Happy Veterans Day! From the grunts to the wing wipers, boomers and gas passers, brown shoes and black shoes; wearers of desert boots, jungle boots, LPCs, boondockers, jump boots, flight boots or deck boots; MOPPs, brain buckets, ACHs, MICHs, SPHs, HGUs, berets, boonie hats, pith helmets, leather helmets, dixie cups, 50-mission crush hats, M1 steel pots, flak helmets, or Kevlar PASGTs; scrambled eggs or plain visors on your combination cap; campaign hats or pisscutters; red, purple, yellow, brown, green, blue, or white flight deck jerseys with cranials and goggles (always on of course)- thank you.
Whether you turned out in OD green, BDUs, ACUs, fatigues, dress blues, pinks, Class As, or whites; tiger-stripe, chocolate chip, woodland, coffee stain, MARPAT, or NWU camo; khakis or cracker jacks; heated suits, space suits, flak suits, poopie suits, or blue suits; khaki, dayglow orange, sage green, or desert tan cotton or Nomex zoombags and speed jeans; were a grunt at the front, tip of the spear, or in the rear with the gear; ground pounders, lifers, or newbies; built, fused, or uploaded JDAMs, MOABs, ASRAAMs, Paveways, GPs, Snakeyes, Rockeyes, Walleyes, SRAMs, or Zunis; with facepaint or flash cream- thank you.
Whether you were gomers or stick shakers, paddle wavers, nose gunners, tail gunners, belly gunners, ball turret gunners, waist gunners, tube slugs, or tanker toads; served in squadrons designated ATU, BTG, BTU, CQTU, GMGRU, H&MS, HC, HM, HMA, HML, HMLA, HMLAT, HMH, HMHT, HMM, HMMT, HMR, HMR(L), HMR(M), HMT, HMX, HS, HSC, HSL, HSM, HT, HTU, HX, IBTU, JYU, MALS, MTACS, RVAH, RVAW, VA, VA(AW), VA(HM), VAH, VAQ, VAW, VC, VCN, VCP, VF, VF(AW), VFA, VFC, VFP, VJ , VMA, VMAQ, VMAQT, VMAT, VMAT(AW), VMB, VMC, VMCJ , VMF, VMFA, VMFA(AW), VMF(AW), VMFAT, VMF(N), VMFP, VMGR, VMIT, VMJ, VMM, VMMT, VMO, VMP, VMR, VMS, VMSB, VMT, VMTB, VMU, VMX, VMU, VP, VP-AM, VP-HL, VP-M, VP-MAU, VP-MS, VPP, VPU, VQ, VR, VRC, VRU, VS, VSF, VSX, VT, VU, VUP, VW, VX, VXE, VXN, ZMQ , FAETU, AETU, MARS, HEDRON, FAWTU, AIRBARSRON, HATU, GMSRON, MALS, AIRFMF, FASRON, or SWU (whew!)- thank you.
Whether you’re a proud member of the Betio Bastards, Old Ironsides, Hell on Wheels, Red Bull, Gunslingers, Diamondbacks, Mad Foxes, Spearhead, Americal, Railsplitters, Dirty Dozen, Blue Foxes, Debden Eagles, Zemke’s Wolfpack, Bloody 100th, Soaring Stallions, Green Bats, Ghostriders, Buzzards, Blue Diamonds, Black Sheep, Stingers, Tacos, Green Mountain Boys, Red Tails, Spikes, Black Cats, Vampires, Bomber Barons, Red Devils, Beeliners, Pegasus, Flying Tigers, Ugly Angels, Death Jesters, Black Knights, Warlords, Zappers, Garudas, Wallbangers, Jolly Rogers, Red Rippers, Swordsmen, Black Aces, Kestrels, Pukin’ Dogs, Arabs, Sundowners, Skinny Dragons, Thunderchickens, Totems, World Watchers, Conquistadors, Providers, Warbucks, Sabrehawks, Sea Dragons, Fleet Angels, Dragon Slayers, Grandmasters, or thousands of others- thank you.
To the graduates of Canoe U or the Blue Zoo, Quantico, USMA, or USCGA; AOCS, NACCS, or ENJJPT; who went to boot camp, a recruit depot, or basic training; COs, XOs, JOs, CAGs, butter bars, full bulls, NFOs, GIBs, RIOs, FNGs, PCs, or OODs; wing kings, PJs, dot chasers, BB stackers, EWOs, DSOs, crowd pleasers, or one stripers; served in TFWs, TRSs, ARWs, AACSs, ACCSs, TEGs, ARSs, FTWs, RQWs, SRWs, SBWs, SOSs, TAC, SAC, MAC, ACC, AMC, ARRS; were PPCs, FAWs, TACCOs, SENSOs, or R2D2s; were bus drivers, flat hatters, trash haulers, crew chiefs, loadmasters, ravens, snipes, bubbleheads, rotorheads, squids, spooks, sparks, swabbies, Coasties, pingers, ordies, checkers, shooters, tweakers, or nukes (glowing just a little in the dark)- thank you.
Whether you ate C rations, K rations, MREs (three lies for the price of one), gray veggies, green eggs, sliders, rollers, SOS, or mystery meat in a chow hall, mess deck, or from a roach coach/gut truck; drank lifer’s juice, bug juice, or “potable” water; climbed mountains, stairs or ladders; slept in a bunk under a ceiling, in a rack stacked four high under a low pipe-festooned overhead in a berthing compartment, under the stars out in the open, or well below zero in a bag; closed doors, hatches, or panels; stormed beaches, assaulted atolls, fought in trenches, slogged the paddies, called in artillery, flew CAS, prayed for CAS, flew CSAR, guarded arsenals, swabbed decks or floors, deployed almost anywhere on earth from the bottom of the deepest ocean to the edge of space and beyond, came home, and deployed again far too soon- thank you.
To all of you active duty, reserve, guard, and retired jarheads, dogfaces, tunnel rats, desert rats, G.I.s or leathernecks wearing MOLLE or ALICE; chest plates or shemaghs; working in sick bays or field hospitals; sweating the gas or passing it; 11Bs, 13Ts, 14Zs, 15Rs, 19Ks or 25Ls; 0211s, 0331s, 0317s, 0481s, 0521s, 0681s, 0844s, 0911s, 4212s, 8026s, or 7556s; ABs, AEs, ATs, BMs, CTs, EODs, GMs, NSs or PRs; ‘gators, wizzos, airdales, cones, jocks, scope dopes or shellbacks; CHENGs, COBs, CWOs PFCs, SWCCs with the SBTs, or just haze-gray-and-underway sailors crewing AKs, AEs, DDs, DEs, DDGs, AGERs, BBs, CAs, CGNs, FFGs, FFs, AOEs, LHDs, LSDs, LCSs, MSOs, SSs, CVEs, CVLs, CVAs, CVNs, PCs, SSNs SSBNs, SSGNs, AGOSs, ATFs, LCACs, APDs, PBRs, RCBs, SOC-Rs, or CCBs- thank you.
Whether you carried an M-1, M-14, M-16, M-4, MP-5, M249, M-60, or M107; rode to war in an LCVP, MUTT, HMMWV, Willys Jeep, AMTRACK, 6X6, M117, or DUKW; crewed a Grant, Sherman, Chafee, Stuart, Pershing, Patton, Sheridan, or Abrams; took to the skies in a Camel, Jenny, Peashooter, SPAD, Jug, Queen, Hosenose, Barge, Forked-Tail Devil, Whale, Scooter, Drumstick, Warthog, Big Mac, Able Dog, Banjo, Stoof With a Roof, Big Stick, Vark, Drut, Rhino, Hog, Turkey, Deuce, Six Shooter, Snoopy, Snake, Angel, FRED, Ford, Crowd Killer, Guppy, White Rocket, Loach, Queen, Gooney, Bone, Hummer, Hoover, Strato-pig, Bug, Catfish, Loach, Hook, Jolly Green, Habu, Mohawk, Porker, Lead Sled, Cranberry, Edsel, Frog, Phrog, Slick, Snake, Hog, Bug, Turkey, Scrapper, Ghost, Herk, Hun, Smurf, Tweet, Bronco, Angel, Superfort, Dumbo, Old Shakey, BUFF, SLUF, Zipper, or a Pig- thank you.
Whether your battle was Kasserine Pass, Gela, Centuripe, Anzio, Monte Cassino, Overlord, Cobra, Arnhem, Bastogne, Remagen, Bataan, Coral Sea, Midway, Guadalcanal, Tassafaronga, Buna, Bougainville, Kolombangara, Tarawa, Eniwetok, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Matterhorn, Bloody Ridge, Chosin Reservoir, Pork Chop Hill, Inchon, Old Baldy, the Pusan Perimeter, Hamburger Hill, Ia Drang, Khe Sanh, Dong Ha, Arc Light, Linebacker, Dak To, Flaming Dart, Market Time, Tet, Bolo, DeSoto, Iron Hand, Kham Duc, Steel Tiger, Cambodia, Laos, Nickel Grass, Frequent Wind, Lebanon, the Dominican, Gulf of Sidra, Grenada, Just Cause, Earnest Will, Praying Mantis, Eagle Claw, El Dorado Canyon, Khafji, 73 Easting, Mogadishu, Rhino, Kabul, Tora Bora, Al Faw, Kandahar, Karbala, Basra, Deny Flight, Desert Strike, Desert Fox, New Dawn, Allied Force, Fallujah, Mountain Thrust, Medusa, Kamdesh, any of thousands of other clashes, or any period of the Cold War- thank you.
Man or woman, dead of night to death by noon; if you were Delta, Ranger, SEAL, Force Recon, Night Stalker, DEVGRU or AFSOW; snake eaters, frogs, operators, weekend warriors, brown hats, crunchies, MPs, SPs, or hurricane hunters; docs, jaw breakers, techies, nurses, weather guessers, medics, tops, gunnies or chiefs; whether your slogan was IYAOYAS or YARFO or FM- from someone who was one once upon a time to all the rest- past present and future: Thank you and your families for your sacrifice, service, and devotion to these United States of America.