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What is a "veteran?" One would think that would be an easy question to answer. In the millions of laws passed over two centuries by Congress, you would think that at least one of them would define the term "military veteran."

In actuality, there is no standardized legal definition of "military veteran" in the United States. You see, veteran benefits weren't created all at one time. They've been added one-by-one for over 200 years by Congress. Each time Congress passed a new law authorizing and creating a new veteran benefit, they included eligibility requirements for that particular benefit. Whether or not one is considered a "veteran" by the federal government depends entirely upon which veteran program or benefit one is applying for.
Comments
November 12, 2008 at 4:14 am
(1) Damian says:

I was told by my recruiter….I’m getting shipped out tommorrow, that a Veteran is someone who has been in the Military. Isn’t that what a veteran is?

November 17, 2008 at 1:11 pm
(2) Borremack says:

I shall try to quote this anonymous author verbatim, ” A veteran is someone who at some point has written a check to Uncle Sam that reads: PAYABLE IN FULL UP TO THE AMOUNT OF MY LIFE, IF NECESSARY TO DEFEND OUR WAY OF LIFE.
Very few people, anymore, understand waht those words mean. Even fewer people are willing to live up to them.” I wish that I could take credit for that but I can’t. The author (to whom I must apologize in advance if I have misquoted him, or her)remains anonymous to this day.

November 17, 2008 at 1:29 pm
(3) John says:

I asked for a veteran’s discount at a hotel that offered one last month and the clerk wanted ID. I told him that I served 4 years and was discharged not retired, there was no ID. He would not give it to me with out some form of ID. I left and went elsewhere but there was no availability and came back. I came back in to explain what a veteran means just to speak my mind and ready to pay the higher rate. I don’t know that I got thru to him or just wore him down but he gave it to me.

If you are going to offer something to a “Veteran” You should at least know what a “veteran” is.

November 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm
(4) phillip says:

I agree I served 4 years during Desert Storm,I didnt actually go to Iraq,But I was being trained to.When I got back to my unit we never got diployed.I was ready and would have went.I concider my self a vet.

November 18, 2008 at 8:53 pm
(5) Tags says:

A veteran is anybody that signs the line weather or not the have been to war or not.As long as you served your country you are considered a veteran.

May 7, 2009 at 12:04 am
(6) danny says:

i think that a veteran it someone thats has seen combat. there is to many military personal who dont so any form of combat. that shouldn’t give them the wright to call them self’s veteran.

June 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm
(7) Kim says:

You are kidding right? I served in East Berlin, Germany as an MP 100 miles into communist lines before the WALL came down and you don’t think I am a Veteran? I am proud to have served my COUNTRY! and I am a VETERAN! DANNY!!

October 24, 2011 at 5:36 pm
(8) ashley says:

thank you for serving kim

November 8, 2011 at 6:25 pm
(9) Carlos Tamayo says:

Thank you, Kim, for serving :) you are a hero.

October 24, 2011 at 5:34 pm
(10) ashley says:

wow just because they haven’t seen war dosent me they didn’t server our contry but thank you kim for serving

October 27, 2011 at 9:29 am
(11) Jake says:

Oh how wrong your thinking is. I served a proud 10 years in the Army during a time of the “Cold War” no I did not see combat, but we were always prepared just the same. And if I had seen combat than that would have meant that all was lost and more than likely you would not be here to make the coment about what a veteran is. You see I was nuclear weapons tech and I am sure you can figure the math there. So am I a veteran? You bet your ass I am!

November 10, 2011 at 7:16 pm
(12) Karen says:

Danny you obviously never stood up swearing to defend our country. I served my country for 8 years proudly and would defend her still today. I am a veteran of the greatest fighting force in the world. I’ve served during the first gulf war. Even though I didn’t go overseas doesn’t mean a thing, I still signed a blank check for my life for your freedom!

May 16, 2009 at 11:24 am
(13) Brian Kurtz says:

Danny,

Your comment shows that you lack a fundamental understanding of military units and how they operate.

I served in the Marine Corps from 2000-2004 as an 0311 Infantry Rifleman. By most standards Infantry Marines would be considered the “Tip of the Spear” in that they are thrust into combat first, before almost any other units.

They call it a the TIP of the spear for a reason though. Without the support of countless others that serve in “non-combat” roles, there would be absolutely no way for the Infantry Marine to even arrive at a combat zone, much less be victorious.

When a member of the military steps to the front lines there are as many as 300 support personnel standing with him…almost as if they were all contained in one person, because the serviceman in the combat zone would not be there without them.

It’s because of this quasi-spiritual truth that each and every member of the military is entitled to the honor of being considered a “Veteran”.

Those who go above and beyond and serve directly in a combat zone are given special recognition both in awards and benefits that are given only to those who have seen combat. Doubly so for those wounded in the line of service.

So some are given special recognition for their extra ordinary service, but all who serve deserve the title “Veteran”.

November 11, 2009 at 10:30 am
(14) Mike Christodoulou says:

Well said Brian Kurtz.

November 11, 2009 at 11:29 am
(15) Donna says:

I consider myself to be a veteran. I did not serve during war time, however I was ready, willing and able to do so. One month after I was honorably discharged my unit was deployed to Grenada, so this shows you that any moment a soldier can be called to action. I went through all the training, spent every day that I was in preparing for just such a time. So why shouldn’t I be considered a veteran?

November 19, 2009 at 12:47 pm
(16) Chris says:

What is a Veteran?
A veteran is defined by federal law, moral code and military service as “Any, Any, Any”… A military veteran is Any person who served for Any length of time in Any military service branch.

What is a War Veteran?
A war veteran is any GI (Government Issue) ordered to foreign soil or waters to participate in direct or support activity against an enemy. The operant condition: Any GI sent in harm’s way.

What is a Combat Veteran?
A combat veteran is any GI who experiences any level of hostility for any duration resulting from offensive, defensive or friendly fire military action involving a real or perceived enemy in any pre- or post-designated theater of combat (war) operations.

November 11, 2011 at 9:22 am
(17) Cayla says:

Not always true on the Veteran part… I am not eligible for any veteran benefits from V.A. I signed and swore in on Aug of 2010 I left for boot camp Aug 8th 2011 and I was sent home Aug 18th 2011 for a medical uncharacteristic discharge with an RE4 code that I could not come back and serve my country… I prepared myself for everything physical but I did not prepare myself mentally and I was diagnosed with PTSD and depression… I myself dont consider me a veteran either…

April 10, 2010 at 1:54 pm
(18) John says:

A veteran is someone who has served at least 180 days on active duty in the military. And, yes ther is an identification card that confirms that you are a veteran. After you are dischaged from the military you are required to go to your regional VA hospital to be screened by the compensation and pension board for disabilities incurred while on actived duty. At the hospital you are required to get an ID card that allows you access to the VA hospital.

November 4, 2011 at 3:06 pm
(19) Donna says:

Nope. ANY length of time. A soldier who gets hurt on day one of basic and released from duty is a veteran also. And to be a veteran yo udo NOT have to have an honorable discharge either.

April 21, 2010 at 9:32 pm
(20) Mike says:

I served from 1995 to 2002 in the Army. I was a instructor for an AIT unit and was injured on the M3A2 and had my foot crushed in a training exercise. Am I a Veteran ? Yes I am , Did I see combat ? No I didnt because I no longer had a foot. Now with that said I was more than ready to go fight and do my job , the Army sent me to an AIT unit for a instructor slot , I fell bad enough that I lost me foot and my job and the chance to delpoy with my brothers and sisters and defend the country that I love. I see it as a direct insult for the remark that you are not a Veteran unless you have seen combat. What about us that wanted to deploy but couldn’t ? It’s bad enough to lose a foot due to a privates mishap in a training exercise but to be told i’m not a Veteran is worse. you need to research and think before you type.

May 4, 2010 at 12:55 pm
(21) Steve says:

Every Veteran is given an Identifacation card upon leaving any service. Yourr DD214 is your ID card.
As far as being a “Veteran” every person regardless of combat status is a Veteran. The 3 Catagories Veteran, War Veteran and Combat Veteran are one way of describing the type of Veteran you are labelled. However, each and every member “That has, That is and That will” serve this country will be forever known to me as “Brother” or “Sister” Thank you for stepping forward and offering your “Life” and “Legacey” to Our Country.

Remember every Veterans Day. I light 3 candles and say Thank you
To Those That Have
To Those That Are
To Those That Will

love and peace

May 27, 2010 at 9:03 am
(22) Jason says:

John is right. 180 days of active service makes you a veteran. Also 6 years national guard or reserve, or serving in in a combat zone.

Source: I’ve served for 9 years so far with 11 years to go :)

October 3, 2010 at 6:09 pm
(23) angelica says:

I think anyone who has served honorably in any branch of service deserves the title. For those of us who have served or are doing so, as I am, I consider it an insult that anyone would say we are not veterans. It is not about the title, but about the fact that we put our lives on the line, ready and willing should that time come. You imply that means little when you say we are not veterans…question is…are YOU willing to go to the front lines and face bullets,grenades or mortar rounds for your country??If not, shut the hell up!

November 11, 2010 at 6:56 pm
(24) John says:

So, …. if I understand correctly…… if I was in the military and did latreen duty or some menial task state side my entire career … I am a VETERAN. Is that correct ???

December 10, 2010 at 9:20 am
(25) Julie says:

Just a small correction. If you are serving in a reserve capacity, after your first enlistment you are considered a veteran. For the person who made the comment that your DD FM 214 is your ID, please note that reservists do not get 214s at the end of their career. They will only get a 214 for a specific time frame that qualifies them for one, i.e. basic training/tech school, being on orders for 90+ days, or service in an operation. Some of us will only ever have a 214 from basic and tech school, but will serve our country until the day before we turn age 60, much longer than anyone on active duty! So yes, if you only clean the latrine or serve mess, if you do it honorably, you are a veteran! Thank you EVERYONE for your service.

Source: 17 years, Wing Career Advisor

March 23, 2011 at 10:22 am
(26) Will says:

Great question and excellent responses. Rod Powers is absolutely correct. On the one hand, ALL who have served in ANY branch of the Armed Services (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as the Reserve/Guard Branches) fits the PATRIOTIC definition of VETERAN. Every federally mandated Veteran program has it’s on restrictions and requirements which vary one from the other. The only area of contention occurs when one of these individuals request “Special Considerations” for services and/or tax payer government benefits. Each service or benefit comes with its OWN set of requirements and qualifications the VETERAN must possess. In most cases, the Department of Defense Form 214 (DD-214) may be used to determine if the Veteran is qualified to receive the services and benefits offered.

SOURCE: I’ve served in the Mississippi National Guard 1980-1981; Active Duty U.S. Army 1981-2005; U.S. Army Recruiting Command 1995-1998; U.S. Army Recruiting Station Commander 2000-2005; Veteran Employment Representative 2008-present.

March 23, 2011 at 10:25 am
(27) Will says:

Those who have recently completed basic and tech school (job training) after joining the Reserves or Guard will have a DD-214 issued for the “Active Duty for Training” portion of their enlistment. No discharge character of service (Dishonorable, General, Honorable) will be issued, and therefore; certain “Government” benefits will not be authorized. They are still Veterans, but do not qualify for ALL benefits afforded to all Veterans. Anyone Can SAY they are a Veteran. John, Nov 7, 2008–has a valid point. If an establishment wants to provide Veterans discounts, they’d better be specific when stating to which type of Veteran they are referring. They can either allow anyone who simply “states” they are a Veteran to receive the benefits, or simply require any military I.D. (VA medical card, spouse or dependent I.D. card, Reserve/ Guard military I.D. card, retired military I.D.), or a copy of their individual’s DD-214. The DD-214, member form 4, copy is one of the MOST IMPORTANT documents a service-member receives throughout his/her career. It is the proof that you joined the Armed Forces.

SOURCE: Mississippi National Guard 1980-1981; Active Duty U.S. Army 1981-2005; U.S. Army Recruiting Command 1995-1998; U.S. Army Recruiting Station Commander 2000-2005; Veteran Employment Representative 2008-present.

March 23, 2011 at 10:33 am
(28) Will says:

. Advise your Veteran family members and friends to safe-guard this document appropriately because, it is the easiest and most logical proof that an individual served in the Armed Forces. It will show whether the individual has received an “OTHER THAN DISHONARABLE DISCHARGE” (excluding Reserves and Guard). Combat duty, 180 days of active duty, and branch of service. These additional criteria may be applied to the more restrictive benefits, such as “Preferences for Federal, State, and Local government Employment”, Survivor Benefits, Post 9-11 GI Bill, and certain Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits.
P.S. If a Reserve or Guard member is “activated” on active duty, they are issued another DD-214 upon the completion of that active duty time. You can request another copy of your DD-214 by going to http://www.archives.gov/. Thank all of you for your service.
Remember, all who have served in the Armed Forces are Veterans, but not ALL Veteran services are available to ALL types of Veterans.

SOURCE: Mississippi National Guard 1980-1981; Active Duty U.S. Army 1981-2005; U.S. Army Recruiting Command 1995-1998; U.S. Army Recruiting Station Commander 2000-2005; Veteran Employment Representative 2008-present.

March 28, 2011 at 2:55 pm
(29) James says:

I have a friend that calls herself a veteran. She said she completed basic training but was discharged immediately after and never served a day in active military. She puts on applications and resumes that she served in the airforce, can she do that?

November 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm
(30) Donna says:

Yes. She is a veteran. She signed on the line to serve. She doesn’t even have to have an honorable discharge to be a Veteran.

Being a veteran means you were willing and able to give your life serving in the military. You signed up, you went in, and served at least a day. By the way, if she made it out of basic–good for her. Basic is the toughest part of what most soldiers experience, especially in peacetime!

A friend of mine was killed in Afghanistan last week after only being “in country” for a week.

March 29, 2011 at 8:24 am
(31) Brenda Johnston says:

I served in the US Air Force during the Cold War in Germany. I was a Medical Material Specialist assigned to Ramstein AB when the USAFE Headquarters was targeted by a terrorist, who set off a car bomb and walked away. We lost a few that day and I’ll never forget my building shaking and the phones ringing off the wall. I was 1 month and a few days shy of being considered a Veteran for time purposes, I received an Honorable Discharge. I can say that I’m a Veteran only due to what was considered a hardship for childbirth in the 80′s. I took part in chemical exercises wearing (chem gear) while being pregnant, they didn’t issue waivers in those days; I was told I would have to outgrow every man’s size of gear before one was issued. I wasn’t asking for a waiver, but I was concerned for my child, while taking part in these exercises. I had to inventory cold storage units, loose needles and atropine injection kits. Today some women get waivers for the simplest things. I sucked it up and separated the week before my daughter was born. I believe that I’m a Veteran, but it does make me feel bad to say “only by a technicality of hardship”. Try getting into the American Legion with that one and since the “Cold War” was not considered a “war” I would not qualify for the VFW.

August 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm
(32) Joe says:

I wonder: if you’re still in the service, are you technically a veteran, or is it only after you get out? What if you go in, get out, and come back in? Does the US gov’t consider you a vet in either case?

November 4, 2011 at 3:04 pm
(33) Donna says:

A Veteran is ANY one who served in ANY military service for ANY length of time, even a day. Period.

November 11, 2011 at 12:16 pm
(34) Kid Fresh says:

iThink All Yall Arn’t Veterans , I Was The BEst Solider i Served From 1992 To 2001 , iConsider My Self A Veteran , And If YOU’ Dont Like It , Kiss My Black A**

February 23, 2012 at 12:24 am
(35) Maritza says:

only 1%of America serves this Country and I am sooo happy to say that I am part of that :-) A veteran who has stept up to defend this nation. If only people knew what soldiers go through…

March 26, 2012 at 12:58 pm
(36) Veronica Klingsmith says:

I served as a Hospital Corpsman for three years, until I was discharged for having IIIBS Lymphoma. The way I see it, I was ready to do whatever my country needed me to do. If we all went to combat, how would anything else get done on the non-combative side of things? I helped fix Marines and Soldiers up in the General Surgery department I was stationed at, and without the help of us doing that…[you get the point.]

There are a lot of other things the military is known and entitled to serve and accomplish other than fighting in wars. I really do respective those who have been and are boots on the ground…they are a special kind of veteran, and all who have served, are still considered veterans too. It takes a cook to feed the hungry, but a crew to prepare the food, clean the dishes, and serve it.

April 20, 2012 at 2:41 pm
(37) Vince says:

Most State Laws require at least 90 days contiuous service to receive any state benefits, like unemployment. The VA requires at least 180 consecutive days to qualify for benefits, like Home loan guarantees. Most are contingent of have a General, or Honerable discharge.
So the slacker that got kicked out after “EVEN ONE DAY” of “Service” is NOT A VETERAN.

April 26, 2012 at 3:52 pm
(38) Jim says:

I served in the US Navy from 1963 until 1973 with active duty between these times. I then served in the US Army for 5 years. I have been denied every time for any veterans benefits. I only wanted a Veteran ID card so I can get some kind of discount at Home improvement places, restaurants, etc. I am not asking for VA benefits at a hospital. Again I have been denied every time by the VA for an ID Card.

May 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm
(39) allen says:

A veteran is anyone who has served in the military for any length of time whetehr it be in peace time or conflict. PERIOD!

If you served, you are a VETERAN!!

DAMN!@!

June 21, 2012 at 6:30 pm
(40) Simone says:

You are all wrong. A veteran is anyone who has served on active duty for at least 18 months. That person has veteran status, but is not qualified to receive veteran’s benefits. To receive veteran’s benefits, you must have served at least 24 months of active duty. Another qualification is being on active duty during a war or time of conflict.

I can’t believe that some of you veteran’s do not know this.

August 17, 2012 at 10:32 pm
(41) mike says:

A veteran is anyone who served honorably in one of the 5 branches of service. you do not have to serve in a war or serve overseas you simply have to serve in one of the 5 branches of service under honorable conditions.

I write disability claims for veterans, some served in a war others did not it doesn’t matter where you served or what you did in the military you are a veteran. Be proud of who you are and that you were entitled to serve in one of America’s services and nothing is more important right now to pay attention to what the Obama administration wants to do, he wants to take away benefits and is laying off employees of the VA. Don’t let that happen, vote him out of office this November.

August 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm
(42) Kevin Ransom says:

I feel the definition of a veteran is, fullfilling ones enlistment obligation. If you signed up for 2 or 4 years of service and received an Honorable or other than Honorable Discharge, you are a “Veteran”.

Veterna status should not be based on whether you served in combat or not. There were alot of soldiers who served in Vietnam with no combat experience. Are they not considererd Veterans?

Think of it as, a person who goes to college for 4 years and earns a degree and graduates. Don’t we consider them a college graduate?
Their obligation was fulfilled.

As long as time was served and a persons service obligation has been fulfilled, they should be considered a Veteran. No if ands or buts.

Thanks

August 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm
(43) Kevin Ransom says:

I would like to also add that I spent 5 1/2 years in the Navy and 2 years inactive reserve. I stil have my old reservist card although expired. Alot of veterans are not entitled to full benefits. Evem though my reservist card is expired, I still take advantage of certain benefits like discounts on movie passes, theme parks etc. The card is proof that you did serve even if its no longer vailid.

September 24, 2012 at 3:19 pm
(44) Troy says:

Simone, you are right on with your comments…Thanks you for knowing what you are talking about.

I’ve been in for 25 years and I think if you served 1 day and were administratively discharged you are not a vet…if you were kicked out for doing drugs, you shouldn’t be considered a vet, if you are dicharged for any disciplinary reason, they you should not be considered a vet!! Another good way to look at this is to see if you are entitled to VA benefits…housing loan, medical…etc. Everyone is going to have their 2 cents on this, so it is what it is. But I will say I hate hearing all these people in here talk about the sacrifices they have made and what they deserve! I would have to say, 70% of the new recruits coming in are only in because they can’t get a job in the civilian sector or can’t make it on the outside. Everyday I see dirtbags in the military who don’t deserve to serve or collect a paycheck, but they do because it’s an easy life. Sure, we all deploy to dangerous locations, but that doesn’t entitle them or me to anything special…we’re volunteers and if you don’t like it…get out! The military has turned into a glorified welfare program…and yes I know that, I sit in a position to see this everyday and have seen it for the past 25 years. I have a HYT of 30 years, but I’m retiring as soon as my ADSC is up…it’s turning into a joke! If you don’t believe me, ask anyone that has been in for over 20, they will tell you the same thing. They can actually reduce military manning by 50% and it would still run…and probably more efficient for you wouldn’t have people stumbling over each other. Sorry if I offended those true vets, but it’s my opinion from what I know and have seen.

V/r,

November 9, 2012 at 11:49 pm
(45) Marie says:

I am a Veteran. I came in to the Women Army Corps and came out as a SGT in the United States Army. My basic training consisted of women taking the same training the men did to see if we could physically do it. Shortly after that women were no longer WACs , we were troops in the United States Army. I served 3 years 4 months, 26 days and 8 1/2 hours, I am also a Vietnam “ERA” veteran. I have been spit on while on pass dressed in full greens by a woman expressing her freedom of speech. I am a veterans wife, my husband served 20 years and was at ground zero during Desert Storm. He now wears a prosthesis. I am a veteran’s daughter. My dad served during the Korean War. He died with shrapnel still embedded in his back in 1999. I am a veteran’s mother. My son served directly after 911 and just missed joining his unit deployment to Iraq. The list can go on but WE ARE ALL VETERANS!

November 11, 2012 at 2:25 pm
(46) Rob Humphrey says:

A person who has spent a “long time” (no specific amount of time specified) to work towards a particular activity or in a specific capacity, is considered a veteran.
A “military veteran” is one who has served his/her country in the armed services ( again there is no specific amount of time specified by definition).
However, there are specific requirements that must be met by the veterans administration to be considered for specific benefits by the veterans administration and certain other organizations.
Even though one may not meet the requirements for those specific benefits ( for the VA benefits, etc.), one can still be a “military veteran” without military benefits.
Hope this helps. Rob.

November 11, 2012 at 8:50 pm
(47) bg says:

Army Reservist 89-91. Chairborne Ranger. Shattered knee in training. Getting worse all the time. Honorably discharged. Disability rating qualifies me as a veteran. Hard to argue with the VA.

November 12, 2012 at 5:20 am
(48) bubba joe says:

i watched g.i. joe cartoons as a kid and had quite an extensive collection of g.i. joe action figures which i played with for at least 4-5years… i had various combat conflicts between Destro, Cobra and their soldiers and G. I. Joe’s army in which i always had a hand in making sure that G. I. Joe’s soldiers always won every battle. i believe this qualifies me as “a veteran” as well.

November 13, 2012 at 9:28 am
(49) Michael says:

I agree with everyone who says that serving any amount of time in any branch earns them the right to be called a veteran. My question is this: Is it correct to refer to someone who is currently serving in their first assignment as a veteran?

November 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm
(50) jeff says:

Go ask the VA when you are considered a veteran. If you serve less than a year and get “medically” discharged are you a veteran? I don’t think so how about you guys?

April 19, 2013 at 11:12 am
(51) bear says:

What Is A Veteran?

ALL VETERANS ARE THE SAME

What is a Veteran?

A veteran is defined by federal law, moral code and military service as “Any, Any, Any”… A military veteran is Any person who served for Any length of time in Any military service branch. [See #1 and #2, below]

What is a War Veteran?

A war veteran is any GI (Government Issue) ordered to foreign soil or waters to participate in direct or support activity against an enemy. The operant condition: Any GI sent in harm’s way.

What is a Combat Veteran?

A combat veteran is any GI who experiences any level of hostility for any duration resulting from offensive, defensive or friendly fire military action involving a real or perceived enemy in any foreign theater. [See #3, below]

NOTE:

1. Veteran’s benefits are based on Congressional regulations determined by Honorable Discharge or Under Honorable Conditions status.

2. Retirees (either 20+ years service or medical discharge status) are also Veterans. Retirees are usually eligible for supplementary federal benefits, privileges and access on military installations, but not necessarily all VA services (some services are maintained by the former military branch), as regulated by Congress.

3. Wartime medals define various levels of individual combat involvement, sacrifice and/or valor.

4. (Ret.) or (Retired) may be used by any veteran when stating or publishing his or her rank to indicate they are not on the active list.

Document Author: Phill Coleman, 18 June 1973

Contact Person for this website: Roger Simpson,
Public Information Officer: 13105320634.com
The American War Library: http://www.amervets.com
16907 Brighton Avenue
Gardena CA 90247-5420
Fone/Fax: 1-310-532-0634

May 28, 2013 at 11:30 am
(52) RADO says:

Bubba Joe, you are a disgrace. How dare you demean all of the people that have served, in any capacity, and people that have given their lives so that you can live in a free country.

Reading that comment actually made me feel my blood pressure go up.

June 24, 2013 at 5:30 pm
(53) cut ridge says:

For those of you that have left the military but did not stay 20 years and are seeking a military discount, go the the nearest VA hosiptal with your DD-214 and they will issue you an ID card. This is what the stores are asking for when they mention an ID card.

To answer the main question Who is a Veteran? Anyone who has served on active duty for 180 days CONTINUOUSLY is a military veteran.

June 26, 2013 at 11:55 am
(54) Todd says:

For those who believe you should have to take part in combat to claim veteran status.

I served in combat during my 17 years of honorable military service. Fortunately that period was very brief. It would be ridiculous to say that the other 16.99 years of service didn’t count. Those years were spent training and preparing to do very difficult things for very little compensation. Like most young folks in the military I was driven by a sense of patriotism and public service. I love my country and wanted to contribute to its continued success.

The fact that I served briefly in combat NO WAY defines my service. It wasn’t even that tough. The things I had to risk, the effort I had to make to qualify, the sacrifices I had to make to participate are what makes me a Veteran

June 26, 2013 at 12:23 pm
(55) To Cut Ridge says:

You are absolutely wrong. You can’t just go into the VA and ask for an ID card based on your honorable discharge status regardless of how long you served. There are a lot of misinformed folks on this subject.

The VA only issues ID cards to those who have military connected service injuries or illnesses and will use VA medical benefits. That excludes a large section of veterans who have served honorably and in some cases under combat situations.

It is possible (as in my case, 17 years of honorable service) that a soldier can leave the military and have NO card type of identification to validate veteran status. I didn’t send my medical records to the VA for review during discharge because I didn’t want to use the benefits (even though I’m positive I could have gotten a % of disability). I know it sounds crazy but I was in pretty good shape and didn’t want to burden Uncle Sam any more. He took good care of me for 17 years and taught me the most important thing of all, how to take care of myself.

Most states are addressing this particular issue and offering some sort of validation of a veterans status to be affixed to state ID’s and DL’s. My state, Wyoming, is starting this next month and I’ll be one of the first in line for it. If your state doesn’t offer it you should contact your state house representative and suggest it. Its an easy piece of bipartisan legislation to get done.

Sincerely,

Todd Romain
former CW2, US Army

October 29, 2013 at 1:21 pm
(56) Robert Danner says:

According to U.S. Code, Title 38, Part 1, Chapter 1, Paragraph 101 (2) “The term “veteran” means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.”

This is quoted right from the law, so it must be official, right?

October 29, 2013 at 8:47 pm
(57) Robert Danner says:

According to Article 38 of the U. S. Code, it defines a veteran as “a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.”

RFD
US Army, Retired

October 30, 2013 at 12:04 am
(58) Exidor says:

If you go up to the beginning of the referenced paragraph in Title 38 [http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/38/101], you will see the caveat, “For the purposes of this title—”

And that definition doesn’t remain consistent throughout US Code – for example:

5 USC § 2108 – Veteran; disabled veteran; preference eligible [http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/5/2108]

Note the difference in eligibility?

How about Title 20, for another example…

20 USC § 1070h – Scholarships for veteran’s dependents
[http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/20/1070h]

(a) Definition of eligible veteran’s dependent

The term “eligible veteran’s dependent” means a dependent or an independent student—

(1) whose parent or guardian was a member of the Armed Forces of the United States and died as a result of performing military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001; and

Another eligibility difference. As stated in the article, there is no standardized legal definition of “military veteran” in the United States. Not at the Federal level, and certainly not at the States level. Check out the article “Definition of a Veteran in Connecticut, Maine and Other States” [http://www.cga.ct.gov/2010/rpt/2010-R-0040.htm] (not all-inclusive) to see how varied the definition can be from state to state (at the time of publication) – some specify the service has to have been honorable, others under other than dishonorable condition – and Maine, like the US Code, has various definitions.

November 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm
(59) EA says:

Does this make me a veteran? I was deployed once, but didn’t make it out of the country due to an injury. I was in the reserves for 6/ 2(Inactive) years and was honorably discharged after the full 8. I was an honor grad in my schools, maxed out all my PT tests, and was soldier of the year in my Battalion one year. I left after my years as a E6 Staff Sergeant. I did not ever get deployed but went to Guatemala, and El Salvador to build schools for 2-3 weeks at a time. Our unit also did state side work to rehab inner city homes.

November 11, 2013 at 4:56 pm
(60) Tackleberry says:

I went to Navy Basic in 1984 – Was Honorably Discharged with an RE-1 re-enlistment code.
One week before graduation, I was reassigned to an out going company for two weeks.
Basically it was breach of contract on the Navy’s part – “Commitments Offered Not Honored”
Only served 9 weeks active and 4 years inactive reserve total, but because of a Navy mess up.
I by no means expect veterans benefits of any kind.

But,

I signed on the line and took an oath to solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. My Oath has no expiration date!!!
I consider myself a Veteran.

December 14, 2013 at 6:08 pm
(61) Donald Brewer says:

The statutory definition of “veteran” requires that the individual be discharged or released from military service “under conditions other than dishonorable. There are currently five types of
discharges issued by the military services: (1) honorable discharge (HD), (2) discharge under honorable conditions (UHC) or general discharge (GD) (3) discharge under other than honorable conditions (UOTHC) or undesirable discharge (UD), (4) bad conduct discharge (BCD), and (5) dishonorable discharge (DD)

February 10, 2014 at 4:01 am
(62) Scott says:

are you considered a veteran if you are medically discharged during basic training?

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