How You Can Tell Someone Was Once In The Military

Published on 04/01/2019
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Don’t you agree that soldiers have the tendency to stand out? We can’t stop noticing them due to how they stand or walk, or how they carry themselves even while performing typical daily activities. People say that a soldier never stops being a soldier. If you have served in the military, then you will agree with the items on this list.

Floor = Bed

Basic training has prepared you to sleep anywhere. No bed and no pillow? No problem, you have the floor and your buddy’s shoulder, so you’re good to go. What’s more, you have this impressive ability of being in deep sleep one minute, and getting up and being at attention in the next.

Floor Bed

Floor = Bed

Ironing Boss

Ironing and folding uniform is necessary for a soldier. Have you ever seen any soldier sporting a creased uniform? Of course not, because that’s not how they roll. Being presentable is a must for them.

Ironing Boss

Ironing Boss

The Way You Walk

They say that you can tell if someone was once a soldier even from a mile away. All you need to do is observe how they walk. A soldier walks with control and purpose. What’s more, remember that if you walk with a person who was once in the military, you may need to walk faster.

The Way You Walk

The Way You Walk

Military Time

“What time is it?” “It’s 20:00!” Even after discharge, the way you read and tell time has not changed. You think AM and PM are not necessary because you can just count to 24 (hours).

Military Time

Military Time

Your Hair

While civilians can have any kind of haircut they wish to wear, soldiers don’t get as much freedom when it comes to choosing hairstyles and they all get the buzz-cut. After discharge, they can get any kind of haircut that they want, but most choose what they are used to.

Your Hair

Your Hair

Scanning Situations

Right from the beginning, soldiers get training on scanning and assessing situations. They watch out for anything unusual and they are prepared to act on it if need be. Therefore, don’t get surprised when your significant other who was in the military starts scanning the room, or a concert, or basically any place they are in.

Scanning Situations

Scanning Situations

Standing At Ease

When a soldier stands “at ease”, it may not look so comfortable. However, if you stand in a particular way for a few years, the stance becomes sort of comfortable, even when you are back in civilian life.

Standing At Ease

Standing At Ease

Sir And Ma’am

Soldiers are taught a lot of things and one of them is being respectful. The milkman, the bread lady, or your parents will be referred to as ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’. This is how soldiers address anyone they talk to.

Sir And Maam

Sir And Ma’am

Fast Eater

Soldiers have taught themselves to eat meals really quickly seeing as their post shouldn’t be left for too long, or they are in a war zone and they are in survival mode. Don’t think it would be easy for a former soldier to go back to their eating style pre-army.

Fast Eater

Fast Eater

Military Jargon

“Roger that”, “affirmative” and “negative” are some expressions you may have heard in video games and films. Soldiers actually speak this way and even after discharge, they still speak like this. It’s similar to learning a new language. It is hard to let go once you have learned it.

Military Jargon

Military Jargon

Polished

As we’ve said, soldiers know how important it is to look presentable. Actually, their boots are very important to them and they spend time and effort to make their footwear shine.

Polished

Polished

Your Fridge

Many families use their fridge to put up photos and reminders, but a soldier’s fridge will look slightly different. There will probably be clues of their time in the military, like war memorabilia and other military souvenirs.

Your Fridge

Your Fridge

Saluting

Have you ever wondered why some guy saluted you? Well, it’s possible he was in the military and just saying hello. Saluting is an everyday greeting, so it is hard to let go. Anyway, if you get a salute again, just salute back.

Saluting

Saluting

No Kitchen

“Kitchen? What’s that?” Well then, we guess we should have said ‘the mess’. Even though your kitchen is very neat and tidy, a soldier will always call it THE MESS.

No Kitchen

No Kitchen

Call Of Duty

Playing Call of Duty is something that both civilians and soldiers enjoy. However, the difference is that soldiers know the game is very different from the real thing. In a game, it’s easy to carry a grenade launcher and six rifles. In real life, not so much.

Call Of Duty

Call Of Duty

Black paint or ‘Boot-Topping’?

Boot-topping and boot paint are basically the same regarding military personnel. Actually, boot-topping is applied between the deck of a boat and its waterline. What’s more, in making it, sulfur or lime is used. Its consistency is thick and liquidy as well. Civilians may never actually notice that boot-topping and black paint are different, but there is no fooling an expert military eye, even if it’s from a mile away.

Black Paint Or ‘Boot Topping’

Black Paint Or ‘Boot Topping’

Quiet In Line

Military people stand in line quietly and don’t make a commotion. This stems from basic training. In controlled silence, they stand in line while waiting for orders or prior to entering the mess hall. When they go back to civilian life, they also wait quietly for the bus or their turn at the ATM.

Quiet In Line

Quiet In Line

Checking Your Car

Discipline in the military is important in keeping safe. Before a soldier heads out on a mission, they must check the vehicle that they are using in order to make sure it is prepared and safe, be it an armored personnel carrier, a fighter jet, or a helicopter. When they leave the service, they don’t break themselves of the habit and continue to check their own vehicle.

Checking Your Car

Checking Your Car

Home Chore List

To get things done, a chore list can certainly help. In the military, everybody is reminded of the things they should do through a chore list. It makes sure that tasks get done. The person who doesn’t do their chore is held accountable. Soldiers also adopt the same method with their families.

Home Chore List

Home Chore List

Skip The Fireworks

You may think there’s nothing wrong with popping fireworks beautifully lighting up the night sky, but a soldier who has experience being in a battle zone may disagree. They might not have very nice memories of those bangs. A soldier who has been deployed has experienced enough fireworks…the real kind.

Skip The Fireworks

Skip The Fireworks

Power Stance

Aside from a specific way of walking, soldiers also have a specific stance when standing. Soldiers have a power stance, which is normally based on their rank. When you’re around people from the military, you can definitely feel their posture exuding confidence.

Power Stance

Power Stance

Your Squad

The people who accompany a soldier in battle are very important to them. When they all go to the battlefield, they are responsible for each other’s safety. No matter how many curses and insults they throw at each other, they actually trust and love each other to death.

Your Squad

Your Squad

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

Acronyms are actually big in the military. Even though you might hear the words a soldier says, you might not understand them. BOHICA, SNAFU, and WAG…No? Well, it’s probably because you haven’t been 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, it’s normal practice to honk twice to warn others if you’re backing up. Former soldiers still tend to do this after discharge because of habit.

Honking Twice

Honking Twice

The Flag

Seeing as the American flag is used as a symbol for the entire American nation, it should get the respect it deserves. Soldiers stand right away and even sometimes salute when they see the flag is raised. Needless to say, there won’t be any knee-droppers here.

The Flag

The Flag

Back To The Wall

You might think that having your back towards the wall means you don’t have anywhere else to go, but it actually means that you are safe. You don’t need to mind what’s behind you. You only have to watch out for threats from the front. This is why soldiers often go for a seat that has a wall behind it even in civilian life.

Back To The Wall

Back To The Wall

Hospital Corners

Neatness is very important for soldiers and their beds are not an exception to that ideal. All their beds look the same and are neat due to “hospital corners”. It’s a bed uniform! It should be expected.

Hospital Corners

Hospital Corners

War Movie Frustration

Don’t get too surprised if a Hollywood war movie annoys a soldier. As you may know already, it can never really show what they have experienced. However, soldiers can still enjoy a good action film like any civilian. The only difference is that they can see the incongruities.

War Movie Frustration

War Movie Frustration

Whistling In The Loo

If a person is whistling while they’re tinkling, they are likely a soldier or they used to serve. This musical tradition’s origins may still be a mystery, but the practice is quite common in the military.

Whistling In The Loo

Whistling In The Loo

Knife Hands

Do you know what a knife hand is? People make this hand while they are explaining something. The fingers are all aligned as well as the hand is flat and tight. Post-service, former soldiers continue to use this gesture while giving directions.

Knife Hands

Knife Hands

Getting Up Early

When a former soldier tells you that they slept in, what they probably mean is they got up at 7:00. Getting up early is something many soldiers pick up in basic training and carries to deployment. Also, it kind of sticks with them forever.

Getting Up Early

Getting Up Early

Popping Smoke

Similar to what can be seen in movies, “popping smoke” creates a shield or diversion and soldiers do this so that they can get into position. Outside the military, a soldier saying they’re “popping smoke” is telling you they’re leaving.

Popping Smoke

Popping Smoke

Tabasco Sauce

There is nothing to write home about military food. However, soldiers have found the answer – Tabasco sauce. They swear by this stuff. It doesn’t matter whether food is dry or liquid, this sauce does the trick for them.

Tabasco Sauce

Tabasco Sauce

The National Anthem

As you hear the Star Spangled Banner playing, you might also see a soldier with a tear or a twinkle in their eye. The national anthem is no longer just the flag’s music. It has become the soundtrack of a soldier’s life.

The National Anthem

The National Anthem

Always Early, Never Late

While there are people who like being “fashionably late”, military people think this is a total “no-no”. Usually, soldiers arrive 15 minutes early and they are never late. They know that that time is accountability.

Always Early Never Late

Always Early, Never Late

No Explanations

Some people give explanations, while soldiers give briefings. For military folk, speaking for too long and including too much information are unnecessary. For them, what’s best is to say the important stuff and be direct to the point.

No Explanations

No Explanations

Workout Music

If a former soldier wants a song to get him pumped up for a workout or a run, he can always turn to the trusty “cadence”. Whatever soldiers feel, “cadence” is the soundtrack for hard work and motivation.

Workout Music

Workout Music

Your Gun

Every person who has ever been assigned a gun while serving is aware that it has basically become a body part. The gun goes wherever they go. This is why when soldiers finish their service, they still feel like their weapon is still with them.

Your Gun

Your Gun

Losing Your Gun

On the topic of feeling like you are still carrying your gun, former soldiers can sometimes dream that they somehow lost their gun, though we think this is quite a nightmare. They then wake up. They remember that they don’t have their gun with them anymore.

Losing Your Gun

Losing Your Gun

Phonetic Alphabet

The military phonetic alphabet is something soldiers tend to use when spelling out words. Instead of saying the letter “h”, they will say “hotel” and “bravo” instead of “b”. There might have been soldiers talking next to you, though you didn’t understand what they were saying.

Phonetic Alphabet

Phonetic Alphabet

Short Showers

Long luxurious showers basically do not exist in the military because there isn’t time for them. Brief showers wouldn’t even exist if they weren’t a necessity. Post-service, ex-soldiers often take this habit with them in civilian life.

Short Showers

Short Showers

Sunglasses

Military people feel more comfortable donning sunglasses. It doesn’t matter if the sun isn’t shining. They will still be wearing their sunglasses.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses

Talking During The Anthem

Soldiers get really annoyed when people talk while the national anthem is being played. They find it disrespectful. We can’t really imagine how they feel but it’s nice to know they don’t have their gun with them.

Talking During The Anthem

Talking During The Anthem

Towards Danger

Whatever dangerous situation it is, former and current soldiers always run towards it and never away from it. This means helping people in general. Whenever action is needed, soldiers always take on the responsibility.

Towards Danger

Towards Danger

“Say Again”

If a person says “say again” rather than “excuse me” or “pardon me”, then they are probably a soldier. After serving in the military, this habit will still follow them in civilian life.

Say Again

“Say Again”

Finding The Exits

Soldiers learn from training to make sure that they know where the possible exit points are as soon as they walk into a situation. A soldier will keep this habit for their whole life and you can be sure that he will know all the possible exits.

Finding The Exits

Finding The Exits

Right Hand Free

Soldiers always make sure their right hand is free, or for some soldiers, their left hand. It is their habit to have their “strong” hand always available no matter where and when. Sorry ladies, your man will probably offer his left hand for you to hold. But that’s okay since it means he will be prepared.

Right Hand Free

Right Hand Free

Hands In Pockets

You can easily spot a veteran or a soldier by looking at where they placed their hands. Soldiers rarely put their hands inside their pockets because they want to be ready for anything which may occur. Usually, you see their hands resting on their hips. They are also in a power stance.

Hands In Pockets

Hands In Pockets

Quiet During Announcements

Soldiers show respect, so when they are receiving orders, they are quiet. Therefore, when an announcement comes on, such as at a baseball game or at the mall, you can expect to find soldiers standing quietly, at attention and listening.

Quiet During Announcements

Quiet During Announcements

Alternative Routes

Have you noticed that your military friend always looks as if they have several different routes mapped out when you go somewhere? Well, soldiers always have other routes planned in case disaster strikes. They never rely on just one route.

Alternative Routes

Alternative Routes

Brass To The Grass

Only soldiers are familiar with the term “brass to the grass”. People who have not served in the military probably won’t know what it means. Soldiers will most likely use it even after they leave the service.

Brass To The Grass

Brass To The Grass

Gig Line

Soldiers are big on perfection, so the “gig line” existing in their daily lives makes sense. The “gig line” is the alignment of the uniform trouser fly-seam, the belt buckle, and the uniform shirt’s seam. All of these items should be in a line that is perfectly straight.

Gig Line

Gig Line

No Word Is Gold

In the military, there is no word that is the “end all be all”. Until something actually happens, nothing is happening. This means there is nothing set in stone. In a second, things can change.

No Word Is Gold

No Word Is Gold

Last Names

It is not that uncommon for soldiers not to know their comrade’s first name because they normally refer to each other mostly by their last name. Josh Cooper? You will be known as just Cooper in the military.

Last Names

Last Names

Soldier Or Not

Long after leaving the military, former soldiers won’t drop the habits and behaviors that they developed while they were in the service. In spite of trying really hard, they can’t get rid of these things.

Soldier Or Not

Soldier Or Not

Shot Joints

Once they enter the military, soldiers get trained to perfection and become fit as a fiddle. After discharge, however, the story is totally different. Those who served in the military may silently curse the organization for the lifetime worth of joint pain that they get.

Shot Joints

Shot Joints

You’ve Got An Ex

Waiting around for your spouse to come back from war is not an easy feat, especially since you never know whether they will come home safe or in a bag. Many marriages with servicemen and women end up in divorce because the loved ones couldn’t handle the stress. Don’t get surprised if you meet former soldiers with several failed relationships.

Youve Got An Ex

Youve Got An Ex

Fast Dresser

Even though you ask them really nicely, the enemy will not wait for you to get dressed and ready when they strike at night. Thus, there is a need for soldiers to be always ready. The fact that they only have one outfit (camo) helps them become extremely fast at putting on clothes.

Fast Dresser

Fast Dresser

Some Vitamin M

If you haven’t heard of Vitamin M, we can’t really blame you seeing as this pill is only in the military. When servicemen and women fall sick, it’s not really an option to “take a sick day”, so they pop some Motrin and keep fighting. If soldiers aren’t feeling 100%, their best friend is Vitamin M.

Some Vitamin M

Some Vitamin M

Water Too

Water and Vitamin M are both miracle workers. Therefore, whether you have a headache, strep throat, a stomachache, a missing leg, or a hernia, water is your go-to. No worries if Vitamin M cannot fix something, water can fix it.

Water Too

Water Too

Chopper Differences

Military kids can differentiate between helicopters easily, but non-military children will just refer to the flying thing as a helicopter. “Son, is it a Chinook, an Apache, or a Blackhawk?” Military children always know the answer.

Chopper Differences

Chopper Differences

Time Away

For soldiers, deployment can be a number of weeks, months, or years away from their loved ones. They have gotten so used to being away for long periods that time passes in a second for them. Do not get too surprised if a person says they felt as though they were gone only hours instead of months.

Time Away

Time Away

Worst Case Scenario

The military prepares soldiers for anything, so they train soldiers to consider the worst case scenario. This way, soldiers can think on their feet even if they are caught by surprise. Those who have been in the army think of the worst case scenario even if they are at a family reunion or when checking out at the convenience store.

Worst Case Scenario

Worst Case Scenario

Skype Is Reality

We’re pretty sure seeing your loved ones is at the top of the list but video chatting surely comes in second. If you just want to hear a person’s voice, phone calls can do the job well. However, Skype is still better if you want to feel like they’re with you. Soldiers use Skype for important events in life, like the delivery of their baby.

Skype Is Reality

Skype Is Reality

Special Laundry

Soldiers don’t really think darks and lights anymore but instead, they think “cammies”. They separate their clothing whether it is camouflage or not! Now we’re wondering what washing machine setting is good for preserving their uniforms.

Special Laundry

Special Laundry

Too Quiet

Soldiers learn to sleep through practically anything. When they go back to civilian life, they find themselves having trouble falling asleep if a place is very quiet. This explains why you might catch them in front of a TV that is blaring.

Too Quiet

Too Quiet

AC Or No AC?

In the military, there is basically no air conditioning…they simply learn to live with high temps! After leaving the military, an ex-soldier either continues living life without air conditioning or they can’t function without it. Well, they’ve lived without it for so long, so just let them crank it to a chilly 65 degrees.

AC Or No AC

AC Or No AC

Medal Of Dishonor

Who likes liars? Well, no one but soldiers have an even more intense dislike for them. If you think you can get away with telling a soldier that you served even if you didn’t, then we’re telling you it’s not gonna work. Trust us.

Medal Of Dishonor

Medal Of Dishonor

Hats For The National Anthem

Not taking your hat off or sitting during the national anthem is something the military does not appreciate, so just imagine how they must have felt when NFL players knelt during the anthem.

Hats For The National Anthem

Hats For The National Anthem

Motivational Videos

You feel pumped up when watching motivational YouTube videos. However, they must have epic music as well as a lot of action, like the military kicking butt and shooting. In addition, the theme of the videos must be about never giving up.

Motivational Videos

Motivational Videos

Earplugs

If you used to be in the military, you may think that you should have worn earplugs more. These days, asking others to repeat things isn’t new to you anymore. Although you’re not exactly sure if earplugs could have been the answer, you feel they would have helped.

Earplugs

Earplugs

Tight

According to Reddit user said, “I’ve been out of the Navy for 16 years now and I still check my gig line.” In case you didn’t know, the alignment of someone’s cover, tie, shirt buttons, belt, and zipper while wearing a dress uniform is called gig line. Those who are back to civilian life can’t really stop themselves from being concerned about it.

Tight

Tight

Pick Up Your Feet

You, sir, are quite aggravating with the way you’re dragging your feet on the floor. Please, there’s no need to do that in this situation, or in any situation for that matter. Pick your feet up when you walk.

Pick Up Your Feet

Pick Up Your Feet

Shake It Off

Your handshake should be firm or else don’t even bother. In the military, this follows you and also when you go back to civilian life. It’s something we should all follow anyway.

Shake If OFf

Shake If Off

At All Times

Water and snacks are always on you wherever you go, even if you’ll only be gone for 10 minutes. There’s a reason why they say it pays to be ready, and you definitely believe this. Knowing that you’re prepared makes you feel more at ease.

At All Times

At All Times

The Same Way Twice

Taking the same route twice is not something a former soldier will do, even if it’s only a trip to the bank or taking their child to school. It just isn’t happening.

The Same Way Twice

The Same Way Twice

Every Morning

Every morning, you make your bed. This was a given while you were in the military since it was a rule that had to be followed. However, these days, it gives you some sense of accomplishment, so you feel like you have to do it.

Every Morning

Every Morning

Fit As A Fiddle

You work out daily. This does not only create endurance and teach you patience, but you also learn to stick to goals. You have this mindset since the military shaped it and it has proven useful for everyday life.

Fit As A Fiddle

Fit As A Fiddle

Battle Rhythm

You are always in battle rhythm, which means “a deliberate daily cycle of command, staff, and unit activities intended to synchronize current and future operations.” This term is used in the military and the principle is something that is taught, which is why you apply it in your life. Basically, when you do your daily routine, you are in battle rhythm, and you know you will be successful this way. The military more or less taught you that.

Battle Rhythm

Battle Rhythm

Keep Calm

Keeping calm is your specialty, no matter what happens. It could be a major crisis or something as minimal as your child having a meltdown from being unable to find their keys or tie their shoes. The battlefield didn’t even freak you out, so nothing in your regular life can make you freak out either.

Keep Calm

Keep Calm

Super Human

Camaraderie is certainly very important in the military. Others having your back and you theirs is crucial, especially when something goes wrong. This is now something you practice all the time, when you’re at home, at work, in the supermarket, and just about anywhere. You always help others out.

Super Human

Super Human

Praise

The military believes in praising in public, and it is what they always do. Whenever you performed well, they made sure to tell you in front of everybody. Now, even at home, you do the same thing. You do it with your family, friends, your neighbors, and well, practically everyone.

Kuwait Is No Place For Complacency

Praise

Privacy

Talking about praise should come with discussing how mess ups are dealt with. When someone makes a mistake, they are taken aside and their mess up is not discussed in public, though regular offenders of incorrect bed making may say otherwise. In the military, mess ups are dealt with in private. When you go back to civilian life, you find yourself still doing this.

Privacy

Privacy

On Your Feet

Speaking to others means you get on your feet. Even if it is something as simple as them asking you what you want from the store, you stand.

On Your Feet

On Your Feet

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