Civilian Military Misconceptions


From the moment I enlisted in the military to present day, 5 years later, people have expressed interest in learning about just what exactly it is that our military does. Most of them time when I talk to people they’ll ask your run-of-the-mill questions; “did you miss home”, “do they yell at you at basic training”, “what’s Iraq like”. Sometimes however, they either ask questions that have me completely dumbfounded, or make outlandish statements, that also leave me dumbfounded. Here are a few that I usually hear:

Q: How realistic is Call of Duty?

A: It’s pretty much the same exact thing as real life, so much so that the military just sits you in front of an Xbox 360 for 8 hours a day in basic training now. Even the clandestine missions to assassinate a rogue sleeper cell after years in deep cover are standard assignments for even the newest infantry private. The most life-like part however is how you respawn to your team’s HQ after you die. (360 no-scopes happen all the time too).

Q: Was Iraq really that hot?

A: Well, it’s a fucking desert, so…….. That said, I will tell people of how cold it gets up north on the border during the winter months.

Q: My cousin (insert name here) is in the Army, do you know him?

A: No, sadly I don’t know 1.3 million members of our military. This question is usually followed by “I don’t know what unit he’s in”, or “I don’t know the state he’s in”.

Q: My friend told me a .50 Cal can kill you just by going past your head, can it?

A: Unfortunately, your trusted friend lied to you. It’s a pretty outlandish claim that a bullet can kill you from passing you, seeing at that kind of diminishes that whole “accuracy” thing. Plus, we shoot at silhouettes and paper with an M107half the time, and they don’t disintegrate from them.

“My friend just graduated high school, he went to the Army, he said he did so well in basic training that he got recruited by Delta Force and got a bronze star in Afghanistan but it’s top secret so he can’t talk about it. His 1SG keeps trying to promote him but his captain won’t let him; he saved someone’s life in Afghanistan from a burning truck after his Captain told him not to, and to retreat instead, and now his CO and him don’t like each other”

No shit, I actually met this kid one day at an airsoft place back home. I couldn’t bring myself to words, and walked away instead.

You’re so lucky you go here for free, I have so many student loans

Listen here, jackass, I’m not going to college for “free”, I earned the money I get. I don’t give a fuck how much in student loans you have, there’s veterans without legs and arms receiving their educations under the GI Bill, they sure as hell don’t think of this as a “free” education.

Q: How do you live with all those guys in one big room?

A: For the most part, I just find this amusing. Civilians are so used to seeing Vietnam-era movies with traditional barracks that they have no idea most of us live in barracks housing with our own rooms, or off post all together.

I was going to join, but I’m too smart for the military.

Ha. Hahaha. Hahahahahahaahahahaha. One of the smartest guys I’ve ever met I served with as a sniper. In fact, some of the smartest men I’ve ever met in general were in the military. They weren’t generals or had some crazy MOS either, there’s plenty of line unit NCOs who are brilliant that just love the military and don’t want to do anything else.

Q: You always bash our leaders and the military, would you do it again?

A: I don’t hate the military, I’m actually quite fond of it. My problem lies within the bureaucracy and double standards of it all. Would I do it all over again in a heartbeat? Absolutely.   

About the author: Andrew Farquharson is an Iraq Campaign veteran and an ex-cavalry scout currently living the dream in Newport, Rhode Island as a college student. Aside from writing for 11Bravos his hobbies include mountain climbing, shooting guns and convincing women they should date him. Comments or hate mail can be sent to farqandrew@yahoo.com or, follow him on Instagram @Lord_Farquharson