The military, and it's people, is odd.

Especailly the leaders. A review of the famous ones will bear this out. Patton, Monty, and Sparticus (that gladiator guy), for example. Seem’s like the more “normal” ones became polititians, like Ike and Powell.
But it’s not just the brass. I spent four years in the USN, and a bunch of the career enlisted (lifers) were different than their civilian counterparts.
I realize I’m generalizing, but I think I have a point. I also think these differences are neccessary for the military to be successful.
These opinions are offered with great respect. :smiley:

Like it or not, there are military virtues–loyalty to comrades, endurance of hardship and courage to name three. These are, of course, somewhat counterbalanced by regimentation and narrow thinking. All in all, as Dr. Johnson is reported to have said “All men think less of themselves for not having been a soldier.” I would not take a million dollars not to have done it but I would not do it again for twice that amount.

As a career officer, I’ll say I hope we are different.

Well, I was never in the military, but I personally know a number of people who were. I wouldn’t say they were “odd” (although a few were), but they seemed to have a certain way about them.

To someone like myself who works in the civilian corporate world, military virtues are very different yet similar to corporate ones. Corporations try to create an atmosphere of esprit-de-corps, teamwork and endurance of hardship. The diference is that these virtues in the military can mean the diference between life and death. In the corporate world, it generally feels like bullshit designed to make you feel like you are doing something worth sacrificing your personal time for.

Joining the military is a commitment. Joining a corporation is only a commitment until you find a better job or they lay you off. One involves a commitment to something larger than yourself.

I grew up in a military family, so I probably consider the “odd” parts to be rather normal. :slight_smile:

FWIW, I don’t really think that military types, even the career types, are all that different–typically hard-working, down to earth people who like to kick back on weekends like anybody else.

I’m honestly confused about what the OP is referring to.

You claim in a wildly imaginative assertation that “military poeple” are “odd.”

What precicely makes them different from everyone else and how are they odd?

I could say people with brown hair are “odd.” It would be just as baseless and ambiguous.

What do you mean and what are you getting at?

There is that one type though who can be considered “odd”. For example, the career type who works on the weekends that hard-core military lifer. To me, there is just something very odd about someone who dedicates 110% of their time and energy to an organization at the expense of family, friends, and outside activities.

Military Brat (Daughter of an Army Lt. Col. ret.) here and I’d just like to state FTR that I think all you civilians are mighty odd yourself.

As I’m venturing out into the civilian world I just can’t get over the lack of organization, attention to detail, and committment to the task at hand that I’m used to in the military community.

What’s with all the whining and second guessing? Where are your spines? Where’s the adaptability? Why can’t some people just step-to and fall into line? And what’s with this every-man-for-himself atmosphere?

Civilians. I’ll never understand it.

Interesting, JETGIRL. I never fell into that “organized, step-to” fold myself.

I’m still a disorganized, lazy, man-for-myself. I see everything in half-truths, question everything and am very untrusting of all those around me.

At least I’m at the right place. :wink:

Well, yes, of course it’s odd.

Here you have an institution of a civilized society, composed of members of said society, tasked by this society under the law with carrying out, under special circumstances, necessary but extraordinarily unpleasant duties.

Specifically in societies where there’s “Rule of Law” (not necessarily democratic, but it helps), this organization and its members have to be ready and able both materially and mentally to, inflict death and destruction, things that in everyday life are considered undesirable, in an effective manner; yet at the same time remain the most peaceful and law-abiding component of society and just sit there not exercising that readiness or ability UNTIL until a lawful order comes along, and once it does, carry it out w/o degenerating into a chaotic horde of vandals. That requires a buildup of distinct values, habits and attitudes. That WILL be “odd” if only because it will be divergent from the mean.

The specific trait of discipline, “step-to and fall into line”, commitment to the task, no-whining, etc. is not something that makes someone necessarily better or superior as humans per se – but the effort and commitment required to develop that character IS worthy of respect. As the OP said, they are necessary for the military to be succesful. And the converse also happens: in civilian society, for instance, skepticism that those in authority always know better is a GOOD attitude to have.

What JRDelerious said, plus sailors wear funny hats.

There! That’s exactly what I mean.
I think XJETGIRLX’s playing with us. :slight_smile: But she does exhibit some of the traits I consider foreign to my way of life. A desire for sameness, and to have things laid out for you and simple. A need to “Do As You’re Told” for juniors and “Do as I Say” for seniors, with no ambiguity.
And I think that that kind of life works on peoples minds, especially those who achieve high status in the military.
Two more examples:
“Bull” Halsey.
MacArthur, of the corncob pipe.
Oh yeah, the nuke sub guy. The admiral who’s the father of the nuclear Navy.
What about R. Lee Ermey, of Mail Call fame. He’s funny, and personable, but definately odd. OOoRAa?

You’re contradicting yourself. MacArthur, as well as Patton, Halsey, Montgomery and Sparticus, quite obviously did NOT like things laid out simple, or to be told what to do. In fact, those men were all famous for NOT doing what they were told, which is one of the reasons they were effective commanders.

I suggest you read Norman Dixon’s “On The Psychology of Military Incompetence.” Much of what people believe makes a good soldier in fact makes for a BAD soldier.

The name you’re looking for is Hyman Rickover. And add AF general Curtis “Back to the Stone Age” LeMay to your list. And on a lower level, General Eric everybody-change-your-hats Shinseki, and the AF general who changed their uniform to the unimpressive business-suit style.

Like you said yourself, the “this is to be done, and that’s it” mentality is a necessary trait toget the nasty work done. If you have to eat, breathe and live that for a 30+ year career, it’ll definitely work its way into ya. For some people more than others.

Then again, you have diplomat-generals like Ike and Colin Powell, where you can’t be sure if it’s the warrior or the politician at work; and great battlefield generals who otherwise have a total trainwreck of a life like Ulysses S. Grant.

As for R. Lee, well, he’s Marine. Even the normal ones need to switch to decaf and lay off the raw meat anyway :wink:

and RicJay makes a great point I wish I had. The “GET IT DONE” spirit need NOT be an obsession with uniformity and following “the book” all the way through. It’s more about insisting on doing things RIGHT – even if it means disagreeing with what the book says or with what is easier. Of course, if you’re a private or 2nd Looie, sticking to the book is a good way to make it to Staff Sgt. or Major in time to retire at 20 years w/o getting into trouble. But if you want to wear stars ya gotta do better than that.

No no, RickJay, DAYT is for the juniors. Those mentioned certainly weren’t junior. They were of the DAIS set.

You gotta do better than that after you make Staff, or Major, at the very least. Up to then you’re probably better off following the book. Then, if you got what it takes (stars), you might get to write a chapter.
Some lower rates in combat went outside the rules and did ok.

I have never been in the military (actually raised “anti-military” liberal) but have worked with military and ex-military at various times. For the most part I have liked working with them. The best of them were people I have great respect for. They tend to have better follow through and attention to detail than their civilian counterparts (especially me, see liberal upbringing above). They tend to more socially conservative, but more results oriented, like “I may be somewhat sexist but I will give my female counterpart full respect for skill and or good work, as opposed to denying her value due to a personal bias” The ones I liked tended to not be gung-ho but were obviously able to handle themselves in both social and physical confilcts, a balance you rarely see in civi’s. The only problem I had was A) when there was a large number of military/ex-military on a project or in a group they would get cliquey and dismissive to civi’s, and B)the ones that did suck tended to be real bastards, like their military training really brought out the shitty sadistic asshole in them. Those were the exception to the rule however, in general I think they are good people to work with. Oh and I also appreciate the whole defending my freedom thing:)
PS- On the note of that last sentence, I have been to many protests and demonstrations in my life, USA out of El Salvidor, Anti-Gulf War, etc. but I always make a distinction between the war/police action that I am protesting and the men and women, often barely adults, that are being sent “over there” and getting shot at. I will always remember a demo against the Gulf War that I attended that was during a parade supporting the war. I was booing all the local business people and politicians who were jumping on the band wagon and acting all patriotic in the parade (none of them of course were going to be in harms way of course). I was appalled at my lefty bretheren booing Vietnam Vets (!some with the POW/MIA banner!) and actually got in a couple shouting matches. I mean, I don’t think we should have been in Vietnam, I think we pretty much screwed that country over, and I think we fought the war in the most fucked up way possible (letting beurocrats make the decisions, m16 anyone?) but booing the guys who went through that hell is fucking lame. If that wasn’t bad enough, then they booed the WW2 Vets! These guys fought Hitler! No wonder people think liberals are idiots, we are! Anyway, long PS, sorry, just went off there.

You’re right, mangeorange, I was being a bit facetious, but only a bit.

This is more on the spot. It’s not about blindly following orders, it’s about doing things the right way.

As for following the book until you make rank, it’s not that you can’t challenge authority, but if you’ve got the balls to do so you better be able to back it up.

I think you can hardly say these traits apply only to ex-military. Cliquey? Sadistic bastards? That describes half the people I’ve ever known in the civilian world! Not that I’m doubting your observations are correct, I just think that if you pick any office you’re bound to find both in abundance.

A little off topic, but I thought I’d share:
(Courtesy of Military Brat Registry)
You might be a military brat if:

The first time you entered a civilian theater you were shocked that nobody stood up to say the pledge.

While you’re driving home you notice the sun setting and stop the car and roll down your window listening for taps.

“Move in” condition never meets your standards.

“The economy” meant going off-base and paying higher local prices.

Your first set of flash cards was a set of Armored Vehicle Recognition cards.

You weren’t born, you were issued.

I think I might have set this off in a direction I didn’t intend. My observations were mostly about the leaders, and mostly leaders during wartime.
I’ll pick on Patton, 'cause he’s so easy. I’ve read some about him, and by most accounts “the men” loved him and were willing to follow him anywhere.
But he slapped that guy. He really did. Maybe not as big a thing as it was made to be, but it was, what, childish? Much of what the man did was immature. He got the job done, but a lot of his success was due to the fact that some of his juniors didn’t do exactly what he said to do.
He was an odd person.
See what I mean, jelly bean.