Military Mayhem

Posted: February 22, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

“I’m inclined to think that a military background wouldn’t hurt anyone.”~William Faulkner
 
So I am going to speak out about this. Some will agree, some won’t.
 
Yesterday morning I noticed that the weather was a bit chilly, so I grabbed the first jacket that I could find. That jacket or at least that decision caught so much crap that it really annoyed me to death.
 
What I wore was a BDU jacket. Or in civilian terms, the dark green camoflauge jacket that we all can identify.
 
But this jungle or forest green BDU evidently caught the attention of some people, and they threw one of the worst hissy fits in the history of mankind.
 
They shouted at me that it was illegal for me to wear the jacket because I am not personally active duty or a military veteran. Needless to say that the pants that I wore had nothing to do with camoflauge. And I was wearing a common t-shirt and not the camoflauge shirt. Nor was I wearing any military style boots or shoes.
 
It was just the jacket. And they screamed and cried that what I was doing was totally illegal. So I researched it. This is the only thing that I was able to find:
 
“In accordance with chapter 45, section 771, title 10, United States
Code ( 10 USC 771 ), no person except a member of the U.S. Army may
wear the uniform, or a distinctive part of the uniform of the U.S.
Army unless otherwise authorized by law. Additionally, no person
except a member of the U.S. Army may wear a uniform, any part of which
is similar to a distinctive part of the U.S. Army uniform.”

Here is the applicable federal statute:

Sec. 771. – Unauthorized wearing prohibited

Except as otherwise provided by law, no person except a member of the
Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps, as the case may be, may wear –

(1)
the uniform, or a distinctive part of the uniform, of the Army, Navy,
Air Force, or Marine Corps;

or

(2)
a uniform any part of which is similar to a distinctive part of the
uniform of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps

 
So this tells me that perhaps that they might have been correct. However, I found another answer to the question that states as long as there are no insignia or marks or names of the military branch worn, then it is okay.
 
This law however, is not exactly enforced. The law makers do not necessarily jump at the opportunity to arrest people for wearing camo or military gear. They do not actively pursue the law because they do not wish to cause a situation where the support of the military would begin to decrease.
 
After all, a few years ago it was quite fashionable to wear camoflauge. From head to toe!! And nobody got arrested.
 
So then what is the big deal?
 
I looked back at my BDU jacket and I actually do have some insignia attached to the jacket. My last name and a few patches from different units and companies. Particularly from the Second Armored Division, which used to be called “Hell On Wheels”. Before was re-assigned to the National Guard and removed from the regular Army.
 
Now if you knew me, you’d get the joke. “Hell on Wheels” and I am a paraplegic in a wheelchair. That’s not harmful to the country, nor is it harmful to the military. It’s quite fun as a matter of fact.
 
I think though that there is one piece of insignia that actually has caught the attention of civilians and veterans alike. And that is the insignia pin for a colonel.
 
And I also have OTHER pins and other decorations that are on the jacket that do NOT come from the military at all. So the jacket is not exactly a replica of what is worn by active duty soldiers, at all! 
Army Colonel Insignia
 
I asked someone who is a veteran where it belonged on the jacket and he told me. And that’s where I had placed it. But since then, I have actually had someone call out to get my attention by saying, “Hey, Colonel?”. It actually kind of frightened me so immediately I turned around and explained that I was not a military veteran, and I wasn’t 100% sure that the pin was in the right place. The person actually noticed a POW/MIA patch on the left breast pocket and was wanting to know where I may have been taken prisoner. But once I explained that I was not actually a veteran, they apologized for the assumption and backed off.
 
I wear the BDU jacket with pride for this country and support for our military men & women on key dates throughout the year. Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day. But as I said, the jacket is the only thing that I wear that would confuse someone that I might be former military.
 
With the exception of a set of dogtags that I wear around my neck and NEVER remove.
 
But I will defend by saying this: A civilian obtaining dogtags is ohhhh so easy!! There are a lot of places that will make you a set of dogtags for a price. Mainly at tourist attractions that may or may not be militarily themed.
 
What makes them different though- is their refusal to make a person a copy that is indentical to the active military. These items include:
 
  • Last Name
  • First Name and Middle Initial (although some will place full name on the first line)
  • Social Security Number
  • Blood Type
  • Religion Affiliation
 
Places nowadays will refuse to add the Social Security Number and Blood Type. But they will be more than willing to put anything else in its place. So the dogtags that I wear around my neck are consistently INCORRECT.
 
What drives me nuts (as I come back to topic) is the fact that even when veterans find out that I am NOT actually a veteran or active duty and they see me wearing the BDU, they smile. Its the civilians that seem to have such the huge problem with it.
 
I’ve never intentionally told other people that I have been in the military. Even though several have made that mistake and assumption.
 
The worst story that I could tell you was a few years ago, it was windy day and the BDU jacket was again the first thing that I grabbed. I went to the grocery store with my ex-girlfriend and a man came up to me in the aisle and got my attention.
 
When I turned to him. He saluted me, then shook my hand and said, “Thanks for your service. Do you mind if I ask what happened?”.
 
Just at that point when I was about to tell him that I wasn’t a veteran my nutball of a girlfriend came up to him and literally gave him a line of total and complete bullshit.
 
“He was in the Army. Remember a few years ago when we were in Iraq and we killed Saddam’s sons in that seige? Well, he was in there and was injured during that assault.”
 
I WAS STUNNED!! HOW COULD SHE LIE LIKE THAT???
 
The man suddenly had tears building up in his eyes. He saluted me a few times more and thanked me ever so profusely for the sacrifice and service that I gave to this country. He hugged me and then backed off thinking that he might have invaded my personal space and then walked away with yet one more salute.
 
I ripped into my girlfriend, asking her why in the hell would she do such a thing and lie to the man?
 
Her response was more or less as deplorable as her answering that man’s question with falsehoods.
 
“My father was in Vietnam. And when he came home, nobody saluted him. Nobody gave him a parade. Nobody liked him. They hated him. So if YOU get the praise and honor then my father can have it vicariously. Even though you, yourself were not in the military.”
 
Well, to set the story straight. I would hear stories from her father at that time about his military career. He was in Vietnam for less than a year. He was not involved in any particular battle or conflict. In fact, he never saw any action and did not ever fire his weapon. But he was there. After that time when he was in the military and at the point where I had met him… well, let’s just say that her father was almost 10% of the reasons as to why I broke up with her in the first place.
 
It bothered me that she would lie like that and so willingly!!
 
So all in all, I do not think that it is illegal to wear my BDU jacket. It IS illegal to actually lie and present falsehoods to say that I was in the military. It is illegal for anyone in this country to lie about being a part of the military. But then again, if someone was actually caught doing it, I am not quite sure what the penalty has been or even if they actually brought charges on that person.
 
I recall many years ago that a man was arrested and imprisoned for impersonating being a firefighter. But that was so long ago.
 
This is not something that I am actually doing. I’m not out there in the world and telling people that I was injured in war, or that I was a part of the Army or anything like that. Because I knew that was illegal.
 
But it cannot be and is not illegal for me to wear a military style jacket. Otherwise the courts and jails would be full of people.
 
These civilians need to get off my back about it. I wear it because I am proud of those men & women who serve and those who have served and even those who gave their lives in the line of duty so that this country can be as free as it is.
 
Many members of my family have actually served. Grandfathers, uncles, cousins, and even my own younger brother! (Which is where I got all this stuff from in the first place!) I love my family and am proud of them. This is how I show support.
 
So to those who want to argue that what I am doing is wrong, back off and mind your own business.
 
 
 
 
 

 

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