"Veteran" and "casualty" - what do these terms mean to you?

(This is a 2-for-1 poll, so you can select multiple options, but please select only one for Veteran and one for Casualty.)
ISTM that these two terms have changed; it used to be that “veteran” meant you had to have participated in a war or conflict, but now even just having been in the military counts. And “casualty” used to mean wounded or killed or missing, but now it only seems to denote “killed.”

I chose the 2nd and 3rd options, which I believe are the definitions the military itself uses, and has used for a long time. Anyone who has served is a veteran, and anyone wounded or killed or missing in the line of duty counts as a casualty. No cite right now, though – this is from memory.

That’s what sets the VFW apart. Those are the ones that were involved in combat.

I was never in a war, but I still think my 11 years of active duty merit the title of veteran. I took the same oath, wore the same uniform, was subject to the same regulations, and performed the same jobs - am I less of a veteran because no one was shooting at me?

I voted choices 2 & 3.

I looked up the VFW membership requirements, because I was curious:

1: Citizenship – must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. National.

2: Honorable Service – must have served in the Armed Forces of the United States and either received a discharge of Honorable or General (Under Honorable Conditions) or be currently

3: Service in a war, campaign, or expedition on foreign soil or in hostile waters*. This can be proven by any of the following:

  • An authorized campaign medal (see a full list of qualifying medals and badges)
  • Receipt of Hostile Fire Pay or Imminent Danger Pay (verified by a military pay statement)
  • Service in Korea for 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days

According to this, a service member would not necessarily be in a combat role, but would be in an area at risk. Medical personnel, mechanics, security, clerks, and there must be many others. Those would all qualify.

Yes, Mooomm, you’re a Veteran in my eyes.

The VFW is clearly a subset. Not all veterans serve overseas, and Og willing, we are not in globally-scaled conflicts at all times. A large part of what are military does is training and preparedness.

My answers as well, with some cites.
Veteran with my bolding

Casualty cite

ETA what I meant to put after the cites.
2 for veteran is pretty close. Those dishonorably discharged wouldn’t count as veterans.

Neither answer for casualty is accurate. 3 is just the closest. Both the poll answers suppose involvement in combat and that is not accurate. Disease is also ignored.

Well as i understand it casualty comes from a French word for accident so a war casualty is a “accident of war” which would seem to be anyone wounded or killed in a war. This includes those not involved in combat when injured. Heck in the army heat casualty and cold casualty are common terms.

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Right - but I seem to recall recent media reports saying “There are 200 casualties in such and such a battle” when it was only 200 dead, and many more were wounded. Which is why I wondered.

I voted “Any service” and “killed, wounded and missing” , but want to qualify that second one - I want to include wounded, but not missing, but there was no third option for that. If someone’s missing, but actually just a not-yet-documented POW in good health, I wouldn’t consider them a casualty.

Well, for purposes of having access to VA services, veteran is anybody who served in the US military. For asking how bad were things in pick-a-war, only those who were in it. “Service veteran” and “veteran of war X” are two different concepts.

I initially learned casualty with no qualifiers to mean dead and it’s still what my brain pops up, but I’ve also encountered it in the wider sense, or with the qualifier “partial” to indicate wounded.

Same for me. Although with the exception that if I were an area commander I’d like a breakdown summary of everyone who could no longer participate in the region, which would include missing. But reflexively when I think of the word “casualty” I think of dead and wounded.

Definitely 2 & 3, with minor qualifications already given. “Veteran” does not have to mean “combat veteran.” I don’t ever remember it being this tightly defined, and I don’t notice it this tightly defined. MIA may be a gray area for casualty, but casualty has always meant at least killed or wounded to me, not just killed.

Not “less of a veteran”, no… just not a veteran at all, because veterans become veterans by combat experience, not by joining up. They’re called “war veterans”, not “Army veterans”.

A veteran is somebody with long experience. If there’s any ambiguity about long experience of what, then you may need to clarify. A veteran soldier is not necessarily a war veteran.

As for “casualty”, I have always understood it to embrace soldiers killed, wounded or injured. And this, of course, aligns with its use in a medical context. A hospital’s casualty department is not the same thing as a hospital’s morgue.

For veteran, I chose option 2. If you served and were not dishonorably discharged, you’re a vet.
No offence to you personally, but that’s why I don’t have an automatic respect for those who served. Out of four immediate family members that have served, one was a liar and thief, one was a total asshole, and the other two did it for their own gain and not out of any sense of duty or patriotism.
As for casualty, I picked option 3. But there is a caveat. It has to be during a military operation. One of those above calls himself a casualty of Vietnam because he was injured during the Vietnam war…in Oklahoma, improperly lifting a box of files.
I do agree that there seems to be a trend to to refer to only KIA as casualties, ignoring the “just” injured.

Sorry, no, you are wrong. At least here in the USA, under the law, having served X time under honorable conditions, former members are plain and simply “Veterans”.

The person is a veteran of military service. “War Veteran” or “Combat Veteran”, adding the qualifier, is precisely specifying a particular subset of veteran.

No, war veterans are called war veterans. Army veterans are called Army veterans. Marathon veterans are called marathon veterans. Where did you get the impression that nobody is called an Army veteran?

The word veteran by itself implies military veteran, which means you were in the military.

Nitpick to the poll options: You’re not a veteran if you’re still in the military. Certain laws and regulations say otherwise, but that’s more about legislative intent than grammar.

I’ve always heard casualty defined as any wound or injury that removes a person from the battle or from service altogether.