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How can you be a veteran if you have never been to war?
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How can you be a veteran if you have never been to war?

I'm going over some files at work and it says in one that the man is a veteran. But how can he be a veteran if he has never been to war? Is it just his participation of years in the service?


I've included webster's definition of a veteran and it doesn't mention anything about war or combat. The Veterans Administration says the following about who qualifies for veterans benefits:
Basic Eligibility:
A person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable may qualify for VA health care benefits. Reservists and National Guard members may also qualify for VA health care benefits if they were called to active duty (other than for training only) by a Federal order and completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty.
Minimum Duty Requirements: Veterans who enlisted after Sept. 7, 1980, or who entered active duty after Oct. 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty requirement may not apply to veterans discharged for hardship, early out or a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.

So to answer your question, no you don't have to be in a war to be a veteran you just have to serve in the military. Now if someone says they are a "combat" veteran, than most likely they did serve in a war but you're better off asking them, I'm sure they'll be glad to share their story with you.

Navy Sailor - GAI
Every person that serves in the military is a veteran regardless of where you served your time.

A veteran is just a person who has served in the armed forces. It doesnt have to be in a war

been there done that
I really think you need to use your search engine and enter the word veteran. The criteria does not include either 20 years (retirement) or having served in combat.

Yes. It's his participation in the service which makes him a veteran. There were over two million who served between 1954 and 1964 who never saw combat because it was a Cold War and Vietnam had not started in earnest as yet.

Concerned Citizen
Just being retired military makes you a veteran.

Veteran is a person who has had experience as opposed to novice who has not. The common meaning of veteran is simply one who has experienced military service. Veterans of foreign wars are war veterans.

The Mrs.
If you have been in the military you are considered a veteran.

All people with military service are veterans. This also seperates the VFW from the American Legion. For VFW membership you must have been in a war zone while American Legion only requires military service.

Joe B.
It's not a matter of going to war. A veteran is anyone who has served in the military and has since retired or been discharged.

all that have served in the military are Veterans

He was in the military A veteran is simply someone who was at some point in the military......you also have veterans of war.....you dont have to go overseas and be actually physically in the war to be a veteran of a war...all it required to be a veteran of war is to have been in the military during the time of a war or conflict...and veterans of foreign war....which means someone who actually went overseas and fought in the war

Retired military makes you a veteran.

There's different types of veterans. Army vetrans, Marine vetrans, Navy veterans, Airforce veterans. Iraq veterans, Vietnam veterans, Korean War veterans, WWII veterans, WWI veterans, Civil War veterans, Revolutionary War veterans. That about answers it!!!!

Yes that's essentially it. Some military fraternities like the American Legion require that you have had to serve during war time but not necessarily directly in combat. Others such a the Veterans of Foreign Wars require members be combat Anyone service person who serves is a veteran.

lori smith
One can be activated during war time and never see combat and still received wartime credits...My hubby was activated during desert storm and never made it overseas....he is working on second tour of operation iraqi freedom.

I read all 21 answers and noticed that there was no mention of the Cold War Veteran. I served 13 years in Germany in the Pershing Missile field. The system was in Germany for about 30 years. During that time many soldiers(thousands) had tours in Germany in Pershing Missile firing Batteries. It is my belief that the Pershing Missile System caused the soviets to stand down and after that, the wall between east and west Germany came down. The stand off between the soviets and The United States was a long lived cold war. All who served to defend germany and the surrounding countries from soviet russia in my eyes are veterans and should be awarded for that service. I also served in Vietnam and in Saudi but none of those that served in the cold war have been recongnized for their service and that is a shame.

charles t
you become a veteran onces u compleat ur term of services. no need to be in a war

Richard B
charles.young580 - work being done to pass a Cold War Medal. However it did not make it through Congress this year. See the link for more information.

I object to your terminology "just his participation"? You have no idea what we do or what it costs. I've been stationed places you can't pronounce. I have shots in the butt to get those places. "just his participation" As if!

There are Veterans of a branch of service. There are VFW's,veterans of a forgien war (my father and Korea). There are veterans that served there country during war time but in a job that does not require them to "Go to War". I was in during the cold war but never left the US and was in during the Gulf war and never left the hospital. I hope that answers your question. Its not always their decision. The service uses you where they best feel you are needed.


a veteran is anyone who's in the military unless ur talking to ppl in the military then a vet is anyone who's seen combat i dunno kinda depends on who's using the phrase

yes veteran is a veteran. Some went to combat by orders others skirted around. Had a supervisor with no other experience. Talked the talk but never walked the walk. Disgusted in a training environment, but got promoted to supervisor position. Higher authorities knew this type of individuals, but accepted the lack. I did what my country wanted me to do, and took charge. I am retired, with disrespect for this type of people.

i was told you could join the vfw if your father had served even tho i didnt. true or not

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