or support their family. As far as I can tell there is no extra set of special circumstances (other than the way the rest of us feel about it) that comes with being let go from the armed forces as opposed to any other position.

So what do you guys think? Am I correct or is there an element I’m missing in terms of what one goes through when they get let go from the armed forces?

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#2 Edited by Korvus (10144 posts) -

I think that's about right. A job is a job, regardless of what it consists of. Sure, if you're in the military you have the potential to live a much riskier life than most, and you can't say that his/her job has the same importance as a baker for example, but then again I'd say the same for policemen, firefighters, doctors, nurses...some jobs are risky, some jobs save lives, but at the end of the day, it's still a job.

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#3 Posted by DarthGumballs (209 posts) -

I would disagree completely. You have people who have uprooted their family and their lives for years, doing a job where they make less money than their civilian counterparts, sacrificing a normal family life in service of their country. It's not just a job, it's a lifestyle. Working in the military is quite different than working in the civilian world and for a lot of people it's hard to adjust to a civilian life without a lot of help which often isn't readily available so they often end up unemployed or even homeless after selfelessy serving their country for who knows how many years.

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#4 Posted by Korvus (10144 posts) -

@darthgumballs: You do have a point but it's not always that way. My brother was in Afghanistan for 2 years, which obviously sucked for us, always worried about him and wondering if he'd come back home but he's been in the Marines for about 10 years and he has a great life. They pay for his house and his bills, when he's not deployed anywhere he basically gets payed to use their gym and empty some clips and he loves the "no strings attached" and the "girls dig Marines" part.

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#5 Posted by thegerg (17823 posts) -

@darthgumballs said:

I would disagree completely. You have people who have uprooted their family and their lives for years, doing a job where they make less money than their civilian counterparts, sacrificing a normal family life in service of their country. It's not just a job, it's a lifestyle. Working in the military is quite different than working in the civilian world and for a lot of people it's hard to adjust to a civilian life without a lot of help which often isn't readily available so they often end up unemployed or even homeless after selfelessy serving their country for who knows how many years.

"You have people who have uprooted their family and their lives for years"

As many civilian jobs do as well.

"doing a job where they make less money than their civilian counterparts"

In many cases this is simply untrue.

"after selfelessy serving their country for who knows how many years."

It's not nearly as selfless as you might think.

Anyway, I pretty much agree with OP. Seeing someone involuntarily separated kind of sucks, but it's the real world. We need to whittle down what we've got into a more efficient and effective warfighting force. This means retaining the best of what we've got, and getting rid of what we don't need. I don't see why an organization should be obligated to employ someone simply because they have employed them in the past.

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#6 Edited by playmynutz (6867 posts) -

A US solider with dignity can respect that. Go America! Its our beautiful country let's treat her right

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#7 Posted by Master_Live (18177 posts) -

Their health care related necessities resulting from serving in the Armed Forces should be taken care for, as long as necessary. Extensive help should be provided for a full reintegration to society after serving. Other than that, If you get fire, you get fire and that is that.

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#8 Posted by vfibsux (4497 posts) -

@Serraph105 said:

So this topic is going to get a bit touchy to say the least, but in another topic I touched upon an idea that I’ve been giving a great deal of thought. Firing a member of the military, specifically person who has served on one or more combat missions, is effectively no different than anyone else getting fired. Now we may feel they deserve better given that they have sacrificed a whole lot for their country, and because we tend to view them as heroes (and you won’t see me questioning that status in this thread).

However the effect of being let go, downsized, fired whatever you would like to call it is no different for a member of the armed forces than anyone else being let go from their job. They suddenly no longer have a job, or an income making it harder to pay the bills and/or support their family. As far as I can tell there is no extra set of special circumstances (other than the way the rest of us feel about it) that comes with being let go from the armed forces as opposed to any other position.

So what do you guys think? Am I correct or is there an element I’m missing in terms of what one goes through when they get let go from the armed forces?

I am passionate about this subject because it is part of my life, I will try and stay cool with it.

On the surface there is no difference, unemployed is unemployed. I have lived my adult life as both a civilian and later as career military so I have lived both worlds. First of all the premise here is we have TONS of waste everywhere in our government, I take direct offense to the fact we are gunning straight for our military personnel who have sacrificed so much before even touching the other obscene waste that plagues our government.

To us the military is not just a job, it is life. You just cannot compare getting up and going to the office every day with being in the military, there is no comparison. The only people who could come close are police, firefighters, paramedics, etc....another life I also lived. Even then it is just different. The every day firefighter or cop is not going to be told one day "kiss your wife and kids goodbye and tell them you will see them in 6 months." Of course that cop and firefighter would be devastated just the same when they get laid off.....however they simply go find another cop or firefighter job. We lose our life completely, we cannot just go join another military.

And how can we not take into account a person just served the past 12 years of his or her life invested in two wars with multiple deployments which includes sacrifice on the part of the member and their family as well. How can we look at this as just another job? Why can't loyalty be involved here? Why can't we find cuts elsewhere like the loopholes corporations use? GE paid $0.00 in taxes a few years ago despite billions in profits, remember that? Remember this affects retirees as well.

In the end if you want to remain a quality volunteer force we need to keep the military as an honored tradition in our culture. When the first thing you want to cut is the feet out from under those who served loyally you are cheapening the entire idea of service. Future generations will pretty much be "**** that", why should I sacrifice when the American people will stab me in the back after? And whether or not you see it that way, WE do.

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." -- George Washington

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#10 Edited by vfibsux (4497 posts) -

@thegerg said:

@darthgumballs said:

I would disagree completely. You have people who have uprooted their family and their lives for years, doing a job where they make less money than their civilian counterparts, sacrificing a normal family life in service of their country. It's not just a job, it's a lifestyle. Working in the military is quite different than working in the civilian world and for a lot of people it's hard to adjust to a civilian life without a lot of help which often isn't readily available so they often end up unemployed or even homeless after selfelessy serving their country for who knows how many years.

"You have people who have uprooted their family and their lives for years"

As many civilian jobs do as well.

"doing a job where they make less money than their civilian counterparts"

In many cases this is simply untrue.

"after selfelessy serving their country for who knows how many years."

It's not nearly as selfless as you might think.

Anyway, I pretty much agree with OP. Seeing someone involuntarily separated kind of sucks, but it's the real world. We need to whittle down what we've got into a more efficient and effective warfighting force. This means retaining the best of what we've got, and getting rid of what we don't need. I don't see why an organization should be obligated to employ someone simply because they have employed them in the past.

I am all for efficiency and admit there is waste in the military in some areas, my problem is why come at us first when there is so much waste elsewhere? THAT is the insult here.

@Korvus85 said:

@darthgumballs: You do have a point but it's not always that way. My brother was in Afghanistan for 2 years, which obviously sucked for us, always worried about him and wondering if he'd come back home but he's been in the Marines for about 10 years and he has a great life. They pay for his house and his bills, when he's not deployed anywhere he basically gets payed to use their gym and empty some clips and he loves the "no strings attached" and the "girls dig Marines" part.

Your brother is a walking anecdote. That is not to be disrespectful, just saying he is one guy out of how many? You cannot possibly use one person as a point in this case when talking over a million people spread throughout multiple branches in multiple positions. The whole "they pay" for this and that thing is a misconception. They do not pay your bills, you do get allowance for housing if you live off base, when this basically is to make up for the low base pay you have. If you choose to live on base you get wonderful government housing, which if you are enlisted is typically an old crappy duplex or townhouse which resembles the projects. Don't get me wrong, I will take the benefit as without it our pay would not be sufficient to live, but don't make it something it is not.

And this when not deployed he gets paid to use the gym and empty some clips things.....obviously he is a combat troop. They are no different than a football player, they get paid to train for gameday. What do you expect him to do? So should we not have any combat troops because they don't have "real" jobs when not at war? And I must add this is only about 30% of our total fighting force you know.....the actual combat troops. The rest of us have actual jobs even when no deployed. I work shifts and 100% guarantee you I WORK every day. I actually have a "real job" and a real mission on a daily basis, unlike your brother. Again, that is not to disrespect him of course. I was 4 years Army and a "combat troop" Cav Scout before I went Air Force to finish my career out with a "real" job ;).

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#11 Posted by themajormayor (25129 posts) -

Sounds like a good thing since the military is something mandatory that you don't want to do for the most part.

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#12 Posted by vfibsux (4497 posts) -

@themajormayor said:

Sounds like a good thing since the military is something mandatory that you don't want to do for the most part.

Pretty sure this is an American military topic in light of the current cuts that are being proposed. We do not have conscription here, everyone in the U.S. military wants to be there....or at least did when they signed up.

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#13 Posted by comp_atkins (33284 posts) -

@vfibsux said:

@thegerg said:

@darthgumballs said:

I would disagree completely. You have people who have uprooted their family and their lives for years, doing a job where they make less money than their civilian counterparts, sacrificing a normal family life in service of their country. It's not just a job, it's a lifestyle. Working in the military is quite different than working in the civilian world and for a lot of people it's hard to adjust to a civilian life without a lot of help which often isn't readily available so they often end up unemployed or even homeless after selfelessy serving their country for who knows how many years.

"You have people who have uprooted their family and their lives for years"

As many civilian jobs do as well.

"doing a job where they make less money than their civilian counterparts"

In many cases this is simply untrue.

"after selfelessy serving their country for who knows how many years."

It's not nearly as selfless as you might think.

Anyway, I pretty much agree with OP. Seeing someone involuntarily separated kind of sucks, but it's the real world. We need to whittle down what we've got into a more efficient and effective warfighting force. This means retaining the best of what we've got, and getting rid of what we don't need. I don't see why an organization should be obligated to employ someone simply because they have employed them in the past.

I am all for efficiency and admit there is waste in the military in some areas, my problem is why come at us first when there is so much waste elsewhere? THAT is the insult here.

you need better lobbyists.

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#14 Posted by vfibsux (4497 posts) -

@comp_atkins said:

@vfibsux said:

@thegerg said:

@darthgumballs said:

I would disagree completely. You have people who have uprooted their family and their lives for years, doing a job where they make less money than their civilian counterparts, sacrificing a normal family life in service of their country. It's not just a job, it's a lifestyle. Working in the military is quite different than working in the civilian world and for a lot of people it's hard to adjust to a civilian life without a lot of help which often isn't readily available so they often end up unemployed or even homeless after selfelessy serving their country for who knows how many years.

"You have people who have uprooted their family and their lives for years"

As many civilian jobs do as well.

"doing a job where they make less money than their civilian counterparts"

In many cases this is simply untrue.

"after selfelessy serving their country for who knows how many years."

It's not nearly as selfless as you might think.

Anyway, I pretty much agree with OP. Seeing someone involuntarily separated kind of sucks, but it's the real world. We need to whittle down what we've got into a more efficient and effective warfighting force. This means retaining the best of what we've got, and getting rid of what we don't need. I don't see why an organization should be obligated to employ someone simply because they have employed them in the past.

I am all for efficiency and admit there is waste in the military in some areas, my problem is why come at us first when there is so much waste elsewhere? THAT is the insult here.

you need better lobbyists.

Sadly you are correct. Saying that, we do have lobbyists, aside from Veterans groups- the American people.

Remember though these cuts have yet to be signed into law and the majority of Americans are outraged that despite all of the waste in other areas we choose to go after those who are serving or have served. This is not just about people losing their jobs, it is also about current/future retirees losing benefits they earned as well as benefits for currently serving troops. I think whoever signs on for this will have a very short political career, and they know it.

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#15 Edited by -TheSecondSign- (9287 posts) -

It makes me angry when veterans hide behind their status as a former member of the armed forces as a defense against incompetence.

The military breeds apathy towards general incompetence, primarily due to the inability to "fire" a service member while they're under contract. Instead, they get minor write ups that don't truly penalize or follow them in any way. So when the same person gets out and then they actually get fired for screwing up they don't understand why because they've never been at risk of being let off before.

Don't get me wrong, my time in has been marked with the occasional **** up but I can't let that change the truth of the matter.

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#16 Edited by Korvus (10144 posts) -

@vfibsux: I think you anger is misplaced. The user I replied to was making a generalisation and I mentioned that that was not ALWAYS the case and I mentioned the one closest to me with a very different reality. Nowhere did I mention most case were like my brother's, or that something should be done differently because of people in his situation.

Plus, unless you're Portuguese, he's not part of "your" troops anyway, so his situation doesn't affect you in the least.

EDIT: From your other posts it seems that you're American and I think you assumed I was too, so my "story" might seem unrealistic to you, but from what I read from your posts the situation is a lot different in Portugal (for the better, it seems...which is strange because everything else is worse than most anywhere else =P)

Both our faults for not being specific, I guess ^_^ No harm done though, I hope

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#17 Posted by hazelnutman (9688 posts) -

I think it's important to make a distinction between having your service term expire and getting "fired". If you are released from service because you finished the last tour of your contracted term, then you are entitled to a lot of post-combat services such as schooling and such due to your successful completion of duties. You also have to realize that many veterans come back home with a degree of PTSD. This doesn't mean that they break down into paranoia at every ring of gunfire heard when watching a movie, but the combat fatigue follows them for years. Every single NCM I've met who had gone to theater brought back some degree of PTSD. This is nothing like quitting a job as a waiter or truck driver, because quitting entails some degree of baggage. Like someone else mentioned above, the military is a lifestyle - not just another job you take on to pay the bills. When this lifestyle ends, you're not immediately going to go back to your old life at 100%.

Now, if you get fired (or dishonorably discharged), then that's a whole other story. I'm a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, and I have ambitions to eventually land a job in law enforcement. However, if I get discharged in ANY other way than honorable release, then I will effectively be blacklisted in all government-level jobs in Canada for the rest of my life. As you can probably imagine, being fired from a job like this has crazy consequences.

So in short, no; being "fired" from the military is nothing like any other job.

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#18 Edited by jun_aka_pekto (19746 posts) -

@-TheSecondSign- said:

It makes me angry when veterans hide behind their status as a former member of the armed forces as a defense against incompetence.

The military breeds apathy towards general incompetence, primarily due to the inability to "fire" a service member while they're under contract. Instead, they get minor write ups that don't truly penalize or follow them in any way. So when the same person gets out and then they actually get fired for screwing up they don't understand why because they've never been at risk of being let off before.

Don't get me wrong, my time in has been marked with the occasional **** up but I can't let that change the truth of the matter.

You can fire service members from the U.S. military if they can't cut it. I've done paperwork to involuntarily separate airmen who couldn't cut it. The difference is he/she got an honorable discharge if they were merely incompetent and never got themselves in trouble. If they got themselves in trouble with the law, then they got a dishonorable discharge which meant they were screwed with regards to civilian employment.

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#19 Edited by ad1x2 (6062 posts) -
@-TheSecondSign- said:

It makes me angry when veterans hide behind their status as a former member of the armed forces as a defense against incompetence.

The military breeds apathy towards general incompetence, primarily due to the inability to "fire" a service member while they're under contract. Instead, they get minor write ups that don't truly penalize or follow them in any way. So when the same person gets out and then they actually get fired for screwing up they don't understand why because they've never been at risk of being let off before.

Don't get me wrong, my time in has been marked with the occasional **** up but I can't let that change the truth of the matter.

Times have changed. People are getting put out right now for the smallest things that would have been overlooked ten years ago due to the fact that commanders needed bodies to deploy with. If today's standards were in place five years ago we would have never heard of Bradley Manning because he would have been put out long before he got the chance to start stealing information and sending it to WikiLeaks.

You also have to consider the difference between what a servicemember can do and what a civilian can do. A civilian can tell his boss to **** off and that person will just get fired and have a slightly harder time finding another job. A servicemember tells his commander to **** off and he's getting punished under the UCMJ for insubordination and depending on how far they want to take it he could be locked up.

Obviously people hiding behind veteran status for incompetence is a cheap way to gain sympathy, especially if they didn't do crap while serving. But that isn't always going to be the case. Also, technically you lose your veteran status anyway if you get anything less than a General discharge. Randy Orton served in the Marines but he lost his veteran status when he got his BCD.

As for those write-ups not following you, if that happens to somebody you know blame your chain of command. If you are an E-5 or higher screwing up means you get a bad evaluation and that bad evaluation could be what keeps you from ever getting promoted. Those people, along with people who got DUIs or Article 15s, are the first ones to go in the current drawdown.

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#20 Edited by airshocker (31700 posts) -

No, I would say it's much different. As much as our government would like you to believe, many employers won't hire veterans over someone with a college degree. Especially if that college degree is related to the field they're applying for. EVEN IF that veteran has job experience due to the military. It took me FOREVER to become a PO even though I was trained as a PO in the Air Force. I also didn't get any special treatment(except for a few points on an already piece of cake test) and eventually had to get my degree since my aspirations are more for the federal law enforcement side of things.

We expect people to sacrifice years of their life to serve their country, years they could have spent getting a college education, and then expect them to survive outside of the military? Sometimes having a family they also need to support?

Getting force-shaped is nothing like being fired from a civilian job.

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#21 Posted by bobaban (10560 posts) -

@darthgumballs said:

I would disagree completely. You have people who have uprooted their family and their lives for years, doing a job where they make less money than their civilian counterparts, sacrificing a normal family life in service of their country. It's not just a job, it's a lifestyle. Working in the military is quite different than working in the civilian world and for a lot of people it's hard to adjust to a civilian life without a lot of help which often isn't readily available so they often end up unemployed or even homeless after selfelessy serving their country for who knows how many years.

It's their choice, no one forced them.

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#22 Edited by Serraph105 (30117 posts) -

@bobaban:

I was sorta thinking the same thing the same. Not to mention what you do on the job has little to do with what you go through when you get downsized.

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#23 Edited by vfibsux (4497 posts) -

@Korvus85 said:

@vfibsux: I think you anger is misplaced. The user I replied to was making a generalisation and I mentioned that that was not ALWAYS the case and I mentioned the one closest to me with a very different reality. Nowhere did I mention most case were like my brother's, or that something should be done differently because of people in his situation.

Plus, unless you're Portuguese, he's not part of "your" troops anyway, so his situation doesn't affect you in the least.

EDIT: From your other posts it seems that you're American and I think you assumed I was too, so my "story" might seem unrealistic to you, but from what I read from your posts the situation is a lot different in Portugal (for the better, it seems...which is strange because everything else is worse than most anywhere else =P)

Both our faults for not being specific, I guess ^_^ No harm done though, I hope

Not sure where you got I was "angry" in my reply, but thank you for explaining. Maybe I am the one who was wrong to assume, but with what is going on in current events in the United States I thought this topic was spawned by that.

@-TheSecondSign- said:

It makes me angry when veterans hide behind their status as a former member of the armed forces as a defense against incompetence.

The military breeds apathy towards general incompetence, primarily due to the inability to "fire" a service member while they're under contract. Instead, they get minor write ups that don't truly penalize or follow them in any way. So when the same person gets out and then they actually get fired for screwing up they don't understand why because they've never been at risk of being let off before.

Don't get me wrong, my time in has been marked with the occasional **** up but I can't let that change the truth of the matter.

I don't think you understand the topic, but you do sound as though you have something against veterans. I don't know what military you are talking about, but incompetence is in NO way, shape, or form, tolerated in the U.S. military.

@bobaban said:

@darthgumballs said:

I would disagree completely. You have people who have uprooted their family and their lives for years, doing a job where they make less money than their civilian counterparts, sacrificing a normal family life in service of their country. It's not just a job, it's a lifestyle. Working in the military is quite different than working in the civilian world and for a lot of people it's hard to adjust to a civilian life without a lot of help which often isn't readily available so they often end up unemployed or even homeless after selfelessy serving their country for who knows how many years.

It's their choice, no one forced them.

@Serraph105 as well for thinking the same......

That's right because people like you two obviously are not willing to do it. Instead of copping this attitude about it perhaps you should be thanking us for volunteering so there is no need to draft unwilling people like yourselves.

Nothing worse than people who act as though we are hookers who caught HIV or something....we deserve what we get right?

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#24 Posted by Barbariser (6785 posts) -

Yep, military vets should probably be treated the same as civvies with similar skills and productivity levels from an economic standpoint. Vets in the U.S. as a whole even have lower unemployment rates than the general population, it's mainly vets from the last 12 years who are in deep shit.

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#25 Posted by airshocker (31700 posts) -

@Barbariser said:

Yep, military vets should probably be treated the same as civvies with similar skills and productivity levels from an economic standpoint. Vets in the U.S. as a whole even have lower unemployment rates than the general population, it's mainly vets from the last 12 years who are in deep shit.

Any idea as to why that is?

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#26 Edited by hippiesanta (10285 posts) -

Being fired from the Military actually saves your life from being murdered in combat ....

why so serious ..... lol

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#27 Posted by LJS9502_basic (156902 posts) -

@themajormayor said:

Sounds like a good thing since the military is something mandatory that you don't want to do for the most part.

No in the US it's volunteer. And the pay is low. Some military families are on social programs.

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#28 Edited by bforrester420 (3292 posts) -

My understanding is that a dishonorable discharge is worse than getting fired on your Resume. I hear it's viewed almost as badly as a criminal conviction.

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#29 Posted by thegerg (17823 posts) -

@bforrester420: Of course it is, but that's not the only way that people are involuntarily separated from the military.

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#30 Edited by bowchicka07 (1104 posts) -

I think it should matter the degree of their service as well. A computer programmer getting fired from the military after a year of work should get nothing more than a reference.

But someone who has served a few years, seen combat, maybe even done a tour, they are entitled to more. IMO

Maybe some assistance in finding a new job, clearance check maybe, medical coverage and some rental assistance for a place to live.

Of course everything comes into factor here such as reason for termination and level of involvement with the military as mentioned.

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#31 Edited by Barbariser (6785 posts) -

@airshocker said:

@Barbariser said:

Yep, military vets should probably be treated the same as civvies with similar skills and productivity levels from an economic standpoint. Vets in the U.S. as a whole even have lower unemployment rates than the general population, it's mainly vets from the last 12 years who are in deep shit.

Any idea as to why that is?

IIRC the main factor is that recent vets are much more likely to be disabled, and that vets without disabilities tend to have only slightly higher unemployment rates than the general population.