Blatantly Clear Signs That You Are Or Were In The Military

Published on 12/18/2018
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There is something distinctive about people who have spent time in the military. If you are observant, you can tell if someone is a soldier by the manner they walk and conduct themselves in different situations. Anyone who has been in the military will definitely be able to relate to the following items on the slideshow. Read on to see what experiences are universal for soldiers from all over the world!

Floor = Bed

Basic training alone prepares you to doze off anywhere, anytime. Soldiers are no strangers to sleeping on the floor or resting your head on a pal’s shoulder. Don’t think soldiers are deep sleepers, however! Trust us – they will wake up in a matter of seconds if necessary.

Floor Bed

Floor = Bed

Ironing Boss

Every soldier knows how to fold and iron uniform. A soldier wearing a soiled and creased uniform is no respectable soldier. It is part of the job to look presentable all the time.

Ironing Boss

Ironing Boss

The Way You Walk

One way you can tell a soldier apart is by observing how they walk! You will notice that those who were in the military will do it with a sense of control and purpose. If you are a civilian, you will likely have to increase your pace to walk alongside them!

The Way You Walk

The Way You Walk

Military Time

If you need to know the time, soldiers might answer you in military time. Yes, that means 10 PM is 22:00 to them. It’s actually more efficient. There is no chance of confusing AM for PM in this system!

Military Time

Military Time

Your Hair

Civilians might be free to get their hair styled in whichever way they want, though soldiers do not get the same liberty. Soldiers all get a buzz cut, no questions asked. They can choose a different one only after they are done with service!

Your Hair

Your Hair

Scanning Situations

At the start, soldiers are taught to assess and scan situations. They need to observe and check if there is anything out of the ordinary. This is why you should not be surprised to find your soldier friend instinctively begins to scan a room or the park during an outing!

Scanning Situations

Scanning Situations

Standing At Ease

We know that standing “at ease” does not look very comfortable. However, soldiers have gotten used to this position after doing it for years! By that point, it has become a rather comfortable stance for them.

Standing At Ease

Standing At Ease

Sir And Ma’am

Another important thing for soldiers to learn is respect. It doesn’t matter who they are talking to. Soldiers will refer to men as ‘sir’ and woman as ‘ma’am’. That’s just how it’s done.

Sir And Maam

Sir And Ma’am

Fast Eater

In the military, people need to eat their meals as soon as they possibly could. Why? Well, soldiers often have better things to do and they need to go back to their post right away, especially in war zones. Yup, if you have a loved one returning from the army, don’t expect them to dawdle about the dinner table!

Fast Eater

Fast Eater

Military Jargon

Movies and video games often show soldiers saying “negative”, “affirmative”, “roger”, and the like. It’s actually rather accurate and it is not surprising to hear people speak like this even after service. The military comes with its own language and it’s hard to revert to plain English later on.

Military Jargon

Military Jargon

Cursing

Now, they are not rude people, though many military people have a tendency to swear. When everyone speaks this way, it is hard not to catch it. Look for your local drill sergeant if you need an example.

Cursing

Cursing

Polished

As we have said earlier, soldiers know how important it is to look presentable. Another important part of their outfit is their boots. Every soldier knows it takes time and effort to make their pair shine!

Polished

Polished

Your Fridge

For most of us, our fridges are used to display reminders and photos. Soldiers make use of the surface as well, though for a different purpose. You will notice theirs are full of war memorabilia and other souvenirs from their time in the military.

Your Fridge

Your Fridge

Saluting

In the military, a salute is used as an everyday greeting so it might be hard to drop the habit once they head back to civilian life. If someone salutes you, there is no need to worry. Just say hi or salute back!

Saluting

Saluting

No Kitchen

We all call the place where we cook our meals in the kitchen. However, it will likely forever be ‘the mess’ to soldiers. Don’t be offended, it is simply the shorthand for the mess hall.

No Kitchen

No Kitchen

Call Of Duty

Even soldiers like to play Call of Duty in their free time! However, what separates soldiers from other players is the fact that they know how different it is in real life. Among other things, the video game makes it look like it is easy to carry a grenade launcher and six other weapons.

Call Of Duty

Call Of Duty

Black paint or ‘Boot-Topping’?

For military personnel, boot-topping and boot paint is basically the same thing. If you don’t know that it is, bot-topping the thick and liquid-like coating used to lather between the waterline and the deck. Typically made of sulfur or lime, civilians would likely not be able to tell it apart from black paint! Meanwhile, military men can detect it without any problem whatsoever. Just another army thing.

Black Paint Or ‘Boot Topping’

Black Paint Or ‘Boot Topping’

Quiet In Line

When standing in line, military personnel keep quiet and avoid making a ruckus. This behavior has been instilled in them since they had to stay in a queue before going to the mess hall or listening to orders. This is the kind of behavior we should definitely follow when lining up for the bus or the ATM.

Quiet In Line

Quiet In Line

Checking Your Car

Another virtue one learns upon entering the army is discipline. Before they go out on a mission, soldiers need to check that their vehicles are ready to be deployed. It doesn’t matter if it is a fighter jet, a helicopter, or a personnel carrier. Even when their military days have passed, this is a habit that will continue for the rest of their lives.

Checking Your Car

Checking Your Car

Home Chore List

Chore lists are a must when you need to get things done, of course. In the army, it ensures that all personnel are aware of their tasks. If someone does not comply with their assignment, they are going to be punished in some way. Many soldiers do the same thing at home.

Home Chore List

Home Chore List

Skip The Fireworks

Fireworks sure are beautiful but you might want to avoid them if you have military or ex-military companions. A soldier who has gone into a battle zone will likely be reminded of something else when they are lit up. Anyone with such experience has experienced enough explosions in their lifetime!

Skip The Fireworks

Skip The Fireworks

Power Stance

Aside from the way they walk, they stand in a distinctive manner as well. Soldiers often have a power stance based on their rank. When you find yourself in the presence of military personnel, you would be able to feel their confidence.

Power Stance

Power Stance

Your Squad

The men and women that you spend time with on the battlefield are going to be some of the most important people you will ever have. In any squad, you are responsible for each other’s safety and security. It does not matter how much you insult or curse at each other because, in the end, all you have is each other.

Your Squad

Your Squad

Speaking In A.C.R.O.N.Y.M.S.

Military speak also involves the use of acronyms. The uninitiated will likely not be able to comprehend everything that comes out of a soldier’s mouth. If you need to ask what SNAFU, BOHICA, and WAG is, you probably did not spend any time in the military.

Speaking In A.C.R.O.N.Y.M.S.

Speaking In A.C.R.O.N.Y.M.S.

Honking Twice

In the military, honking twice typically means that you are backing up. When soldiers come home, they have a tendency to do the same thing out of instinct.

Honking Twice

Honking Twice

The Flag

The American flag is the symbol of the United States of America and it, therefore, deserves respect. Whenever a flag is raised, soldiers stand immediately and some even salute. That’s patriotism for you.

The Flag

The Flag

Back To The Wall

A back to the wall does not necessarily mean that there is nowhere else to go. It can mean that you are safe. When you do not have to keep looking behind your shoulder, you can focus on the threat coming from the front. Soldiers typically like to sit right in front of a wall for this reason.

Back To The Wall

Back To The Wall

Hospital Corners

Soldiers are big fans of cleanliness and this extends to the way they make their beds. Making “hospital corners” keeps the beds so neat that they all look identical. It seems like even beds have uniforms!

Hospital Corners

Hospital Corners

War Movie Frustration

It is not surprising to hear about soldiers annoyed about Hollywood depictions of war. Movies and shows can never replicate the real deal. Of course, they can still enjoy action films, though they can clearly see the absurdities.

War Movie Frustration

War Movie Frustration

Whistling In The Loo

If you use a public bathroom and you hear the person in the next stall whistling, there is a good chance they were or are a soldier. The history of this tradition remains a mystery but it is still a widespread military practice.

Whistling In The Loo

Whistling In The Loo

Knife Hands

Do you know what a knife hand is? This is the gesture military personnel makes to explain something. It involves aligning the fingers and keeping the hand tight and flat. Soldiers often use this to give directions even when they are done with service.

Knife Hands

Knife Hands

Getting Up Early

Sleeping in is probably different for you than it is for a soldier. When a military man or woman says that, they probably mean they stayed in bed until 7:00! Waking up early every day takes its toll.

Getting Up Early

Getting Up Early

Popping Smoke

Just like in the movies, military men and women “pop smoke” in order to create a shield or diversion so they can safely move into position. This has led to the idiom “popping smoke”. If someone says it, it means they are leaving.

Popping Smoke

Popping Smoke

Tabasco Sauce

Army food is not exactly worth writing home about – unless you do it to complain to your mom. When soldiers find the meal too dry or bland, they remedy it with Tabasco sauce. It’s a military favorite!

Tabasco Sauce

Tabasco Sauce

The National Anthem

The moment the Star Spangled Banner comes on, you will likely find a twinkle in the eyes of a soldier. The national anthem might just as well be the soundtrack of the life of a soldier!

The National Anthem

The National Anthem

Always Early, Never Late

Some people like to arrive “fashionably late” when they attend an event. Do not expect the same behavior from military folk! Soldiers normally arrive early and never late. Soldiers understand the importance of time and how one must be accountable for it.

Always Early Never Late

Always Early, Never Late

No Explanations

When there is something significant happening, people typically give explanations to their peers. Soldiers, however, give briefings. In the military, it is pointless to speak at length with too much emotion when you are imparting important information. Short and sweet is definitely the way to go.

No Explanations

No Explanations

Workout Music

Are you an ex-soldier looking for music to work out to? We highly recommend that you put “cadence” on! It doesn’t matter if you are lifting weights or heading out for a run. Cadence will always be the soundtrack of hard work and motivation!

Workout Music

Workout Music

Your Gun

Anyone who has ever handled a gun will know that the gun is basically a body part! Wherever a military man or woman goes, the gun comes along. Yup, even when they are done with service, they will likely feel like they still have their gun on them.

Your Gun

Your Gun

Losing Your Gun

Oh, now that we are talking about losing the gun, ex-soldiers sometimes dream about losing their weapon! This is basically a nightmare for military folk. However, the moment they wake up, they will suddenly remember that they no longer carry a gun.

Losing Your Gun

Losing Your Gun

Phonetic Alphabet

Soldiers seem to have a habit of spelling out words using the military phonetic alphabet. So instead of saying “j” or “d”, they will just casually drop “juliet” or “delta” into the conversation. You may have even heard a soldier saying it, casually, right next to you, and you wouldn’t even realize what the heck they were saying.

Phonetic Alphabet

Phonetic Alphabet

Short Showers

In the military, you can’t really afford the luxury of a long and leisurely shower. Soldiers don’t really have time for that when they’re always on duty. So showers are usually short and sweet and seen more as a necessity than a luxury. So even when they get back into normal civilian life, many soldiers carry this idea with them.

Short Showers

Short Showers

Sunglasses

If you’re a soldier, you do tend to where your sunglasses at night. Well, in the morning, the evening, come rain or shine, many soldiers get into the habit of wearing sunglasses all the time. Perhaps because you can look around without people seeing what exactly you’re looking at!? And some prefer to wear their sunnies pressed up to their face. Maybe it’s more comfy that way!? In any case, many soldiers always carry their sunnies with them everywhere when they return to civilian life.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses

Talking During The Anthem

If there’s one thing that never fails to drive any soldier crazy, it’s when people speak during the national anthem. Any soldier whose dedicated themselves to serving their country knows that people should stand up and be respectful. So when someone does speak during the anthem, you can’t help but find it disrespectful. And we can totally understand why! Just remember to leave your weapon at home in case it happens while you’re at the next big game!

Talking During The Anthem

Talking During The Anthem

Towards Danger

If there’s one thing that you can always count on with a soldier, it’s that if they see danger, they will always run towards it, never away from it. So wherever a soldier travels to when they’re not on duty, if they see danger ahead, then they will always step up to the plate and take action whenever it’s needed. This also includes helping people in general. Soldiers are probably the best people to be around if you’re ever in a scrape.

 

Towards Danger

Towards Danger

“Say Again”

Whilst most people might be polite if they haven’t quite heard what you said, and ask you to repeat it again with phrases like “excuse me” or “pardon me”, a true soldier wouldn’t say that. One of the most obvious ways to spot a soldier is to listen to the way they respond when they haven’t quite caught what you said. A soldier will constantly interrupt you with the phrase, “say again”.

Say Again

“Say Again”

Finding The Exits

As part of their training 101, every soldier must to learn is to suss out all the exit points. So naturally when a soldier goes anywhere, and we mean ANYWHERE, they will take time to mentally scope out the area and find all the exit points. So you can rest easy with a soldier. Whether they’re at a restaurant or heading to a ballpark, a true soldier will always be extra prepared and scope out every exit route before they even take their seats, just in case the emergency evacuation.

Finding The Exits

Finding The Exits

Right Hand Free

We know what you’re thinking! And it’s not what you think, honestly! So let’s makes sure we’re all on the same page here. What we’re talking about is how a soldier holds hands with a girl. You may not realize at first, even if you are that girl, but a soldier always tends to hold her her right hand with his left hand. Why? Well in case you were wondering, soldiers tend to get into the habit of keeping their “strong” or right hand always available, you know, in case there’s some action. Again, not that kind of action!

Right Hand Free

Right Hand Free

Hands In Pockets

Again, it’s not what you think! But along the same line of holding hands, soldiers also very rarely tuck their hands in their pockets. You may not notice it at first, and the movies might show you otherwise, but most soldiers do tend to assume a power stance, and place their hands on their hips. A soldier should always be ready for action, in any situation…

Hands In Pockets

Hands In Pockets

Quiet During Announcements

Along the same theme of paying respect when the national anthem is playing, it’s also common that when a soldier hears any announcement going off, they will still stand quietly to listen to it. That’s because they’re used to being quiet when their commander is giving them an order. Once they get into that habit, it doesn’t really stop, whether they’re at a football game or in the supermarket aisle.

Quiet During Announcements

Quiet During Announcements

Alternative Routes

Even when a soldier is just popping to the shops, driving to the park or making their way to the airport, they usually have an alternative route planned. Soldiers always have to be prepared,  and never usually count on just one way to get from A to B; they might not tell anyone, but there is always a back-up route and plan in case something happens.

Alternative Routes

Alternative Routes

Brass To The Grass

If you’re not quite sure what “brass to the grass” means, then it probably means you were never a soldier. It actually refers to when you’re loading your weapon and which side faces the ground. Well it’s the brass side to the ground. So the term actually lives on after you serve – sometimes in weird and wonderful ways, like when you’re loading staples into a stapler!

Brass To The Grass

Brass To The Grass

Gig Line

As any soldier will tell you, the straightest line that the human body can position itself in, is called the “gig line”. Most soldier will know this too well as they had to practice it and obsess over it over and over it again, while they’re on parade. Some just naturally stand like that now…

Gig Line

Gig Line

No Word Is Gold

Anyone who has ever served in the military, whether you were a combat soldier on the front lines or not, will be fully aware that “no word is gold”. So no matter what you’ve been told by your commander, no matter what you’ve heard from your comrades, you always have to be prepared for the fact that nothing is for sure happening until it is actually happening. Even then, everything could change at a moments notice.

No Word Is Gold

No Word Is Gold

Last Names

Most soldiers will probably not remember the first name of anyone you served with. They might have told it to you when they first introduced themselves to you. But over time, first names gradually fade in significance and have no meaning, as everyone calls everyone by their last names. Soon enough, before you know it, that’s their only name, always has been and always will be! At least in your eyes!

Last Names

Last Names

Soldier Or Not

If you have ever been a soldier, and have been out of the army for just one week or even 30 years, it’s true that the military behavior and habits will stay with you forever. Whilst many people may try to look the part or even act like soldiers, we can always spot exactly who the true heroic soldiers are out of the crowd.

Soldier Or Not

Soldier Or Not

Shot Joints

As most eager soldiers will know, when they got called up to the army they had to be in tip top condition and arrived fit as a fiddle. This is sometimes not the case when they step down from their duties. So what happened? Well whether it’s thanks to the intensive training, carrying a humongous backpack across enemy terrain or perhaps a mission that went wrong, somehow most soldiers  leave the army with a packing pain in their joints that will last a lifetime.

Shot Joints

Shot Joints

You’ve Got An Ex

Although you may have both been deeply in love when you first signed up, it’s a different story if you’re serving in the army for long stretches of time. We know too well that a long distance relationship is tough, and it’s no easy task waiting around for your man or woman to come back from serving their country. Still at the same time, you did promise to love each-other through thick and thin? What happened? Well most servicemen and women frequently end up getting divorced from their partners who realized that they just couldn’t hack it.

Youve Got An Ex

Youve Got An Ex

Fast Dresser

While most couples are familiar with the argument that goes,”Honey, we’re supposed to be there in 10 minutes and you’re not even dressed yet!” That’s a no brainer for you! Actually, you’ll never have to worry about that, because getting dressed at lightning speed is properly ingrained in your psyche. As an added extra, you probably already know in advance what you’re going to wear, so you’ll always make it in time.

Fast Dresser

Fast Dresser

Some Vitamin M

When a regular person feels a bit under the weather, they usually have to call in sick and stay in bed for a couple of days. That’s just a given. But when it comes to people in the military, it’s a totally different story. They can’t afford the luxury of calling in sick. They just pop Motrin and they’re good to go, regardless of how they might have felt that day. Soldiers can always rely on Vitamin ‘M’ to solve everything. Maybe they should market that to the public!

Some Vitamin M

Some Vitamin M

Water Too

The same idea applies to water too. Whenever you’re feeling unwell. Whether you have an upset tummy, a nasty headache, a sore leg or foot, a hernia. Heck even if you’re missing a missing limb, soldiers are always just told to drink lots of water. Maybe there’s something in that, as the time-old aqua magic really does do the trick 99% of the time.

Water Too

Water Too

Chopper Differences

It’s fair to say that for most children, if they see a chopper flying around in the sky, they’ll instantly point and exclaim “Look daddy, a helicopter!” Well that might be true. It is a helicopter. But your kids will be different. Your kids will know full well that there are differences between the makes, models, types and engine cylinders of helicopters and how to tell if this one is an Apache, a Blackhawk or even a Chinook.

Chopper Differences

Chopper Differences

Time Away

Although some people might say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, once you’ve been in the army, you begin to see time in a different way. Since you’ve become used to being away so much and for such long periods, a couple of months might feel like a couple of hours for most soldiers.

Time Away

Time Away

Worst Case Scenario

One life skill that never leaves your side, even when you leave the army, is imagining the worst “worst case scenario”. So no matter where you are, or what you’re doing, whether you’re at the bank or at a birthday party, you will always imagine what you would do if there is a bomb scare or if a gunman burst through the door and held everyone hostage.

Worst Case Scenario

Worst Case Scenario

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