Saturday, September 01, 2012

...and a Wing Commander in the Royal Manticoran Space Marines.

These guys would be a lot harder to spot if they didn't always slather on the awards like Latin American train conductors. That guy's got a rack of fruit salad that makes Omar Bradley look like a Marine Corps PFC. Seriously, I've seen less impressive displays spread across the chests of entire Chilean juntas.

Maybe if he was trying to pass himself off as Air Force; I hear they're pretty free with the ribbons... I kid! I kid!

The Special Forces Ranger Flight Medic is a new twist, though. Usually they're Navy SEAL Delta Scout Snipers. (Believe me, working in gun stores, you get to know the breed pretty well.)

(H/T to Life in 3D.)


ExurbanKevin said...

Before there were mall ninjas, there were the AFA (Ansel F*cking Adams) wannabes.

When I worked in a semi-pro camera store (Photomark, for anyone who cares), I was *amazed* at how many Playboy Photographers/Pulitzer Prize Winners lived in the quiet suburban neighborhood around the store.

My favorite is still the guy who'd come in every Saturday in a carefully rumpled photog's vest, drop of A roll of film for development, then talk about flash sync speeds and TTL metering schemes for an hour, go out to his car, put the vest in the trunk, and drive away.

It was his way of acting like a shooter. Never mind that *a* roll of 36 is about 1/20th the amount of film a photog will shot on a single assignment, much less in a week.

I guess he figured that if he dressed the way that photogs dressed (or the way he thought they did) and hung out in a camera store talking photography, he'd become a photographer through osmosis.

Photomark's closed now, but I like to think this guy still drives there on a Saturday, stops in the parking lot and gazes wistfully up at the big "Nikon" sign, and thinks about the time he *almost* was a pro shooter.

Zendo Deb said...

Great reference to the Manticore Royal Marines. I may have to see if Weber has written any more of these stories. The last few I read were just filled with politics. And other nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Being a captive audience behind the counter, it's an economic and mental imperative to develop a quick and quiet strategy to end these harangues. Listen just long enough to know it's BS and that there's no sale to be made, then after a "wow, that's amazing!" ask for a few key specifics that you know the answer to and the poser doesn't. You'd be amazed at how quick they realize they have somewhere else they have to be.

Arguably worse and a lot harder to detect are the scruffy bums and alkies who sport a ratty Nam Vet t-shirt and blame their wasted lives and desperate situation on that "experience"...which is hard to nail down because they "can't talk about it". Some of it is for real but a lot of these guys get a lot of sympathy and handouts on the backs of those who really suffered through that abomination but who put it behind them and lived productive lives.

Now this past decade is reintroducing an awful lot of damaged human goods into society, and you can bet that we'll have a whole new generation of pathetic posers too.

Give me the "operators" any day; at least there's some fun to be had with them.


Ed Foster said...

Anonymous, you hit the nail on the head.

Back in college (University of Hartford, a brutally liberal school) in the '70's, there was a campus veteran's center, where poor, brutalized former "green slaves" could weep out their wounded psyches on friendly shoulders.

I had two tours in Vietnam. O.K., one and a half, the extra six month extension shouldn't really count. No great macho sea stories, I was mostly a REMF, a 2111 who wandered around filling holes in various places.

Another guy I knew in school had spent his hitch in Germany, jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, often in the dark, at under 1200 feet, with his leg snubbed off to a garbage can sized tactical nuke.

Most of the people we knew in school had no idea we had ever been in the military. It just wasn't worth the grief.

One "traumatised" vet I knew, who spent lots of time at the vet counselling center, was a draftee who spent his time driving trucks at Fort Sill. But the sea stories got him more ass than a toilet seat.

I've seen several studies that show the "crack-up" rate of vets is a tad less than half that of men who have never served. Does that mean military service builds character?

Perhaps, or maybe the exams we all had to go through screened out a lot of loosely wound people. Most likely a mixture of both.

But some people did have a bad time, and they should be taken care of. I suspect they are outnumbered by the users taking society for a ride.

I went to visit an old aquaintance who was in a VA hospital in West Haven CT. The place smelled of urine and lack of basic maintainence, and was peopled mostly by winos who were there for minor medical care plus three free hots and a cot.

They weren't there for service connected health problems, they were there to dry out, or get a broken foot taken care of, or almost anything the rest of us would go to the ER for.

The guy in the next bed, with the broken foot, had been a Coast Guard cook in peacetime. He'd broken the foot falling off his porch.

There was a guy about my age in suspiciously new looking utilities with a 504th PIR patch, begging at the entrance to I-84 in West Hartford. His sign said Vietnam Vet willing to work for food.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the 504th miss that little fracas?

A few days later he was arrested for attacking a woman who gave him some canned food instead of money.

A buddy of mine is an honest to God reservist SEAL, with a tin knee (compliments of an RPG in Fallujah), a tour in Afganistan, and four in Iraq.

You wouldn't know it unless you were really close to him, and even then it's mentioned only occasionally, when a reminiscence is pertinant to the conversation.

He's not quiet and shy like me. I suspect that any "Market Street Commandoes" who started peddling a line of B.S. around him might be asked outside into the alley.

It's not just the phoneies masquerading as vets, it's the untraumatized vets faking their great existential angst in a society that will accept their loser behavior because they've been trained to believe military service warps normal people into sociopaths.

When I was a teenager, there was a man in Durham CT who had the unfortunate habit of pointing a double barreled 12 gauge at folks he didn't like. I was told it was because of what happened to him in Italy with the Mule Cavalry in'44, but older people who had known him all his life told me he'd been a nutjob since childhood.

He ended up firing the shotgun at my cousin's dog, missing the dog by a foot, and my then toddler cousin Dave by maybe three. Dave's father chased the loonie into the woods a quarter mile away, waving his pitchfork and screaming like a madman.

Sometimes a person with a real weakness slips through and is badly damaged. Mostly I think it's just assholes who were assholes even before they were damaged.

Robert Fowler said...

In the 35 years since my discharge I have never felt the need to enhance what I did in the service. Most of my time was spent as a truck driver. I got the NDSM and earned a rifle expert badge. I also got a medical discharge due to a truck accident.

When Saigon fell in 75 I got temporary duty working with the refugees we brought over here. Nothing special.

When I hear about asshats like this I want to punch the, in the face. 63 days and Court Martialed out with a dishonorable. What a turd.

On the lighter side, we remember the legend of Gecko45.

John B said...

I didn't know our down-the-street neighbor fought at the Chosin Resevoir. I know, bad spelling! I was 30 before I found out.

I always wanted to be like him. A saint of a man! Only lost his temper once. Yes, at me!

Anonymous said...

"...a society that will accept their loser behavior because they've been trained to believe military service warps normal people into sociopaths."

Excellent observation, Ed...and one that is busily being pounded into the psyches of the sheeple and the warriors themselves...the more dependence and dependents they can foster, the more sweet job security for the ones selling this crap.

I hope that psych eval you mention is working because how many vets has the post 9/11 decade produced? Even a small percentile of pre-destined susceptibles will drain the pockets and the patience of our kids and our kid's kids for decades to come.

One more reason I'm not perturbed at all that my recent b-day takes me on step closer to shufflin' on off this tragicomic stage.


Old NFO said...

But according to the Courts it's all 'legal' as free speech... sigh...

Critter said...

a Weber fan, eh? i knew i liked you for some reason. :)

(my favorite term is "Swiss Admiral")

RabidAlien said...

Yeah, I think the Royal Manti's would quietly escort him (with all due respect) out behind the nearest SpaceMarine bar, and proceed to show him all the respect he was due. I would also imagine a certain Naval chief, possibly in the bar just to fight Space Marines (since they're the only ones worth the tussle) would join in. Happily.

ExurbankKevin, know what you mean. Used to be, a person carrying an SLR was considered to be at least accomplished-amateur in the photography world. Now, my wife and I just finished shooting a co-worker's wedding this morning, and I lost track of the number of times we would set up a shot, and then have to "politely" tell friends/family with cellphones and DSLR's (with shiny, non-scuffed lenses and camera bodies) that we were being paid by the bride and groom, and they were welcome to get the h*ll out of our way. I have a photo vest somewhere, and wore it for a while, until I found that just wearing cargo shorts/pants provided all the pockets I needed, and were nowhere near as hot. LOL

greg said...

I didn't pick up the Weber reference...I thought she was trying to scare some innocent Kilrathi...

Guffaw in AZ said...

@ExurbanKevin -
I used to live a couple blocks away from a PhotoMark! (1981-1994)
Only went there a couple times - they didn't stock much for my Contax (name dropper).
But, I didn't have the vest, then.
NOW, I have it, but it's a 'shoot-me-now' vest!

Stan said...

Claiming to be an OPERATOR is legal, calling yourself an OPERATOR in order to get things from people you normally wouldn't is fraud and illegal.

Honestly that's the way I prefer it too.

Anonymous said...

Another way to tell the real thing is -- sadly -- evidence of horrific injuries due to explosions or flying pieces of metal. I live in a military town and occasionally see young, fit men with prosthetics or visible scars. The saddest for me are the young guys with burn scars.

The love for others shown by the sacrifices made by these young people makes the fakers and posers all the more sickening. I have little patience for the fake "operators."


Ed Foster said...

Amen to what Bob said.

Keith said...

I tell everyone I meet that I am a Tier 1 Operator. I just fail to mention that I operate a golf cart.

Anonymous said...


Please don't apologize for the AF comment. It was spot on (as per your usual M.O.)

phlegmfatale said...

It's really sad when someone does something so patently dishonest that it makes other people feel embarrassed about their stupidity and disrespectfulness. What a sad, small, insecure little person.

Anonymous said...

having a problem and needing help is not strictly either/or. There are a lot of guys for whom a little help early can eliminate the need for more help down the road.

There's also a big difference between needing help getting through a rough patch, and letting it last for 30 years....

Cheeze said...

Duuuude. You had me at "Manticoran." Currently on book #5 of the series.

Just sayin'.

Montieth said...

Have you looked at the latest books? They have more action. Then there's the safe hold series. And then there's John Ringo's books. Lots of action there.