Combat veteran? Joni Ernst and the Everyone-Gets-A-Trophy mentality

Army combat badges.

Editorial – Confession of a REMF

If there’s one thing we conservatives love to point to as indicative of the over-inflated egos of America’s under-achieving youth, it’s the trophy mentality. Normally awarded by AYSO, the standard Most Improved at Staring at Clouds Instead of Paying Attention to the Game or Top Butt Scratcher or even the ever popular amongst bench warmers everywhere, trophies such as the Lungs Exchanged Oxygen for Carbon Dioxide are the usual offenders.

But now that same pathetic mentality is firmly entrenched in the United States Army. As evidenced by the brouhaha stirred up by the decidedly left-leaning Huffington Post, recently elected castratrix of everything swine, Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is taking heat for describing herself as a combat veteran.

While the Hawkeye Senator does have a proud record of service to her state and country as an officer in the Iowa National Guard, especially regarding her tour of duty in Iraq as the commander of the ING’s 1168th Transportation Company, her troops were a much needed link in the logistics chain that enabled the real gunslingers to kick in doors and kill bad guys.

But what I find as unbelievably insulting to the true warriors … Senator Ernst simply isn’t a combat veteran. Yet in all fairness to Joni, technically, legally, and as defined by the US Army, she is.

As posted by the HuffPo, “Lt. Col. Alayne Conway of the Army’s Press Office in Washington also released a statement in response to the Huffington Post publication defending Sen. Ernst. The statement echoes Sen. Ernst’s statement about the dishonor of service when a veteran’s status is questioned. ‘Senator Joni Ernst is a combat veteran. Period.'”

With all that aside, I’m a retired Master Sergeant of Marines. My war was that glorified Combined Arms Exercise popularly known at The Gulf War. Yes, I served in a combat zone. No, I never served in combat. I was attached to the 8th Engineer Support Battalion that happened to be roughly 10 miles from the border. By the way, in the Marine Corps mindset if one isn’t close enough to the enemy to sling a M67 frag at them, you’re officially a REMF (Rear Echelon … well, I’m sure you can figure out the rest).

OK, so I served my twenty and the only thing I ever shot was a dying camel that needed to be put out of its misery. Much like Senator Ernst, I went where I was ordered and did my duty. Unlike Joni, I won’t ever call myself a combat veteran simply because I’m not.

Combat vets are those 18 and 19-year old Marines who were led into room-to-room combat in Fallujah by 20 and 21-year old Corporals and Sergeants. Combat vets were those soldiers who went to-to-toe with the Waffen SS at Malmedy. Combat vets were those sailors who prayed to God that the last shot they squeezed off was the one that would kill the Kamikaze pilot in a bomb-laden plane bent on crashing into their ship.

Captain Joni was never fired upon nor anywhere near an exploding IED. For her to call herself a combat vet is nothing less than a slap in the face of anyone wearing the Combat Action Ribbon (Marines, Navy and Coast Guard) or any of the Army’s various combat badges.

The Army has three different badges awarded for those of various Military Occupational Specialties who have actually been knee-deep in the figurative fecal matter. Unfortunately for Joni, she’s never been awarded any of them.