The men and women of our armed forces are people who choose to serve our country with their lives. They are willing to sacrifice everything for our rights and privileges. Coming from all walks of life, the members of the military are diverse. In my few years of service, I have met and worked alongside many different personalities. There are those I’ve come to respect and admire. Yet there is also a certain other breed which exist within the military.
You can find them at the bar or on the beach with their dog tags hanging out. They’re cruising in Jeeps which cost them nearly two years salary, plastered in yellow ribbons and slogan-bearing bumper stickers (“If you don’t stand behind us, feel free to stand in front of us”). They make every effort to ensure you are aware that they are, in fact, in the military. They’re loud. They’re obnoxious. They are army douchebags.
Though the air force and navy aren’t free of such douche bags, there’s something about the army which make such people feel especially entitled to be as in-your-face as possible. They make themselves intentionally obvious in many ways.
They immediately mention being in the army
Often before even giving their own names, their membership in the service is one of the first things (if not the very first thing) to come out of their mouths. You never asked, but they want to make sure you know. After all, their job is so much nobler, more respectful, more important, and way cooler than whatever pedestrian occupation you hold.
Oh, you’re a marketing manager for Staples? Who gives a fuck?
This guy’s in the ARMY. He shoots GUNS. He throws grenades. He’s trained to kill, motherfucker. What you don’t know is that his specific trade involves counting socks or fixing jammed photocopiers. But whatever, check out that sweet army tattoo on his forearm that he got two weeks before graduating basic training. This man is hard as fuck.
If he does give you his name, it will be his surname. In all eight months of his intense military experience up to date, he’s so indoctrinated that the concept of a first name is alien to him. “I gave up my first name when I signed my life away on the dotted line” he’ll say. “I am but a rank and a number now.” Cool man, what unit are you with? That’s right, you don’t have a unit. Your ass has been sitting in PAT (Personnel Awaiting Training) doing fuck all except look cool in your sweet combat get-up.
Sometimes, the army douche bag will introduce himself by his rank. Rarely is anyone this much of a douche bag. Yet one of my brothers in arms (who will be referred to from hereon in as Private Lad) indeed does go so far. It’s how he answers his phone. It’s how he introduces (and inevitably cock-blocks) himself to girls at the bar. This guy really, really wanted everyone to know that he was the absolute lowest rank in the department of national defense. Because, hey, it’s way better to be at the bottom of the military hierarchy than to be a dirty, no-good, lame-ass civilian.
They demand you listen to their stories
The army douchebag craves to be the center of attention at all times. You must listen to every tale he has regarding his experiences in basic training and soldier qualification. After all, who the fuck are you? Nobody, that’s who. Your life is so boring and plain that you crave the excitement and intrigue of his basic training experiences. He’ll tell you about how this one time, in basic, he had to stay up for almost three days. In a row. Or this one time, in basic, when this guy did this one thing, and it was so crazy, like, oh my God, you wouldn’t even believe, like you can’t understand, and the instructor was like “whaaaat”, like that actually happened.
There’s this one guy on my base right now. His nickname is “Horror Stories”. He always seems to be just a table or two away when we eat at the mess. He just got back from his SQ (soldier qualification) course. I know this because every meal you can hear him loudly regaling his comrades with tales of his brutal experiences in the field. SQ is a course which lasts a mere month, yet this douchebag has accrued a nearly infinite quantity of anecdotes.
Civilians, don’t even try to contribute to the discussion in any way. You’re nobody. Just some average shmuck who spends his whole life living in fear, never doing anything remotely interesting or even worthwhile. Your life is a waste, and this douche bag is only here to enhance your shitty existence. You should be so thankful.
They never take their dog tags off
…and find every single opportunity to expose them.
He’s at the bar playing pool. He goes to take a shot. As he’s leaning over to take aim, oops, look what just fell out! Oh, hey, just his dog tags. You know, which he got from being in the army. No big deal or anything. It’s not like he’s hot shit. Oh wait, he is.
Gee, it sure is hot out. It’s a perfectly good time to strip down to nothing but his dog tags. Not that he’s drawing attention to them or anything. Not that he needs to when they’re blinding you with the sun’s reflection.
Time to go take a dip in the pool! But you won’t catch him getting in the water until he’s in his favorite swim trunks, and the oh-so-important swimming accessory, his dog tags. But maybe this isn’t him being a douche bag. Maybe he’s truly concerned that his dumb ass might drown in the deep end and that there will be absolutely no other way for anybody to identify the body. That’s called being a responsible soldier, folks.
They’re wearing military kit
Or carrying around military-style accessories.
He’s walking down the street with combat boots under his jeans which are held up by his army belt. It’s cold out, so he’s sporting his green toque or camouflage bush hat. He’s got a camouflage band over his Wal-Mart watch. He’s got to pay for something. Oh, hang on, he’s pulling out his camouflage wallet. That’s a fucking necessary piece of military kit right there. Of course he’s got his big green fucking army bag on his back everywhere he goes. And he never leaves home without his Gerber.
Watch out guys, this boy’s a Kanex veteran. Is everything you own covered in green camouflage digital pattern? I didn’t think so, you shit-pump.
They constantly use military jargon and expect you to know what they’re saying
Yo dawg, we’re going on a reccy, here’s the 5-point contingency plan: give us a SitRep in twenty mikes and if you go dark then we’ll do an all-around-defense 30 mils from the objective point and go oscar mike at zero dark. Stick to SOPs and mind your AO.
Oh, you didn’t get any of that? Must be because you’re an idiot. Everybody knows what that means.
Frequently, the army douche bag will use military acronyms and terms. Frequently, he will use them incorrectly and completely out of context. Frequently, when someone is brave enough to admit that they have no idea what the hell they just said, they will act shocked and incredulous at that person’s ignorance.
Once again, Private Lad comes to my mind. I remember a night we all went to the bar together. We had met a group of fine young respectable civilian women. At one point there was a somewhat loud bang which occurred. I believe it was a glass being dropped. We carried on, yet Private Lad proceeded to duck and freak the fuck out while yelling “Stand to! Stand to!” Concerned, one of the girls asked him what his problem was. “Oh, I thought that was a T-Flash” he replied after regaining his lacking wits. “What’s a T-Flash?” she asked. His eyes rolled to the back of his head, unbelieving that he was dealing with such an apparent twit. “A thunder-flash, duuuuuuuuuh”.
For context and clarification, a thunder flash is something used in basic training to simulate explosive ordinance, such as grenades. When one goes off, the platoon is required to attend their defensive positions around the base while yelling “stand to” in order to ensure everyone is aware of the attack.
Therefore, our stalwart Private Lad claimed to believe a simulated grenade had been thrown within the bar, and he proceeded to act accordingly as if he were in the middle of a field training exercise. At the bar. In Wasaga Beach. I pray the man is never deployed, as apparently basic training was enough to make him act like a shaken veteran with the absolute worst kind of PTSD.
I mean no disrespect to those who serve. Generally speaking. My contempt is not aimed at the armed forces. Rather, it is aimed at douche bags. Persistent, overwhelming douche bags who can give outsiders the absolute worst kind of impression of those in the military. But after all, you’re a mere civilian who knows no better. We army men are men of the world. Real men. Men of men. Look on our dog tags, ye mortals, and despair.