The 5 myths about veterans

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The 5 myths about veterans

I spent last weekend at the Student Veterans of America National Conference, something I wrote about for the Legion page HERE.  It was great, and it was encouraging how many of the student veterans were members of the Legion and came up to our booth to thank us for being there and to brag about what their posts were doing.

At the conference there were a ton of "breakout sessions" that dealt with all kinds of stuff, but the one I enjoyed the most was titled "From 'Broken Heroes' to Public Servants: Transforming Persistent Myths About Post 9/11 Veterans."  It was hosted by Rosalinda Maury from the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University and Corri Zoli with the Instutute for National Security and Counterterrorism.  It was everything I knew it would be, and I instantly resolved to spend next week delving into the myths.

But in the meantime, Military Times did a piece on it:

Here’s something everyone can agree on: The way the public views veterans isn’t always accurate.

Take the assumption that all veterans have served in combat and have post-traumatic stress disorder, for example. Or that people only go into the military because they can’t get into college.

Those are just a couple of the “persistent, recycled myths” about veterans that Syracuse University researchers addressed during a session at the Student Veterans of America National Conference Friday, using both federal data and an 8,600-person survey of the military community to debunk some of the most common misconceptions about the nation’s youngest generation of veterans.

On one hand, studies by Gallup, Pew Research and others have shown there is “enormous public support (for the military) but at the same time a tremendous gap in knowledge about who we’re supporting,” said Corri Zoli, director of research at Syracuse’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism. “They don’t have a lot of granular detail about who they’re supporting and why.”

There was one moment that struck me as rather hilarious in a sort of sad way.  One veteran onhand addressed how even his family members don't really understand much about his service, despite his trying to explain it to them.

"My Mom tells every person she meets how her son served in the Army in Iraq.  She's really proud of that.  Unfortunately she doesn't understand that I served 4 years in the Marine Corps and then went to the Air Force."  To his mom, anyone who served in uniform must have been in the "army." 

Anyway, you should go read the article from Military Times which beat me to the punch, but either way, next week I am going to devote a blog post a day towards each of the myths, which are:

Myth 1: Veterans are a small subset of the population.

Myth 2: Veterans join the military because they could not get into college and are uneducated.

Myth 3: The military is a homogeneous population.

Myth 4: Veterans have a limited skill set and pursue careers similar to their military specialization.

Myth 5: Veterans are broken heroes.

Each of these myths is explored in an excellent publication from the Syracuse based Instutue For Veterans and Military Families called "Missing Perspectives: Servicemembers' Transition from Service to Civilian Life."

So check back next week as I go through each of the myths.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.