Much like dogs, it is said that servicemen and women age at seven times the rate of civilians while on active duty.
Long hours, high standards, and a constantly combat-ready mindset are key factors in this unpublished (read: not real) scientific study that has been conducted by the subjects themselves for over 243 years.
Not convinced? Well, as they say, “the proof is in the pudding,” and what follows is evidence that cannot be denied.
1. Growing gray hair.
There really isn’t too much needed to qualify this statement. Serving in the military will give you gray hair due to the crazy stress service members face during their time in uniform.
2. Making awful noises when standing up.
All branches are included, but we’re highlighting Army and Marine Corps infantry specifically on this one.
Humping heavy packs, digging fighting positions, sleeping outdoors, and sprinting in full battle rattle has left these once-youthful specimens grunting like f*cking elephants any time they try to stand from a seated position.
3. Complaining about kids today.
Deploying overseas can sometimes make it seem like time stands still. You get no new music and you have limited contact with the outside world as pop culture grows and transforms.
This, combined with the mass re-prioritization of values that happens during basic, cultivates some condescending views towards civilians of the same generation.
4. Talking about the good ol’ days.
It’s been said that you must earn your happy memories through hard times. The greater the shared hardship with friends, the happier the memories when reminiscing about it later.
There is no shortage of shared hardship while in good company in the military, so a group of veteran 20-somethings getting together and sharing war stories from the “good ol’ days” is not uncommon.
5. Enjoying black coffee and quiet mornings.
It’s just nice to wake up an hour or so before you need to and enjoy some peace and quiet with a cup of joe.
Most people don’t fully understand this majesty until they are well into their fifties, but sleeping in the field is generally uncomfortable, so appreciating the joys waking up early and having hot coffee is instilled in troops at a much younger age.
6. Talking about driving directions and the weather.
This bleeds over from route selection and weather statuses with regard to mission accomplishment.
It becomes a habit to ensure that when you’re going and how you’re getting there is planned appropriately and military members love discussing these tactics — even if it’s at a BBQ with some beers and buddies.
7. Reading books about war.
People like to read about things that apply to them — subjects they relate to. So, it comes as no surprise that books about war are of interest to the GWOT generation.
That and the exploits of our fathers and grandfathers always seems more badass because of the lack of technologies we are blessed with today.