When does your Medal of Honor not give you cover over what you say?
MoH receiptant Dakota Meyer took to his Social Media to express his contempt of his seeing “civilians” kitting up and training as if they are operators. Calling them out because they weren’t there, didn’t do that, and doesn’t have the badge.
We are all entitled to express opinions, some more informed than most. On the flip we also hold a value to be able to criticize that opinion. However, does that opinion hold more value if it comes from someone who has the cred?
My disappointment with his line of thinking is, there will be a time when those civvies who are training will need leadership, guidance, mentorship. So by trashing them in the way he did, he came off as an elitist. He is not an isolated example, it seems many (Not All) have displayed this elitism, but then and again most have left enough blood on the battlefield to earn the right to stand above the rest.
This whole mess is a defeating exercise in the current political storm and we certainly do not need our bloodied brothers throwing the proverbial grenade in the wrong direction.
Lots of thoughts on this, but what strikes me most is he diminishes his own image with this public rant. I don’t know the guy, and so I don’t know exactly what he did to receive the Medal of Honor. Good for him, whatever it was, and he is to be thanked for his sacrifice as are all men and women who have served. But you’re right, he comes off as an elitist.
We all know platforms like Instagram and Facebook are often about fabricating a perception. Mr. Meyer decries this behavior, but is no different here as he begins his video segment straight from the gym, pumped and sweaty, “so I just got done working out…”
For a humorous take on heroism, check out Brian Regan on Letterman 12 years ago. There is truth in what he says:
A question I have is, how would Tim Kennedy feel being dragged into this? Because unlike Meyer, Kennedy is out there sharing (making money while doing it) his world experience with the “unwashed”, he is out there to the civvie, don’t do it this way or that way because X.
Chris Sajnog, retired SEAL, and SEAL shooting instructor, teaches his techniques to the public at large. I’ve never seen him behave similarly either.
The first thing that popped into my mind was when he said that on Instagram one can be whoever they want to be. It seems that he is - and it is typically called an -sshole. I saw nothing stating he is a MoH, not that that really matters in reference to his rant. He is entitled to post his comments as is everyone else. He is such a manly man, “I just got done working out”, as if that matters how?
In the end he is a man with an opinion, just like the rest of us. Thank you for your service and sacrifice but
don’t act like a “celebrity” you are demeaning yourself and your service.
In 1776, there weren’t any MoH recipients yet. There were men that wanted freedom.
I spent 90% of my career designing tactical, maintenance, and simulated training systems for the US DOD and British MOD. I was sometimes shunned at lunchtime discussions because I was never in the military. It really didn’t bother me much except one time when John McCain came and tried out some simulated training I worked on. At the end he addressed the participants in an After Action Review (AAR) facility that I was the lead project engineer for. My program manager directed me to stand outside just in case anything went wrong with any of the equipment, but I was not permitted inside for the address because I am not a veteran. My PM was a retired Colonel that never saw action, but he felt I did not deserve to be involved in McCain’s address. McCain came out and shook my hand when the address was over.
I type this just to say a majority of veterans I encountered in my career treated me with respect and many times thanked me for the work I did. The ones that shunned me, well, they are what they are.
Fascinating story, and I think I share the same view point. People see you differently and treat you accordingly, and it is on us to constantly live and do as we see ourselves.
I can distinctly remember when people said a person couldn’t coach a sport if they never personally competed.
That rhetoric was squashed when those same coaches won championships by defeating those who had played all their lives.
I can also remember those who said you could never become a millionaire without obtaining a college degree.
That rhetoric was obliterated when Michael Dell and Bill Gates changed the tech world.
People like to talk because “Talk is Cheap.” Social Media allows this “talking.” It also allows them to become whatever they imagine themselves to be.
Let him talk. I know people that spent four years in the military and they are NOWHERE NEAR being “Operators.” As a matter of fact, two of them didn’t know they were putting rounds in their mags backwards. Dude tells me, "Hey man, my MOS was “Water Purification.” The other one said he was never required to shoot a pistol because they only shot rifles. Go figure.
I helped BOTH of them without any attitude AND without being “tactical.” I’m ONLY an I.T. Manager.
I made a comment on his account reminding him that when he and I signed our contracts for military service we became part of a standing army controlled by a centralized government.
I have to say that the military is one of the most humbling institutions I’ve ever been a part of. It gives one a lot of pride, but no matter what I’ve accomplished or thought I’d accomplished, there’s always someone who is one or two tiers above me, who has done something or earned something that I haven’t and likely never will.
That’s an odd experience that you describe. We’re taught from day 1 to treat all civilians with respect. Asking someone to wait outside because he’s not a veteran runs against those values we claim to have. It also smacks of ignorance, making assumptions that your contributions are somehow less valuable than another.
On this topic, I don’t have much to say. It’s not just a MoH thing. (I’ve only met a few MoH recipients, and they tend to be very humble people, in spite of- perhaps because of- their accomplishments). There are a lot of veterans who mock tacti-cool gear. It’s seen as almost a stolen valor issue in some cases. I guess I’m more of a live-and-let-live kind of guy. I’m more bothered by veterans who wear their dogtags outside their shirt so they can get a free meal than I am bothered by people who want to play dress-up.
This is why I think that MoH like Meyer has a right to his position, but his station in the community should cause him to pause because it carries so much weight. That it cheapens the recognition.
“It’s seen as almost a stolen valor issue in some cases”
Excellent point, I had not considered that.
Caveat: I never served in the military. I don’t wear tactical gear, period.
That being said, I agree with Dakota Meyer 110%. My inner circle of friends are gung-ho Second Amendment advocates. They own lots of firearms, lots of ammo, and several of them sport the tactical look. They like to talk about what they would do when they meet Mr. Bad Guy or Mr. Mass Shooter. But very few of them shoot more than a couple times a year, and only a couple have served in the military. It’s easy to be Billy Bad A__ with your shiny new pistol or AR in your safe, but I’m guessing quite another thing when SHTF, bullets are flying, and the carnage begins.
I tell my friends, when SHTF, I hope I can perform. I train to perform. But there’s a very real chance I would leave this earth with soiled underpants and empty shell casings around me. I just agree with Mr. Meyer. The vast majority of Tactical Tommy’s that I know are projecting a persona they’ve neither trained for nor earned. His rant is rightful. Carry humbly, quit trying to be something you’re not.
It’s not his sentiment, it’s the way he expresses it. We want our heroes to be humble as well.
The only ones I have seen in “tactical” clothing have actually served, and do know their equipment. Regardless, I wear Hawaiian shirts, but I don’t identify as Polynesian. One wears what is comfortable to him/her and the best clothing to wear is practical for the activity. I work in an office, but when hiking, I wear the proper footwear, not dress shoes, and the rest of my dress and equipment is activity appropriate, completely different than when at the office.
Dave, I stand corrected, you’re right. I made a gross generalization based on my experience. Just because my Tactical Tommy’s are wannabes doesn’t mean everyone is. Great post sir.
Alces, he is abrasive and pompous. He spurned a phone call from the President of the US, sued his employer, and criticized Marine Corps leadership. But I give him a lot of slack. He’s lived the horrors of war and dragged dead friends from the battlefield. He’s given enough for his country, humility is not required.
Humility is never required, but it is almost always appreciated.