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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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”.
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.
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!
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…
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.
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.
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!
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…
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.