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On Combat Veterans
One of the most common questions I have been asked so far by veterans who are interested in sharing their stories is whether or not I am strictly looking for combat veterans. I find this to be an interesting question because implicit within the question is the idea that veterans that served in combat, meaning those veterans that received hostile enemy fire in some form or another and fired their weapon in anger, somehow have a more worthy story to tell or that their experiences are more valuable.
As a veteran who never served in combat, with the exception of my ship firing missiles at distance targets, I have a deep respect for my brothers and sisters who voluntarily put themselves in harm’s way. However, in modern warfare definition of who is a combat veteran has also changed, because in places like Iraq and Afghanistan the idea of a frontline is an antiquated notion. Now soldiers that would not be described as combat troops are exposed to the battlefield as well.
I do not distinguish one veterans service as more valuable or worthy of sharing from another. We all played our role. We all had our jobs. From the grunt to the supply office; from the medic to the intel analyst; from the maintenance crew to the cooks. Everyone had a job to do. Each job was important to the success of the unit.
To answer the question, I am not only looking for combat veterans. I am not looking to examine just the lives of a select group of veterans, but of all veterans.