Signs, Of Veteran Entitlement.


Earlier in Independence Week we published this piece partially about the now-controversial fireworks signs. It caused some strong reactions, even among our minions. Hernandez now expands upon the signs, entitlement, and victimhood. Mad Duo


Signs, Of Veteran Entitlement.

Chris Hernandez

I won’t go into too much detail, since I’m sure most of you have heard of this already. But apparently some veterans are so traumatized by their wartime service they’re asking people to “be courteous with fireworks” around their homes on July 4th. Because fireworks “trigger” their PTSD.


These signs are being popularized by an organization called “Military with PTSD”, which according to CNN has sent the signs to 2500 veterans and has 3000 more on a waiting list. According to the organization’s founder, the signs aren’t intended to make people stop using fireworks, they’re just asking people to be “courteous”. “No veteran that served the United States wants to take a freedom away from people, especially fireworks, which represent freedom,” she said. “They don’t want them to stop. What they’re asking for is for people to give them a heads up.”

IT’S THE FOURTH OF JULY. Isn’t that heads up enough? Are these signs about “helping vets with PTSD”, or catering to some veterans’ sense of entitlement?

As a combat vet myself, I’ve had – to say the least – a strong reaction to these signs. My gut feeling was something along the lines of, “This is ridiculous. These signs don’t have anything to do with treating PTSD, they’re just a way for some veterans to beg for attention and be special snowflakes.” But I try to be fair, and realize my experiences have given me significant biases. So I tried to rationally analyze the pros and cons of putting those signs in veterans’ yards.

And after careful consideration, I can only conclude that these signs are pathetic, self-defeating crap.

John Adams wrote in 1776 that the Declaration of Independence ought to be celebrated with fireworks. I haven’t found a record of fireworks being used to celebrate in 1776; however, we’ve celebrated with fireworks since literally the first Independence Day commemoration in 1777. We did it while we were at war for our very existence, yet the men who survived massed musket fire and bayonet charges managed to endure fireworks displays without putting “pleafe be ye courteouf with ye olde firework” signs in their front yards.

It goes without saying, or at least it should, that past generations of American warriors experienced combat far worse than that of the typical Iraq or Afghanistan veteran. Yes, today’s warriors have fought some hard fights (Fallujah, Najaf and Sangin come to mind). But in terms of scale, casualties and intensity our wars have been different than many before. We haven’t endured three or four thousand KIAs in a single day like at Normandy and Antietam, or two thousand in 76 hours as at Tarawa. Yet the men who crossed sabers on Civil War battlefields or waded through surf, blood and dead comrades to a beach swept with machinegun bullets and shellfire somehow endured fireworks displays without putting signs in their yards.

What makes veterans of today’s wars different?

We’re not draftees. We’re volunteers. Anyone who enlisted or reenlisted after 9/11 volunteered for military service while our nation was at war. We went to war because of the choices we made, and many of us went back to war because of those same choices. Some veterans consider that wartime service an honor and privilege; the more intense the combat, the greater the honor and privilege.

And we see a growing divide not just between veterans and civilians, but between distinct groups of veterans. Some feel our service made us stronger and more resilient; others see themselves as damaged, and want everyone to know they’re damaged. At least 5500 of them want to advertise their problems to their neighbors, and some of those posted their photos on the internet to share their problems with the world. The cognitive dissonance displayed in some of those photos is astounding; maybe it’s just me, but I see a slight contradiction between someone saying they’re a hardened combat vet yet are uncomfortable with fireworks.


This photo is almost perfect. What’s better than advertising “I’m a combat vet with PTSD, I’m armed and I might react irrationally to fireworks”? The only way to improve it is to add a bottle of whiskey, to achieve the “drunken vet with PTSD and a gun” trifecta.


I have to ask, what do these “combat veterans” expect to actually accomplish with these signs? At best, their close neighbors might see the signs and refrain from using fireworks. But what about the neighbors one street over? What about the people who live ten houses down, never drive past the combat vet’s house and have no idea he’s sensitive to fireworks? Some fireworks can be seen and heard from literally miles away; is the sign going to somehow protect the veteran from fireworks in other neighborhoods?

Sure, these vets “aren’t asking anyone not to use fireworks”. Right. How is one “courteous” with fireworks, short of not using them? Rules and expectations regarding fireworks are already in place: don’t shoot them at other people’s houses, don’t use them in the middle of the night, don’t use them to intentionally bother people. Those rules apply to everyone. We don’t need signs reminding people not to be douches with fireworks.

God forbid these veterans hear unexpected thunder someday. Maybe they should put up a sign saying “Combat veteran lives here. No thunder allowed.”

So other than shouting “I’m damaged and special”, the signs accomplish nothing. And who are we combat vets to ask anyone to change what they do on July 4th? The “I proudly served in combat and I’m better for it” crowd isn’t asking America to change 239 years of tradition. Most of us miss combat, and love fireworks because they remind us of battle.

This meme has recently started floating around the internet, origin unknown.
This meme has recently started floating around the internet, origin unknown.

We wouldn’t ask our neighbors to refrain from using the fireworks we’ve loved since childhood. That would be ridiculous and selfish. We served our nation, we don’t expect it to serve our sensitivities. But the “I’m damaged and special” group sees things differently.

My cynicism strongly suggests to me that the majority of these “combat vets” aren’t combat vets at all. If their service records were examined, I’d expect to learn that most never left the wire, were subjected to sporadic and wildly inaccurate rocket and mortar fire while stationed on a huge FOB, and since returning home have milked the “traumatized veteran” myth for all its worth. That myth is easy to milk; “how to fake PTSD” discussions are online, with gems of wisdom such as,

“It is hard to get diagnosed with PTSD. However, if you act crazy enough you’ll eventually get it. I beat my wife a few times, got a few DUIs, went crazy on a few people including police officers and I got me a big montly check. Now I hang out at the gym, drink beers in the evening and got to counseling every once in a while to prove that I’m still crazy. Since I am almost 100% PTSD people expect me to act crazy so I get away with a few things. Don’t give up and you’ll get your check.”

And keep in mind you don’t even have to experience trauma to be diagnosed by the VA with PTSD. A rule passed by the VA in 2010 “…establishes that noninfantry personnel can qualify for PTSD disability if they had good reason to fear danger, such as firefights or explosions, even if they did not actually experience it.” ( Because of that rule, among other reasons, if I ever see one of these signs in a front yard my first thought will be “He was probably never in actual combat and is just doing this for attention” instead of “that poor warrior fought in so many battles he can’t even be around fireworks anymore”.


Of course, because I wrote this I’ll be accused of not supporting veterans with PTSD, and will likely receive comments suggesting people like me are to blame for veteran suicides. So I’ll address that nonsense now. First, I think anyone with problems should get help for those problems. I mean actual, professional help, rather than engage in attention-seeking behavior that reeks of entitlement. I don’t believe for a second that these signs help anyone with anything, and are actually harmful because they reinforce myths and stigma instead of urging PTSD patients to overcome their problems. I don’t think “garner as much pity as possible” is a step in healing PTSD.

And I’m pushing veterans to commit suicide? Bullshit. The “those war veterans are all sick in the head and you have to be careful around them” lie is. Recall the CNN article I referenced earlier. The title is “How combat veterans are coping with July Fourth fireworks”. Not some combat veterans, not a few combat veterans, but combat veterans period. That headline, and the myth that goes with it, convinces people that we all have problems, rather than acknowledging that most combat vets “cope” with July 4th by lighting fireworks at a barbecue.

Next, I’ll get the inevitable “You can’t compare one veteran’s trauma with another’s” comment. YES, I CAN. It is the height of stupidity to suggest a soldier who literally heard one rocket impact miles away one time suffered the same level of trauma as those who kicked doors in and shot enemy in the face as friends were killed around them. Being traumatized by the possibility of an IED attack that never happened doesn’t equal my experience with IED close calls and long-range firefights, and my experience doesn’t equal those of Marines who fought their way through Hue City. And it’s not just me saying this; even the VA acknowledges not all combat experience is the same, and uses a Combat Exposure Scale to evaluate wartime trauma. In my experience, the people screaming “You can’t judge my combat experience” are the ones who have the least.

No, I’m not saying every last veteran with these signs is full of crap (although my tone sure suggests it). Nor am I saying PTSD doesn’t cause real, verifiable problems and sensitivities to things like fireworks. I am saying, however, that our personal problems are not the general public’s responsibility. If we have issues we need to handle them ourselves, not expect our communities to change their behavior for us.

Every veteran who handles his issues wins a victory that helps us all. Every veteran who embraces victimhood and displays a sense of entitlement reinforces damaging stereotypes that hurt us all. So burn those stupid fucking signs, light some fireworks, and be grateful that your neighbors still celebrate our independence the way we have for over two hundred years.


Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!

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breachbangclear.com_site_images_Chris_Hernandez_Author_BreachBangClear4Chris Hernandez Mad Duo Chris (seen here on patrol in Afghanistan) may just be the crustiest member of the eeeee-LIGHT writin’ team here at Breach-Bang-Clear. He is a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Army National Guard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a veteran police officer of two decades who spent a long (and eye-opening) deployment as part of a UN police mission in Kosovo. He is the author of White Flags & Dropped Rifles – the Real Truth About Working With the French Army and The Military Within the Military as well as the modern military fiction novels Line in the Valley and Proof of Our Resolve. When he isn’t groaning about a change in the weather and snacking on Osteo Bi-Flex he writes on his own blog, Iron Mike Magazine, Kit Up! and Under the Radar. You can find his author page here on Tactical 16.

Chris Hernandez

Chris Hernandez may just be the crustiest member of the eeeee-LITE writin’ team here at Breach-Bang-Clear. He is a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Army National Guard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a veteran police officer of two decades who spent a long (and eye-opening) deployment as part of a UN police mission in Kosovo. He is the author of White Flags & Dropped Rifles – the Real Truth About Working With the French Army and The Military Within the Military as well as the modern military fiction novels Line in the Valley, Proof of Our Resolve and Safe From the War. When he isn’t groaning about a change in the weather and snacking on Osteo Bi-Flex he writes on his own blog.

Chris Hernandez has 109 posts and counting. See all posts by Chris Hernandez

220 thoughts on “Signs, Of Veteran Entitlement.

  • July 30, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    It seems to be that many on here have no idea what PTSD can do to a person. My Daughter and I suffer through the two weeks surrounding the 4th of July. It sounds like bombs going off that literally shake my walls and windows and goes on every night far into the morning for two weeks or more. Having been in prolonged combat, to include a last stand that might have ended my life if not for a last minute appearance of air support, and having PTSD I can tell you that I hate that time period. I don’t have sign on my front lawn nor to I make a big deal out of my service, but seeing some of the remarks on this stream shows just how uneducated and outright stupid some folks can be. You don’t know shit, haven’t done shit and then run your fucking mouth on a forum like this. The FAGS running their mouths about PTSD and “Manning up” are just that, never been anyway, never did anything and probably had their face buried in their life partners lap on some large base.

  • July 13, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Well spoken. I served in Afghanistan and will never say it wasn’t hard being away from my family but that was it for me. I was a motor sergeant on KAF and only left once to a FOB for 4 days. I was artillery for 6 yrs and one firemens fair we fired blanks. We were not notfied that one of the firefighters had shell shock from Vietnam. When we fired the first round several firefighters came running out to tell us don’t fire another yet. The veteran had hit the floor and started crawling under the tables set up in the firehouse.

    Needless to say they calmed him down we got to apologize and he went home for a few hours when we fired off each day and night the event went on.

    • July 13, 2015 at 7:30 pm


      Do you think fireworks were the problem?

      If fireworks “cause” veterans with PTSD to kill themselves, why didn’t we have massive waves of veteran suicides on July 4th and New Year’s after WW1, or WW2, or Korea, or Vietnam, or any previous (or later) wars?

      Kraft obviously had a problem that wasn’t properly addressed. If he was so fragile that simply hearing fireworks caused him to commit suicide, he needed more help than a sign in his yard.

      You might also notice that the article says he wasn’t at home when he heard the fireworks. So should everyone everywhere within hearing distance of wherever Kreft might have been stopped using fireworks? Is that reasonable to ask? Is it likely to work?

      I don’t want to see anyone commit suicide either. But putting an ineffective sign in a yard isn’t going to save anyone’s life.

  • July 11, 2015 at 12:18 am

    I tell you what good the sign does…In my neighborhood in my small Alaskan community, people usually start setting off fireworks at random times starting a month or so before the 4th. Then the continue on at random times for several weeks after the 4th. Also, it seems that each year the fireworks getbigger and louder. I am not a vet but I was involved in a shooting once and I’ve always loved fireworks on the 4th but dreaded the lead up to the 4th and the few weeks afterwards because the shots are unexpected. This year a vet put up a sign 2 doors down from me and this year we had about 75% fewer pre and post 4th of July fireworks. I know it was the sign because I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 17 years. People changed their behavior out of respect, something I think we owe them…and maybe (her) PTSD is fake and she only an attention seeker, but personally I am not one to judge another person’s needs. I can choose to accomodate their request or not. I think we should give them the benefit of the doubt.

    • July 11, 2015 at 10:19 pm

      I concede that a sign appears to have had an effect in a small Alaskan community. I doubt such a sign would have any effect in my community, but a small rural neighborhood is different. And effective in your case or not, I still don’t believe we have any standing to ask anyone to change their normal and innocent behavior in order to cater to our sensitivities.

      I also have to ask, are gunshots common around your small Alaskan community?

  • July 10, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    All I want to say is Thank You so much for your service so that I can choose to (or not to) shoot fireworks very courteously around my neighbors who may or may not be combat veterans… That’s really what it’s all about isn’t it? Each one of the brave men and women that have served this country, served to save our freedom, served so we COULD choose to post what we feel, shoot fireworks and live free! So, thank you again for your service, your sacrifice.

  • July 10, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    Do some research. The signs are not about the 4th of July they are for every other day of the year. As you stated our independence should be celebrated with fireworks. Awesome. I light them. What about the other 364 days they go off when we are not expecting them.

    • July 10, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      So these signs are up 24/7/365?

      Why did Military with PTSD distribute them for the 4th of July, if they’re for every day of every month?

  • July 10, 2015 at 10:31 am

    I agreed with a large part of this article, I get so tired of hearing the war stories from posers looking for attention. Ptsd is real and it is dangerous if not treated but I get so angry when I hear stories of how people played the system to get the diagnosis. After getting blown up and spending many months in the hospital recovering ptsd is the only diagnosis I fought. I’ll admit it now because it made me lose so much like my family and such, but as far as me expecting society to change for me, that is out of the question. I don’t go out and celebrate with fireworks on the 4th. I like the sparkly ones but the mortars are still a little much, so what do I do about it. I but then for my children and I let them go celebrate. I stay inside and watch tv. The sound of a far off boom doesn’t make me go crazy but the up close ones make me uncomfortable. It was the last thing I heard before I was torn apart. But I still remember how much I used to love them and would never ask anybody to refrain from using them just because of me. Why would I go from selfless service to selfish serve me? I want America to celebrate, celebrate loud and long, enjoy the time of year however you want, but at the same time don’t judge me just because I prefer not to. As far as those signs go, it’s retarded. I don’t want to be identified as the psycho vet that lives in our block. Why would you ever draw attention to yourself. Wasn’t the key to being a good soldier a strong show of force? Not a deliberate show of weakness. But then again this is just me and my experiences, there will always be those profile jockeys, and those punk ass posers.

    • July 13, 2015 at 7:08 pm


      Thanks for your comment and service, and I hope you continue to heal. A good friend of mine went through the same thing, his humvee was blown in half by a large buried IED that killed two of his friends. That happened in 09, and he’s still recovering.

  • July 10, 2015 at 1:57 am

    Our dear servicemen! I stood at the air port on a day when hundreds of you left! I cried for the risk your family took by letting you go! I watched them cry and I heard them say it was to make it safer for there’re younger brothers and sisters and instead they came home all whacked out and scared the living hell out of the kids the were saying with great pride they were trying to save. Is this the way you show love? If they need help get them help if fireworks scare them then don’t send them home they need help not signs. Fight to help the don’t know what if anything I could do but I will do what is asked! I was so lucky not to have brothers to go and my boys missed the draft! But I can help I can do my part right here! Just ask

  • July 9, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    Being ready for the Fourth is one thing. I EXPECT fireworks on July 4th and New Years Eve. What is a struggle is when I’m sitting on my back deck, ten days or more BEFORE the holiday and shit starts blowing up around my house. There is no sign in front of my house but I would be grateful for just a little heads up. I’ll be more than happy to put in my headphones and crank em up and I do like the light show. Instead, I hit the wood and rolled under the table,nobody else but my dog to seek attention from (and he was down there with me). I cussed myself for being a fuckin jumpy asshat, picked myself up and went inside for an ice pack. MaybMaybe that’s the courtesy the sign is asking for.

    • July 13, 2015 at 7:04 pm

      Dee, I’m not saying people shouldn’t be courteous. But the public in general isn’t going to change their normal behavior for you.

      Do you think a sign would stop anyone from popping fireworks before and after the 4th?

  • July 9, 2015 at 11:29 pm


    Thank You, for writing about us, & for caring enough to get the word out there regarding Vets, PTSD, & Fireworks..

    I, myself, dread seeing the 4th of July for that very reason. It does not take very much to trigger my PTSD @ all, but having to hear Fireworks constantly going off for 3 solid days, more that triggers & sets my PTSD off!

    Chris, Thank You for everything you have done & continue to do, & Thank You for being the person you are. The world needs more people like You!


    • July 9, 2015 at 11:54 pm


      I do agree w/ you about the Signs.. I, myself, have Never posted any signs, however I do HATE Fireworks. Have I gone or would I go to see them, Yes.. They are Beautiful to watch if you are on the water bc you can NOT HEAR THEM!

      YES, my PTSD is more than triggered & YES hearing the pop pop popping sounds do trigger FlashBacks.. But, I also have a fellow Vet friend of mine, who’s PTSD is so so MUCH WORSE than mine, to the point that he has his home ( Front & Back ) “Rigged” for anyone who “Approaches” ~ unless he knows ahead of time that you are coming!!

      I also more than have EXTREME SLEEP ISSUES bc of the PTSD! I DO NOT SLEEP, & when I do manage to sleep, the slightest sound will wake me up!

      Thank You, Again…


    • July 9, 2015 at 7:41 pm


      I read that story this morning. Let me ask you a few questions:

      1) Do you think the fireworks were the cause or proximate cause of his suicide?

      2) Are the people who used fireworks around him responsible for his death? Should they be punished?

      3) What good do you think the signs would have done in this case? According to the article, Mike Kreft wasn’t at home when he heard fireworks. “Jon Kreft says he and his brother Mike were in a bar playing pool, when Mike, an Army Combat veteran, began hearing fireworks.”

      One thing I specifically mentioned in my essay is that there is no way to get all your neighbors to stop using fireworks. A sign won’t be seen or heeded by everyone who sees it. Should Kreft’s PTSD have been handled by expecting everyone around his house and the bar he was at to stop using fireworks, or for him to get the professional help he obviously needed?

      Be as mad as you want at me. I’m telling people who need help to get help, instead of supporting the use of a sign that accomplishes nothing at all.

  • July 9, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    I am a combat vet. I have PTSD. I love fireworks and I miss combat. I have disabled veteran played on my vehicle because, Damnit, I got blown up and occasionally I have to walk with a cane. Fireworks really only affect me when I’m asleep. They trigger nightmares sometimes and that makes me dangerous to be around for my wife who is significantly smaller than me. (I thrash.) Does this stop us from going camping every year at my reservation for my tribes annual pow wow? No. I just take my sleep aid and sleep in the other tent. I have no sign in my yard. When I’m aware and awake, I LOVE fireworks.

    I’m with you on this one buddy. SCOUTS OUT!!

  • July 9, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Chris, I wonder if the vet in one of your pictures knew his shirt was misspelled. “Comfortabe”? Maybe it was intentional, and he isn’t actually “comfortable”. Anyway, thanks for writing this article. I can’t help but think how the Revolutionary war must have been hell, and how the soldiers there went through trauma and explosions and death. Many of them had PTSD (or “shell shock). Yet somehow, they came out of it with a desire for a yearly celebration and remembrance of that revolution and called for…wait for it…fireworks! “I believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival,” John Adams wrote his wife, Abigail. “It ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other…”

    • July 9, 2015 at 7:32 pm


      Actually, that guy contacted me. “Comfortable” isn’t misspelled on his shirt, there’s just a fold in the shirt that hides the L. That guys is actually an infantry combat vet, and I’m writing a follow-up about him in a few days.

  • July 9, 2015 at 11:49 am

    I’m a vet. I didn’t see combat. My husband did. Fireworks don’t bother him. War movies do, so we don’t watch them. Fireworks are not the problem. Not seeking help is the problem. Fireworks don’t make someone suicidal. They can be the final straw if you’re not getting the help you need. It is infuriating to see people stand on the backs of soldiers to get attention. The signs are an embarrassment. If you need help, find a therapist not a yard sign.

  • July 9, 2015 at 11:37 am

    So I hear you saying that the fireworks on the 4th are not supposed to be an issue. I agree wholeheartedly. I am married to someone who has been diagnosed with PTSD and he sure the hell wasn’t a fobbit. He does not oppose the fireworks on the 4th, he turns up the TV and ignores them. The ones he said that the sign is really for are the ones on the 30th or the 1st or the 2nd or the 3rd. The practice ones or the ones that are lit on the weekend after the 4th because some ass was too drunk to light them all. The first year he was back from his third tour someone lit fireworks in September, I was shoved to the ground in a dress. He was protecting me but my dress tore and he was pretty upset for a few hours because he was in front of people he didn’t want seeing he had that weakness. You are right, being an ass and posting this sign on the 4th is stupid, but assholes come in all shapes and sizes and those who have never served rarely think about what an explosion can do.

  • July 9, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Well said sir. I am a veteran of numerous OOTW, andmy experiences pale in comparison to Gettysburg, Verdun, Normandy, Guadacanal, Chosin, the Ai Shau, Khe Sanh, the Gulf War, Fallujah, the Korengal, and numerous others that I could continue to list. I have worked doing intake fr the VA as well as being trained as a Peer Support Specialist working with Veta from all wars WWII forward. I parted ways with the VA for just the reasons you have discussed. At the end of WWII the nation welcomed them home and we let them get right back into life, after Korea their nation promptly forgot their sacrifices and moved on, during and after Vietnam this nation allowed political expediency and wholesale pandering to a vocal minority to demonize and dehumanize our fighting men and women. No we arrive at the modern age where we have succumbed to the cult of victimhood, and while those who spak against our veterans is is a minuscule number of blowhards, as a nation we have used our resources not to create systems which show compassion and lead our wounded veterans back into life affirming work and activity which allows them to be proud but productive in their lives, but have instead medicated and incentives the nature of trauma. Our nation has made it more profitable for our young veterans to be “hurt” and “unemployable” rather than on a journey of recovery, and purpose. I thank you sir for standing up and saying what needs to be said, and I salute your service to our nation.

  • July 9, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Well Chris you were right as you stirred up some shit. Just because people were in the military does make them stand up guys as I knew some of the worst people when I was in.

    I hate the “thanks for your service” as I don’t know what to do with that as I joined for adventure and because I was 18 and it sounded like a good idea. Yes I have a number of service related injuries but I don’t need anyone’s sympathy. I don’t expect anyone to act differently around me and I hate the sympathetic look when people here I was in military.

    I am so very tired of everyone feeling they are a victims, military or not, and deserve special treatment. That is not to say people do not need understanding but do not make your life about it. Perhaps I can get a shirt that says “neck, back, shoulder injuries from military – thanks for your understanding in advance”.

    Yea I agree that the ones who have the signs are just seeking attention. Go to the VA and get treatment and do not make your life about this.

  • July 9, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Chris – PTSD is a personal issue. Two people can go through the same “traumatogenic” situation and one will get it and the other wont. So it is quite possible for a distant rocket to affect someone more than an up close IED. It might not sound right but we are talking about a culmination of biology (fight/flight/freeze), thoughts and personal history… The PCL, CAPS and other clinical screening instruments try to capture how the person remains affected. Regardless of the traumatogenic situation the symptoms determine severity of PTSD and not the situation. Also, it’s not PTSD unless there is a discrete memory that “intrudes”, causes “flashbacks”, or nightmares (about that situation). PTSD is over diagnosed and many people do still suffer from depression and/or anxiety but are given PTSD diagnosis because of the current perception – it’s a badge of honor or validation for many Vets.

    I study and treat trauma day in and day out both in and out of the military. I was a medic and deployed to Iraq with an infantry unit doing some OST missions for Intel guys. Now I’m a wizard/BSO and work for the VA. My doctoral work was all on trauma and PTSD in particular. I’m writing and setting up a website that will go live later -when i get enough material uploaded- that speaks to PTSD, it’s birth and where it is now (good and bad). Look forward to continuing the conversation.

    • July 9, 2015 at 7:25 pm


      I understand that even if a traumatic event seems relatively benign to someone else, it can still severely affect someone. However, where is the line? The CEO of Military with PTSD writes in his book that he was severely affected by a 2-week antiterrorism class in the Navy. I’m not kidding. Is watching PowerPoints about guarding a ship for two weeks traumatic? Does it produce or contribute to PTSD?

      What about soldiers who claim ptsd from basic training? I think that’s absolute crap, but am I being judgmental? Can basic training scar someone for life?

      I appreciate what you do and respect your opinion, and I understand that we don’t want to turn away anyone who really needs help. But do we ever call BS on “trauma” that’s just regular life?

  • July 9, 2015 at 8:40 am

    EVERY FUCKING “VETERAN” these days is on WELFARE (disability) and scared of fireworks. Man the fuck up guys. My gosh

  • July 8, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Is a combat vet don’t claim PTSD because that means I have a problem and I don’t have fucking problem. I am a cop now and was training a rookie this 4th and was trying to give him instructions, I work in the getto and love it, when an artillery shell went off right by our vehicle cause some kid though that would be funny to do to the police. I have been through a few IED in Iraq but that didn’t mean I crawled into the floor and sucked my thumb. Nope I just laughed that shit off and chased the little shits down. Moral of the story, quit being a bitch and move past it, shit happened and is nothing you can do about it but ruck the fuxk up and move on.

  • July 6, 2015 at 7:28 am

    This isn’t attention seeking or anything. Stfu and let people live their lives however they feel necessary. So, you protect the freedom we have and then give people shot for how they choose to be free? All I can do is laugh. Go eat a grenade

  • July 5, 2015 at 11:07 pm

    I was a CAV Scout in 1st CAV during OIF II. I was hit by 4 IEDS at different times and 1 RPG that hit the windshield of the up-armored Humvee I was driving. After surviving that, there is no way on Earth I would ever consider killing myself, let alone put one of these (for lack of a better word) queer ass signs in front of my house. Don’t be part of the pussification of America….

  • July 5, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Dumbest argument I have seen. You can’t assume to know other peoples problems with fireworks.

    It’s merely a sign asking for courtesy. A lot of points are valid and sure they may be doing it for attention but the fact one would bother to complain about it and then claim they are screaming for attention should take a look in the mirror.

    • July 6, 2015 at 7:33 am

      Amen. I’d rather live next door to those people than the GI Joe wanna be.

  • July 5, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Well at least you know there will be fireworks on the 4th right. It is not like it’s a surprise. I can’t understand why anyone would want to advertise to the whole community unless it was to garner some sympathy. But to each their own I guess.

  • July 5, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Any real vet will suck it up once again on the 4th of July without letting the world know they are sensitive, i have a T.B.I and wear my earpro every 4th. The sign wouldnt help anything! Learn to adapt and move forward

    • July 6, 2015 at 7:37 am

      A real vet? Mind telling me what that means? Obviously, I’m missing the picture here bc i thought a vet was someone who protected freedom and didn’t make fun of someone for how they use it. Chew on a IED

      • July 6, 2015 at 10:25 am

        You don’t know much about “real vets”. No, my service doesn’t mean I support all exercises of freedom. Some exercises of freedom I simply tolerate because I know they’re legal, such as Westboro Baptist Church protests. Some legal behavior by veterans is both free and ridiculous, and part of my freedom is pointing out how ridiculous that behavior is.

  • July 5, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    I’m really glad I took the time to read this. I’ve been saying this same thing for years. Yes, some vets understandably have real PTSD but not the amount that claim it. What about all the service men and women that are still in? I’m on a military base right now and don’t see any of those signs. It’s only in civilian communities where military families are rare. That’s why I believe it’s used to get some type of attention. The majority of major combat was seen by people still serving, with few issues.

    • July 5, 2015 at 6:01 pm

      As I’ve learned since I began writing about PTSD frauds, combat isn’t necessary to have PTSD, plenty of veterans have horrible PTSD from things like hearing one distant rocket impact or going to basic training or even attending an antiterrorism course, and anyone who questions the validity of those PTSD cases hates the troops.

  • July 5, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Well, this is interesting. The CEO and founder of Military with PTSD, the organization distributing these signs, apparently developed PTSD while attending a Navy anti-terrorism course.

    “We ran drill after drill until we stopped hesitating when it came to everyone. Everything I thought I knew and thought about people changed then. No one could be trusted. My view on life now was simple, everyone is the enemy.”

    Stories like this are why I don’t immediately accept every PTSD claim without question.

  • July 5, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    Author was in such a rush to present his agenda he forgot to connect the dots.

    Sometimes a sign is just a sign 🙂

  • July 5, 2015 at 1:15 pm


    Thanks for posting the signs. It has stirred a lot of different emotions but I have to say that it definitely described my feelings about the signs. I hope the vets that are suffering continue to find the help they need. A lot of people had some outstanding input, discussions were opened some good some not so good. Anyway, that’s what freedom of speech is all about. Well at least that’s my opinion.

    • July 5, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Thank you Doc, I appreciate that. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned yet is that I don’t think the signs should be banned or anything ridiculous like that. As you said, freedom of speech. But I do think the signs are harmful both to the individuals who post them and to the veteran community at large. So I use my freedom of speech to counter that harm.

  • July 5, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Two of the most over the top guys doing fireworks that I’ve ever met were Vietnam combat vets. One of them made a lot of his own “based on what I learned in ‘Nam” because “the stuff you can buy doesn’t sound like the real thing.” I enjoyed witnessing his displays – from a distance.

    Thanks vets for what you do.

  • July 5, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Don’t really understand your problem – 22 veterans every day commit suicide, that’s the average for several years now, making suicide the leading cause of death among veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe you aren’t aware? I wasn’t, until I spent a year working with a veterans support organization. If a sign makes somebody feel better, then I’ll go post the sign myself. Do I have a sign? No – as several others have said, I try not to advertise my business. Do I have PTSD? No – but I do have the typical “flight or flight” response when I hear a loud sound: accelerated heart rate, seeking cover, etc. I was never in “combat”, although I was outside the wire in Afghanistan a few times during the 2 years I spent there.

    • July 5, 2015 at 1:32 pm


      The problem is that publicly identifying yourself as a suffering, sensitive combat veteran isn’t an effective means of treatment, nor is asking the public to change their normal behavior to suit your personal sensitivities. On a larger scale, those signs reflect on all of us and reinforce the stereotype of the poor, pitiful, damaged veteran who everyone must tiptoe around because he may react with irrational violence. The reinforcement of that destructive stereotype becomes worse if it’s being committed by people who don’t really have PTSD but are faking symptoms because they want free VA money. And in the end, the stigma against veterans and the leeches who steal resources from veterans who truly need help both contribute to the problem of veteran suicides.

  • July 5, 2015 at 12:13 pm

    Interesting read. Very entertaining. Clearly you guys were members of your unit’s peanut gallery. I am sure you terrified everyone in your unit with your stinging wit and super macho-tough-guy logic. I actually always liked those guys. I was just never clever enough to be in the tribe. I was smart enough, however to never go down range where and end up a target of your rapid fire insults. The subjects of your post clearly aren’t so lucky. A few things: first, many points in your article reasonate with me, even though you seem to paint with a broad brush. You do make several attempts to qualify your statements and iron out your arguments with reason, yet you fail to really illuminate on several of your points. Shocker Alert: some vets like the attention they get for being Vets. Christ! the guys who own this site are on Facebook, Twitter, this site, and God knows what else. I agree the signs are the equivalent of a cougar mom taking a high angle car selfie of her enormous cleavage, then complaining about some non-germain topic about how she loves driving her kids to school every morning. We live in a culture that values narcissism! Where have you been? Really, who gives a crap that 2000 vets/fake vets/vets with PTSD/vets who fake PTSD put idiot signs in their yards that tell the world they are some kind of wounded combat vet? Their actions as annoying and self-serving as they may be really doesn’t harm anyone does it? Most all of us know there will be people who take advantage of the fact they participated, however limited it was, in a conflict. Some will completely lie and take the mantle of Combat Vet while never even serving! We call those people sick. I personally feel sorry for them no matter how abohorrent their lies are to me. Fact is, there are a lot worse things messed up people could be doing than lying about serving in the military, or worse yet, lying about serving in combat. You also seem to break combat vets into classes to make your point about Suffering the effects of PTSD. You seem to pretty close to discounting the service of combat vets who “never crossed the wire” that’s basically a bullshit statement. The guys who got blown up on the U.S. Cole never crossed some “wire” what about the people who were killed in the rear doing their jobs so you guys “outside of the wire” had the bullets to kill the bad guys. We live in a country where millions of people are so terrified getting robbed or raped they feel compelled to go to the local Wal Mart armed to the teeth. So perhaps we can excuse the thousands of already paranoid Americans who ended up on a massive FOB sweating explosions every so often. To me I see no distinction between them and soldiers who spent time “outside the wire” no more so than I see any distinction between combat infantry who fought in Iraq from infantry who charged the wall at Fredericksburg. You all are heros in my book. Last point, stop watching CNN. That maybe the biggest time suck in human history.

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  • July 5, 2015 at 11:18 am

    So, while fireworks actually do bother me quite a bit, those signs bother me, too.

    Do we not realize we live in an era where nearly everyone thinks “trolling” is how you’re *SUPPOSED* to treat people?

    Forget the ISIS paranoia… you put one of those signs out, and every immature mouthbreathing fuckwit on the block is going to make it a point to set off every firecracker string and explody item they can get their hands off, right in front of your house.

    I will point out, though, that who are any of you to say whose PTSD is more “real” than anyone else’s?

    Do I understand how a FOBBIT can come back with PTSD? No, not really. Survivior’s Guilt, sure, but not PTSD. But it happens, and I don’t question it, because I know how it feels when my actual-combat PTSD is questioned.

    • July 5, 2015 at 11:22 am

      Also: I don’t know why anyone would fake the funk for those piddly VA checks. I’m rated 100%, and even then it’s not enough to live by yourself on. At least not in any way approaching comfortable.

      Plus, the pain in the dick you have to go through to get there isn’t worth it unless you actually are incredibly fucked-up.

  • July 5, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Chris, spot on!!! I’ve been subtle about asking people about their war service, and from what I gather most of them are full of crap! I’m not saying I’m a badass or anything in that regard but o pounded some ground in ramadi in 2005 and seen and did some crazy shit! I grow tired of people absorbing time at the VA for those that really need it. We all have our demons but we live in an entitlement age that’s really drowning the system! Happy 4th brother and all my fellow soldiers!

  • July 5, 2015 at 10:44 am

    I am a combat veteran, 1st. Battalion, 5th Marines, Vietnam 1967-68. 0311 grunt. I’ve heard a hell of a lot of loud explosions and bullets flying, and they never sounded like fireworks to me, which have a distinctly different sound. Back in the day, some guys used to feign “flinching” etc. When they heard a fireworks sound. I think it was bullshit then and it’s still bullshit. All the fireworks on the Fourth of July don’t even come close to a firefight. Get over it.

  • July 5, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Each year as the fourth approaches my dogs change because of all the fireworks. I feel for them and do what I can to help them. Yet I love fireworks! So I can understand a lil what they are saying.

    Just because we have had 239 years of traditions doesn’t me we don’t have to adjust. As we’ve grown and learned from each other we decided to cage tridition. One the the biggest is slavery. Where once it was an accepted practice, now we know that it was a huge tragidy! So don’t be so prepared to stick with tradition. Have some flexability !

  • July 5, 2015 at 10:24 am

    I think you make some valid points and i also think that part of it is our social problem of over sharing. My husband has ptsd and doesn’t want anyone to know. I was in the military myself but never deployed to a combat zone so i can’t even imagine what he has gone through. I have met a lot of posers who make up stories and are so eager to share their experiences and that is how i know they are posers because if you have actually experienced real shit you don’t want to talk about it or advertise it for everyone. Sometimes it is really hard for me to understand my husbands ptsd and i could see misguided relatives buying these signs because a lot of the time i don’t know what to do to help my husband. I just hope that yhe ones that really need help get the help yhey need.

  • July 5, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Spot on as I have a nephew who as a kid right out of High School has “survivor’s” guilt and only talked about it once when he was under the influence of adult beverages. They were under attack in Iraq and his Platoon Leader and all but he and another comrade were killed. He doesn’t wear it on his sleeve and he keeps enlisting for additional service. I’m a proud Uncle.

  • July 5, 2015 at 8:27 am

    I’m still hoping one day we can simply stop bitching at each other! Not likely I guess…. But I’m hoping!

  • July 5, 2015 at 7:16 am

    I agree with most of this but disagree with some. Service records wouldn’t show whether or not you went outside the wire. What are you going to base that off of, their MOS? Here is a news flash, infantry aren’t the only ones going out on missions. Even intelligence weenies are going out with the platoons. And if you really went out you would know that too.

    • July 5, 2015 at 10:51 am

      In Afghanistan I was an intelligence weenie who regularly went out with infantry. Yes, I’m aware not only infantry go on missions.

  • July 5, 2015 at 5:08 am

    Spot on, great article. But…I get the opinion that you assume only grunts are seeing actual combat. Maybe I misread or am just stupid. Am I mistaken in this thought?

    • July 5, 2015 at 10:50 am


      I answered in another comment of yours, where you were assuming I believe only grunts see combat. Yes, you are mistaken. I was never infantry. On my second deployment was actually an intel soldier going on missions with Afghan and French infantry, and in Iraq I was a tanker on a convoy escort team. I have never written, in any essay I’ve ever published, one single sentence claiming only infantry fight or get PTSD.

      Serious request: please look back at my essay and point out what gave you the idea that I was infantry, or that I believe only infantry are in combat.

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  • July 5, 2015 at 1:19 am

    Some veterans are getting their panties in a knot over some veterans putting signs in their yard asking neighbors to exercise restraint with fireworks. For those veterans getting their panties in a knot, and spouting off about it, including Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyers, who proclaims to love fireworks because they remind him of war, stay in your lane and kindly shut your pieholes. Those of us that are affected by explosives could give two fucks what you think of us or the signs in our yards.

    • July 5, 2015 at 10:44 am

      If you don’t care, why are you here commenting?

      • July 9, 2015 at 7:49 pm

        Because YOU are, sperm-face!

        • July 9, 2015 at 8:44 pm

          I’ll take that as a compliment on my masculinity.

  • July 5, 2015 at 12:48 am

    This seems to be very much an American thing. I am in the CF (never deoloyed) and have never really seen this phenomenon carried out to this kind of extent in Canada. I have seen some of the guys who come back from the Stan’ milk the combat veteran sympathy thing but generally we don’t have that pervasive military culture that they do in the States’. Can any other international readers comment on this kind of thing? Any Aussies or Brits?

  • July 5, 2015 at 12:17 am

    I am pretty sure you found what I said about a bunch of bitch vets with this sign, and made it bigger and better! I basically was saying the exact thing last week to the fucking whine bags!

    • July 9, 2015 at 7:49 pm

      Found it! So, you’re a pathetic little cunt too!

  • July 5, 2015 at 12:16 am

    I have two simple words to you for writing this article: Thank You.

    • July 9, 2015 at 7:48 pm

      I have two simple words for you: Fucking Asshole

      • July 9, 2015 at 8:43 pm

        I’d just like to thank John Doe for leaving so many comments and thereby driving up my essay’s search engine ranking. Appreciate it, brother!

  • July 4, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    This is why, sometimes, a vet needs to be told to shut the fuck up, because their idiocy produces an article like this.

    ” It goes without saying, or at least it should, that past generations of American warriors experienced combat far worse than that of the typical Iraq or Afghanistan veteran. Yes, today’s warriors have fought some hard fights (Fallujah, Najaf and Sangin come to mind). But in terms of scale, casualties and intensity our wars have been different than many before. We haven’t endured three or four thousand KIAs in a single day like at Normandy and Antietam, or two thousand in 76 hours as at Tarawa. Yet the men who crossed sabers on Civil War battlefields or waded through surf, blood and dead comrades to a beach swept with machinegun bullets and shellfire somehow endured fireworks displays without putting signs in their yards.”

    First off, our generation has the longest average time spent in direct contact. The reason we don’t have the same number of KIA is not because fewer of us get hurt, but our medical trauma care is significantly better than “throw a bandage on him and hump him through the jungle.” When I was in Kunar in 07 and 08 we were told if we got fucked up in some way, we were probably going to die. At the time our only medevac was out of Jalalabad with a flight time of an hour. Today that’s not so much an issue except for some of the most remote parts of Afghanistan. When Sam was blown up air was landing by the time we had him all tourniqueted and bandaged up. Travis Mills was one of the first quadruple amputees to survive thanks in no small part to our SOPs for care under fire.

    Let’s not forget, too, that the still reigning champion of most lives taken is the .50 cal lead ball. Not this full metal jacket and penetrator sissy shit we have now, but that old school muzzle candy. If you got hit with one of those fuckers there was no such thing as a flesh wound. It would hit bone and fragment, turning into a mini shotgun blast inside your body. Let’s not even get into things like infections and unsanitary conditions. Surgical tools would be used person to person without being cleaned, painkillers back then was a bottle of whiskey if you were lucky.

    But here’s the real issue, you’re right, they didn’t have signs. Instead they had reputations of being a mean drunk lost in the war and it was better to just stay away from them. Soldiers for over 3000 years have tried to drown the horrors of war with booze, drugs, sex and every other vice you can think of. That’s why the homeless in this country mostly consists of veterans. That’s why we have the highest rate of unemployment. We also have the highest suicide rate and many of us will end up as alcoholics and addicts.

    Me personally, I wouldn’t put one of these signs up simply because I don’t want people to know my business. But I’d be lying if I said the fireworks don’t freak me the fuck out. That’s why I’m inside writing this, but every once in awhile a big one goes off and catches me off guard. My point is, before you go running around telling people to suck it up because we didn’t have it so bad, you might look at your own history. Are you pissed off because you are struggling and not getting help because you think it would make you a pussy, or are you pissed because you feel guilty and like you didn’t do enough?

    See, you don’t speak for me. And yes, what you wrote is going to sadly kill someone who thinks they got it until that one night they don’t and everything goes to shit. I would rather sniff out the liars than lose another brother because he thought it was weak or entitled to seek help. In short, mind your fucking business and stay in your lane.

    One last thing, as someone who is currently going through the medical retirement process for PTSD, let me tell you, the VA doesn’t fuck around. They’re not just handing out money like Oprah. They go through your entire medical history and substantiate every claim you make. You have to go to an independent therapist with no ties to the DOD to be diagnosed and have it accepted. Trust me when I say that these people see so many people that they know how to spot a bullshitter. It’s not hard, especially for someone who has it. Little shit they say just doesn’t add up, not just their stories but their actions and emotions too. There’s a big fat book called the DSM-V (5) with diagnosing criteria and you’re not doing it justice by saying it’s as simple as “think your life is in danger.” It’s way more thorough and it stops people like UAV pilots from claiming PTSD.

    Anyway, it’s clear to me the author either doesn’t have it or hasn’t dealt with it, either way he’s ignorant of it and is just as stupid as the masses in knowing exactly what it is. He has as much business talking about stereotypes and what’s acceptable coping with PTSD as a POG has discussing closing with and destroying the enemy.

    – An All American Sky Soldier

    PS stick to comedy and gear reviews. Thanks.

    • July 5, 2015 at 12:41 am

      1) “‘First off, our generation has the longest average time spent in direct contact. The reason we don’t have the same number of KIA is not because fewer of us get hurt, but our medical trauma care is significantly better than ‘throw a bandage on him and hump him through the jungle.’”

      That’s not the only reason. We’ve also had engagements with smaller numbers of people against an enemy that isn’t a peer or near-peer. Also, note that I included the word “typical”. No, not every veteran of a previous war experience worse combat than every veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. But as a whole we have not engaged in combat as intense or prolonged as in previous wars.

      2) “But here’s the real issue, you’re right, they didn’t have signs. Instead they had reputations of being a mean drunk lost in the war and it was better to just stay away from them. Soldiers for over 3000 years have tried to drown the horrors of war with booze, drugs, sex and every other vice you can think of. That’s why the homeless in this country mostly consists of veterans. That’s why we have the highest rate of unemployment. We also have the highest suicide rate and many of us will end up as alcoholics and addicts.”

      And that’s a fantastic example of buying into the stereotype of the Vietnam Veteran, and applying it to all vets. According to the veterans advocacy group Veterans Inc, “Approx. 33% of homeless males in the U.S. are veterans.” Yes, that’s too many. No, that’s not “most”. And applying a little cynicism, I’d guess that many homeless who identify as veterans actually aren’t. In the 2010 census, according to the Vietnam Veterans Foundation, “… the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country is: 13,853,027. By this census, FOUR OUT OF FIVE WHO CLAIM TO BE Vietnam vets are not.” Again, too many veterans have actual, verifiable problems. But there are also far too many people falsely claiming military service, combat or PTSD because it’s so easy and garners so much instant sympathy.

      3) “Me personally, I wouldn’t put one of these signs up simply because I don’t want people to know my business. But I’d be lying if I said the fireworks don’t freak me the fuck out. That’s why I’m inside writing this, but every once in awhile a big one goes off and catches me off guard.”

      Whether fireworks freak anyone out or not, my point is that we veterans shouldn’t ask the country to change their normal behavior to suit our sensitivities. You seem to be on board with that.

      4) “My point is, before you go running around telling people to suck it up because we didn’t have it so bad, you might look at your own history. Are you pissed off because you are struggling and not getting help because you think it would make you a pussy, or are you pissed because you feel guilty and like you didn’t do enough?”

      I’m not telling people to “suck it up” (I never used that term). I’m telling people to handle their problems instead of advertising them and expecting other people to pander to those problems. As far as my personal issues, I’m not struggling. I had an adjustment period after each of my deployments, and the Afghanistan deployment and readjustment was more difficult that Iraq. I went to the VA for counseling, I went to counseling provided by my employer, and I worked through my issues. You might notice that in my essay I say any veteran who needs help should get actual, professional help; so no, I’m not saying “suck it up and don’t get assistance”. So I did get help, don’t feel like a pussy, and for a while I did feel like I didn’t do enough but I’m good with my service now. Thanks for inquiring as to my wellness, though.

      5) “See, you don’t speak for me. And yes, what you wrote is going to sadly kill someone who thinks they got it until that one night they don’t and everything goes to shit. I would rather sniff out the liars than lose another brother because he thought it was weak or entitled to seek help. In short, mind your fucking business and stay in your lane.”

      I speak for me and me alone. And I directly refute your claim that fighting back against veteran entitlement syndrome and false claims hurts those who need help. Sorry bro, but when we accept any and all claims we encourage more fakers to milk the system and take needed resources from people who really deserve and need the help. I’m a combat veteran who is watching my generation of soldiers being painted with the same lies the VN generation was painted with, and fighting those lies is in fact within my lane.

      6) “One last thing, as someone who is currently going through the medical retirement process for PTSD, let me tell you, the VA doesn’t fuck around. They’re not just handing out money like Oprah. They go through your entire medical history and substantiate every claim you make. You have to go to an independent therapist with no ties to the DOD to be diagnosed and have it accepted. Trust me when I say that these people see so many people that they know how to spot a bullshitter.”

      People within the VA say you’re wrong.

      “As disability awards for PTSD have grown nearly fivefold over the last 13 years, so have concerns that many veterans might be exaggerating or lying to win benefits. Moering, a former Marine, estimates that roughly half of the veterans he evaluates for the disorder exaggerate or fabricate symptoms.”

      “‘It’s an open secret that a large chunk of patients are flat-out malingering,’ said Christopher Frueh, a University of Hawaii psychologist who spent 15 years treating PTSD in the VA system.”

      “In one case The Times reviewed, a woman was awarded PTSD compensation based on breaking her leg in a fall walking to the mess hall.”

      “A 2007 study of 74 Arkansas veterans with chronic PTSD, most of them from the Vietnam War, concluded that more than half were exaggerating symptoms.”

      “To get paid for PTSD, veterans must link their symptoms to trauma that occurred during their service. In 2010, the VA expanded what situations could qualify. Credible fear of being attacked — without actually suffering or witnessing violence — became sufficient.

      The VA also dropped its requirement to support each case of war-related PTSD with records of the underlying trauma. Those veterans are now taken at their word.”

      “In a 2014 paper, Arthur Russo, a VA psychologist in Brooklyn, argued that the disability system is prone to ‘collusive lying,’ in which veterans fake mental illness and clinicians go along with it. He cited an email from an unnamed VA chief psychologist to staff members instructing them not to diagnose malingering or ‘make any comments that appear to question patients’ reports of trauma.'”

      “In one case that Moering reviewed in 2009, he searched military records and concluded that a Navy veteran on the disability rolls for PTSD had lied to VA clinicians about having served in the elite SEALs and concocted his combat history. The VA responded by reducing his PTSD rating from 50% to 30%, records show.”

      7) “Anyway, it’s clear to me the author either doesn’t have it or hasn’t dealt with it, either way he’s ignorant of it and is just as stupid as the masses in knowing exactly what it is. He has as much business talking about stereotypes and what’s acceptable coping with PTSD as a POG has discussing closing with and destroying the enemy.”

      I don’t have PTSD. I do know that many veterans are faking PTSD for attention and free money. And I strongly believe that the vast majority of those putting signs in their yards are exaggerating or outright lying to gain sympathy. I also am not aware of any PTSD therapy that suggests the sufferer identify himself to the public and ask others to change their normal behavior for the sufferer’s benefit.

      I welcome you to refute the points I’ve made.

      Thank you for your service, and your comment.

      • July 10, 2015 at 2:00 pm

        I loved the article and agree 100%. I would be interested in what you think about veteran spouses getting VA caregiver pay when their veteran is able to work, goes to the gym, watches the kids, cooks, cleans etc, all because the veteran and spouse claims his PTSD interferes in being able to keep himself safe. Many of these spouses and veterans are getting mortgage free homes, free yearly vacations, up to $2,200 a month from the VA for being the veterans caregiver. Hell my Marine lost his right arm and leg and we would never use that fact to ask for more than his disability compensation. It is set up that a post 9/11 veterans with a hang nail can get anything and Pre 9/11 veterans with missing limbs can’t get a pot to piss in. Talk about an entitlement generation.

  • July 4, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Look into the founders of “military with PTSD”

    I’m sure you will find it interesting.

    • July 4, 2015 at 11:46 pm

      Hints on what I’d find?

      • July 6, 2015 at 9:56 am

        You will find fraud and scams. You will find someone claiming to be a Navy MP with no schooling. Claims of PTSD due to not being trained on weapons (MP/Master at Arms/Rapid Response Team Leader with no weapons training)

        You will find that and so much more on the page that I linked below in another comment.

  • July 4, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    I just have a big butt and well that’s it. The signs are lame, and real war heroes don’t need no signs.

  • July 4, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    Right on!! I am sick to death of people who shape thier behavior to garner that disability check. It’s sad to say that of the 20 or so people I know that have the diagnosis, 18 are full of shit. Whenever I hear people’s “war stories” I automatically assume they’re full of shit and look for evidence to prove otherwise. I hate that it’s that way, but too many story tellers have crossed my path.

  • July 4, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    Spot on article. I love all of my brothers and sisters who have signed up to serve and protect this great nation. I also believe that we deserve a “thanks for your service.” However, I don’t believe in this “special entitlement ” mentality that we are seeing on display. Be proud of your service but don’t expect anything outside of a thank you from anyone. “All The Way!”

  • July 4, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    Chris, I agree with your point about the signs. Personally, I still have a really bad startle response, but I don’t wear my problems on my sleeve. Every New Years Eve and $th of July I expect my neighbors to enjoy themselves and celebrate as they see fit. I simply watch TV with headphones on in my game room. I deal with folks who make outlandish claims about their military service. LIke you, I weed them out with just a few questions. Unfortunately, there are a lot of vets out there in serious denial about their problem. One of my neighbors was a SEAL. You can see he has issues, but won’t admit it. Just as many others, I was awarded a Purple Heart. Unlike many others, I will never put Purple Heart plates on my truck. Many soldiers were injured far worse than me. I have my legs and my good arm. To say I suffered as much as some others is disrespectful to their sacrifice. It would be like me saying I can play basketball as well as Lebron James. Anyway, we need to support each other, work to weed out the fakes, and help those truly in need. Oh, by the way, no disrespect my brother, but there is no such thing as a former Marine.

    • July 5, 2015 at 8:09 am

      Doc, there is ,You got the saying wrong. Its there is no such thing as an EX Marine with the exception of Lee Harvey Oswald 😉

    • July 5, 2015 at 10:39 am


      Thank you for your comment, but I have to disagree about comparing yourself to people wounded worse than you. I get exactly what you mean; I grew up around WW2 and Korea vets in my family, and heard many stories about one great uncle who was killed in the Bataan Death March and another who jumped at Sicily, Normandy and Holland (he died shortly before I was born). Yes I am a very proud combat vet, but I keep my experience in perspective. However, if you were wounded, I don’t think you should minimize that even though others were wounded worse. If I saw you with PH license plates, I’d feel nothing but admiration. But I know what you mean. I refuse to get Bronze Star license plates, and I’ve heard too many people say they want them just so they don’t have to pay to register their cars anymore.

      And on that note, every time I write something involving PTSD fakers and people who never experienced combat wildly exaggerating their claims to get VA disability, I’m accused of downplaying other people’s combat experience. I’m not. I am saying others have had it far worse, and those people in large part went on to lead successful lives and build the US into an amazingly successful nation. Our generation can do, and is doing, the same.

      About the former Marine thing, I hear you Doc. But I didn’t do crap in the Corps, and have been in the Army 20 years since my Marine service. Since my combat time was all Army, it would sound a little weird if I was still calling myself a Marine instead of former Marine. 🙂

  • July 4, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    Your argument is riddled with half-truths, sweeping generalizations, and illogical conclusions. However, there is no idiot so mistaken that some segment of the population will not laud their vitriol. You seem to have found yours.

    • July 4, 2015 at 10:58 pm

      You are correct that finding people who agree does not mean I have a valid argument. Now please be kind enough to identify the half truths, sweeping generalizations and illogical conclusions.

  • July 4, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Fucking right, doggie. Amen. Hallelujah. God bless America. When I got back the last time. Me and the family got got in the car and drove to Disneyland. I had just got back from about thirty full days of 120mm mortars landing on the building I was sleeping in. The fireworks at Disney bothered me a little but they helped fix me and my ability to recognize danger from not danger. Excuse me now. Gonna go blow some shit up……

  • July 4, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    Also. I love your article. If the sign is needed. Then put it up after the holiday. But the day of. Come on now that is just redickulous. Happy 4th and thank you for your service.

  • July 4, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    My husband has ptsd. He get bad anziety

    from fireworks. He DOES NOT have a sign on

    our front yard. He has a service dog and we travel to an area where fireworks have been banned. (Usually gma house in a senior park.) Hates big crowds loud sudden noises. My point is even with his ptsd he dosent advertise. And i think that is the difference between the true and fake.

  • July 4, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Spot on commentary, Bro. I’ve been saying this for a while now. When do you think they will come up with the “be courteous with your outdoor BBQing signs”? The smell of BBQ is a trigger for me (seriously it is). Oh wait. I go to therapy for MY problem. During the course of therapy I don’t think I ever heard my doc tell me to avoid triggers. As a matter of fact it’s quite the opposite. He told me to visit shooting ranges, roast marshmallows over a fire pit, watch We Were Soldiers, and BBQ some meat on a grill. Doing those thing in conjunction with the rest of my Prolonged Exposure Therapy have helped me successfully reintegrate with society. THAT is the goal. NOT special treatment. My problem is not YOUR burden to bear. Does stuff still bother me? Sure. Will you ever know when? No because I’ll remove myself from the situation.

    • July 5, 2015 at 10:18 am


      Your comment answers a serious question I’ve had: would any psychiatrist suggest a patient put a sign in his yard advertising his problem, asking other people to change their behavior around the patient? I’d think not, but I’ve never had PTSD therapy. I appreciate your insight on this, and thank you for your service.

  • July 4, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Maybe all the sensitive “combat” vets should get thunder shirts, like people get for overly sensitive dogs.

    • July 9, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      maybe you’re an evil cunt

  • July 4, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    I agree with what you are saying, I too am a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan I wasn’t Infantry I was Artillery in Iraq and Aviation in Afghanistan I spent lots of time outside the wire in Iraq and not so much time outside the wire in Afghanistan, my wife said I got more screwed up in Afghanistan because I didn’t shoot anything except a target to stay crisp. My feeling is if they want the sign let them have it, it’s what we all fight for and that’s the freedom to speak your mind lest we forget there was a time when we couldn’t and let it never get back that way again. Mad Duo Chris keep doing what your doing and just ignore the dumb shit. PTSD is no joke for the ones that really have it and I am definitely pissed of about the ones who fake that shit just to get a check. So thank you for calling it like you see and keeping it real.

    ~ Mark


    • July 5, 2015 at 4:49 am

      But…according to the author, because you weren’t infantry.. you CAN’T have PTSD as only grunt experience combat.

      • July 5, 2015 at 9:58 am


        Thank you for illustrating one of the most frustrating things about being a writer: people don’t bother actually reading what I write before making angry comments.

        I’m not infantry, and never have been. Nothing in my essay referred to anyone’s MOS. I was a 19K in Iraq on a convoy escort team, and was an intel soldier working with infantry in Afghanistan. I have literally never said anything like “only infantry go on missions” or “only infantry can get PTSD.” But people like you somehow take it that way, for reasons I don’t understand.

  • July 4, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    Thnaks for putting this out there. Needs to be said by more people and more often . Fireworks have been going off for a month here, and it’s annoying at best but It’s bullshit to make ones personal problems into everyone elses problem and that sign is just complete bullshit

  • July 4, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Good shit bro… if you’re ever in West Texas beers on me. Just don’t open the bottle too loudly I’m fragile.

  • July 4, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I think you’re a dick. My wife and I both served in AFG, and she survived a danger-close SVBIED and ensuing complex attack. Fireworks close to home freak her out.

    It’s kinda like gay marriage: don’t like them, don’t marry a guy. Don’t like the signs, walk on by. But shut yer fucking pie-hole with the disrespect of other vets who’re not like you.

    Oh, and what kind of douchebag posts he-man pictures of himself “on patrol in AFG?” Pine for attention much bitch?

    • July 4, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      1) I’ve been called a dick before. I can hack it.

      2) I didn’t say fireworks should never bother anyone. I said we combat vets shouldn’t tell other people to adjust their normal behavior because of our sensitivities.

      3) The picture of me is called a bio picture. Since I’m known as a veteran writer, it’s kinda significant that I actually served in the military, and at war. Don’t like my picture? Walk on by. 🙂

      • July 12, 2015 at 11:27 pm

        Who knows you as a veteran writer?

        • July 13, 2015 at 7:18 pm


          I have a pretty well-read blog (almost 1.25 million visitors since I started in 2012) and have published two novels which have been fairly successful. I also regularly contribute articles and essays to Breach Bang Clear, which has almost 200,000 followers on Facebook. I’ve written a couple of essays, like the story of my experience working with the French Army in Afghanistan, that have been read and shared worldwide. I’m not famous, but I’m known as a veteran writer by a pretty good number of people.

  • July 4, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    You’ve got some bad data here on PTSD. I’m a former active duty psychiatrist (then turned civilian doc for army) and I worked nonstop with PTSD patients for years — all branches. Outside of your angry rant, you actually *can’t* compare traumas. A lot more goes into who gets PTSD besides degree of violence: genetics, unexpectedness / shock / weirdness of trauma, chronicity of traumas, etc. And that thing about the VA making a special rule — actually the whole field of psychiatry shifted gears on that topic with DSM5…the VA was just ahead of the game.

    • July 4, 2015 at 6:58 pm

      I addressed chronicity in my hypothetical within my essay: I spoke about a soldier who heard one distant rocket impact, one time. That also would have addressed shock and weirdness. Is it possible for the soldier who heard one distant rocket impact one time to suffer the same trauma as the soldier who landed in the first wave at Normandy?

      Here’s my personal, reductio ad absurdum hypothetical: while I was in Afghanistan, Michael Jackson died. I was traumatized by his death and have exhibited all the symptoms of PTSD for six years. Am I as traumatized as the soldier who landed in the first wave at Normandy?

      • July 4, 2015 at 7:19 pm

        You actually don’t address chronicity or what I meant by shock and weirdness. You probably don’t know what I meant. Yes, it is possible for person 1 experiencing relatively less degree of threat to be more traumatized than person 2 who experienced more violence. Speaking with regards to risk of developing PTSD, that is. You’re struggling with the idea of whose trauma is more “worthy” and mixing that up with likeliness of getting PTSD. And that misunderstanding is dangerous for the guys with PTSD who don’t think their traumas were as worthy as someone else who didn’t get PTSD (or hides it better) … so they remain in denial or don’t seek services.

        • July 4, 2015 at 7:35 pm

          Actually, I do understand that the severity of the qualifying event and the person’s susceptibility to PTSD are two different things. I have an issue with the way PTSD has been redefined, or at least the path to diagnosis has been redefined. If I understand the VA’s rules correctly, I can claim I was scared, once, of an event I thought might happen, and even without documentation I now have a qualifying event. I understand that some people truly are so susceptible to PTSD that the mere possibility of an attack can traumatize them. However, this also enables anyone with ability to study PTSD symptoms to make a false PTSD claim which is then deemed real by the VA. If I can literally walk into the VA and say “I was in Kuwait and was never in combat, but I heard of a car bomb attack once and was afraid it would happen where I was, so I’m now traumatized,” and according to the rules that becomes a qualifying event, then we’ve opened the door to false claims.

          I’m not the only one who suspects mass PTSD fakery, by the way. A California VA psychiatrist last year reported that he suspects half his PTSD patients are either exaggerating their symptoms or flat out lying in order to get a disability check.

          “Moering, a former Marine, estimates that roughly half of the veterans he evaluates for the disorder exaggerate or fabricate symptoms.”

          “‘It’s an open secret that a large chunk of patients are flat-out malingering,’ said Christopher Frueh, a University of Hawaii psychologist who spent 15 years treating PTSD in the VA system.”

          I get what you’re saying, and I’m no expert on PTSD diagnosis or treatment. However, as a veteran I do know of people faking PTSD for the money, and I’m aware of just how easy it is to fake symptoms.

        • July 4, 2015 at 7:40 pm

          And by the way, I don’t suggest anyone not get treatment. I suggest they don’t expect the public to change its behavior for them.

          • July 9, 2015 at 7:44 pm

            then just SHUT THE FUCK UP

        • July 5, 2015 at 1:51 am


        • July 5, 2015 at 11:21 am

          Scott you are so full of crap. Army psychiatrist and psychiatrist in general are about as credible on this issue as a witch doctor. I showed up at the Wiesbaden TMC 07 after a deployment said I wanted something to help me sleep. 1st thing they said was I had PTSD and gave me some meds. I did not like the way they made me feel. I went back told em they were full of crap and refused further treatment. 3 years later I was being entered into a program in the Army requiring back ground and pysc check ups ect. Again the issue surfaced (because it was in my records) and the psychiatrist insisted I seek treatment. Turns out since the Garrison in Germany was down sizing and cutting personnel they were just trying to justify their jobs. The threshold for claiming PTSD is so low it is a joke! I personally feel it is done that way because big pharma has connections and wants to move a lot of Drugs on DOD’s dime. You sir are a tool of that system and should be ashamed of yourself. Yep some have it and it is legit, but many who claim they do, do not and you enable them.

          • July 9, 2015 at 7:44 pm

            SHUT THE FUCK UP

          • July 12, 2015 at 11:26 pm

            Charlie says…blah, blah, blah, but he has the FREEDOM to do so!

    • July 5, 2015 at 2:30 pm

      Aside from genetics you made his argument for him dumbass. Drone pilots that never left the states are getting 100% PTSD ratings. Meanwhile guys like Tim Kennedy and Dakota Meyer who know the real meaning of battle fatigue are trying to prove to people that Vets aren’t all quibbling, weak, broken beings. You’re being taken for a ride.

  • July 4, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    Chris I am on board with you 100%. I deployed never left the FOB only heard motors in the distance. Came back people at the TMC tried to push pills on me and say I had PTSD. I told em bs and refused treatment. It takes away from the people who really have it when people fake it. You are 100% right my friend. Keep telling the truth.

    • July 5, 2015 at 11:04 am


      I’ve talked to several people who had similar experiences. One veteran I spoke to went to the TMC to get Ambien to use on his flight to another continent for his honeymoon; later, when he was out processing, the psychiatrist saw that he had been prescribed Ambien once and told him the only reason he’d need it is for a sleep disorder, and the only reason he’d have a sleep disorder is because he has PTSD. He actually had to argue with the psychiatrist to not be officially diagnosed with PTSD.

      Thanks for your comment, and your service.

  • Pingback:Signs, Of Veteran Entitlement. « | Bravo Sierra 101

  • July 4, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    I believe that PTSD is going to be the stereotype given to all modern veterans, the same way the “deranged, maladjusted drug-user” was foisted onto the Vietnam guys.

    • July 5, 2015 at 2:11 pm


  • July 4, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Are you completely FUCKING KIDDIGING ME???!!! This is the most ignorant article I have ever read! I have TOTAL respect for all persons in the military. PTSD is REALk folks! People suffer from it so that YOU ARE FREE. FUCK OFF all of you motherfuckers who don’t appreciate all of the freedom that our veterans fought for. You are pieces of shit that can rot in hell!!!

    • July 4, 2015 at 4:47 pm

      I’m hurt. Now excuse me whilst I pee down my leg from laughter.

      1) I don’t have total respect for all people in the military. Many of us in the military are honorable and willing to risk our lives for our country, but some troops are cowards, some are criminals, some did their jobs in a relatively safe area yet wildly inflate their “trauma” in order to get a free monthly check. You obviously know nothing about the military, or you wouldn’t be frothing at the mouth with empty praise.

      2) I have never said or written anything that even suggests PTSD isn’t real. Try actually reading what I write before having an online seizure.

      3) I was in combat myself and know very well what it entails and what we fight for. You obviously don’t. Please swim back to the shallow end of the pool.

      4) I’ve been called a piece of shit by people more impressive than you. No biggie.

      • July 9, 2015 at 7:41 pm

        “I’ve been called a piece of shit by people more impressive than you and yet I’m STILL too fucking self-centered to believe it”

    • July 4, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      I was in for 17 years. Deployed several times. Chris is 100% right. Some it is legit some fake it. And it is so easy to get disability for it alot fake it for the money. Sad thing is it takes away from those who do have problems. Fakers should be ashamed of themselves.

      • July 5, 2015 at 1:47 am

        My husband has PTSD. It’s been over three years of waiting for the VA Admin to do crap. VA Medical side wants to throw pulls at him and make him numb. He’s been to inpatient TRU, wants nothing more than to move on. We spent our 4th of July with the speakers up loud watching our favorite movies and that helped my husband keep from being a cranky ass and kept my dogs from barking. A win-win. There is no way in hell that we’d ever get a sign. He’d never ask our neighbors to “be courteous” because he is a vet. I’m not even sure of what that would entail. We expect crap to happen. We plan for whatever we can, like tonight, and roll with what comes unexpected. It is not easy to get a PTSD rating from where we stand. He does not feel entitled and definitely doesn’t think he is a snowflake. He is, however, forgotten by the VA. That part is true. Your article, though it hits on a lot I agree with, is arrogant and condescending and in my opinion. And more important to me than anything else, after reading your article, made my husband state that it is the exact reason why he feels like the U.S. doesn’t see any more worth in him and he is expendable. There is a whole lot of talk about no one being left behind, until PTSD comes into play. I’d also like to note that your article sounds a lot like what my husband sounded like before he ended up with PTSD. In our home we face things head on, we suck it up and we drive on. I get that the signs are meant to help. I get that they are supposed to bring awareness. Kinda “He shoots! He misses.” We do not want attention drawn to our home, our children. We do not want pity or to cause guilt or irritation in our neighbors for celebrating. Go out camping in the middle of nowhere. Put on your noise canceling headphones. Face it head on. It’s all about choice. You can choose to remain in control of your situation, or you can choose to not.

        • July 5, 2015 at 10:03 am


          Just to be clear, my essay wasn’t about people like your husband, who is handling his issues and not putting that responsibility on others. And nothing in my essay even suggested veterans with PTSD are worthless. My essay was bout veterans who expect society to change for them, and my strong suspicion that many of those advertising their PTSD are milking the system.

          • July 9, 2015 at 7:43 pm

            Just to be clear, I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about… I just am such a pathetic tool I need to find people to pretend I’m better than”

          • July 12, 2015 at 11:23 pm

            Your essay explicitly discussed that veterans should NOT ask for consideration from their neighbors. But, I completely disagree. However, it is this kind of freedom for which you fought and for which many other service men and women experienced the torments of war. So, you have a right to your opinion and the freedom to say so, but I have a right to completely disagree with you. I think that we all owe our vets, at least, these little considerations for doing what we can’t or won’t do. They are truly heroes, and forgoing fireworks, to celebrate the freedoms for which our vets fought, is the least I can do to say thank you!

          • July 13, 2015 at 10:18 pm


            Nobody “owes” us a change in normal and innocent behavior because we served in combat. The public is not required to modify itself to suit our needs or cater to our sensitivities.

  • July 4, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    I can appreciate your role as a troller on social networking sites, clearly, no one with knowledge of the illness you downgrade would actually be as ignorant about reactions. But, in the event you’re truly incapable of empathy and/or just a psychopath … Good luck home skillet. You will be paralyzingly alone. You will die a shell of a human … You will wish you’d made different choices.

    • July 4, 2015 at 4:40 pm

      Oooh…I’m all trembly with fear now.

      Thanks for your concern, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be just fine. I’ve got so many kids and grandkids I’ll never be alone. 🙂

      • July 9, 2015 at 7:40 pm

        But your family all know you’re a pathetic shitstain, and you WILL die alone and lonely

        • July 9, 2015 at 8:39 pm

          You must be related to me. That would explain how you know my secrets.

    • July 5, 2015 at 1:57 pm


  • July 4, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    I love how these signs are just now coming about, but the guys who were POWS in Japan and underwent bombings everyday by their own country’s aircraft never put signs up about being sensitive to fireworks. Sounds like a bunch of crap to me. Love the piece Chris. Especially this part:

    “We did it while we were at war for our very existence, yet the men who survived massed musket fire and bayonet charges managed to endure fireworks displays without putting “pleafe be ye courteouf with ye olde firework” signs in their front yards.”

    • July 4, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      Thank you Corey Ann. One of my great uncles died as a POW in the Bataan Death March. That’s one of the reasons (among many) I react so strongly to the “veteran special snowflake syndrome”.

    • July 12, 2015 at 11:30 pm

      How would you know this?

      • July 13, 2015 at 10:16 pm

        Because my sister has the notice posted in his local paper that he was “missing, presumed dead”, plus the certificate officially changing his status to KIA in 1946. He was my grandmother’s oldest brother, and I have a cousin named after him. Why wouldn’t I know?

  • July 4, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    The way I took the signs was more about asking for the fireworks to be used on the 4th and not days later when that kind of a surprise would suck. I fired off an email to the post CSM when they decided to move a cannon across the street from my office and use it for a COC. When the fired it both me and the CW4 the was in the office with me were on the floor instantly. The civilian that was with us was just looking at us in shock at our reaction. It took me a while to get used to unexpected loud thunder. Some are just being attention hounds and were nothing more that FOBITs that had no idea were the gates were and in safe area to boot. I think the signs go out it should be after the 4th. Or they can just suck it up butter cup and remember where the fuck they are.

    • July 4, 2015 at 4:52 pm


      I had a similar reaction to unexpected flashes, like from a camera, for a couple of years after Iraq. I got the crap scared out of me once or twice from nighttime IED detonations, and the first thing I saw on those occasions, before hearing or feeling anything, was a brilliant white or orange flash. If someone took a picture with a flash in my peripheral vision, and I wasn’t expecting it, I’d have a startle response. That was MY problem, and I would have had no place even asking anyone not to take pictures around me. Yes I’d react to the flash, and like you said, then I’d remember where I was.

      Thanks for your comment, and your service.

      • July 9, 2015 at 7:38 pm

        Still an asshole

      • July 12, 2015 at 11:14 pm

        Thank God that you are one of the lucky ones!

  • July 4, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Right on! I just hosted 6 seriously wounded combat Veterians, in Alaska and there only regret is that there injuries took them out of the fight. Those that are impaired with PTSD are moving forward with quiet brotherhood, courage and pray. The 300 utra mag we played with did bother anyone. Peace in the future Celebrate this day that represents the beginning of the freedom you have pertected.

    Your patriod friend Johnny

  • July 4, 2015 at 10:36 am

    First of all who in the hell are you? I am getting sick of seeing fellow veterans making lite of a situation that is in dire need of attention….thousands of vets commit suicide on a yearly basis and your self reflecting load of crap is not helping the situation. I was in a ied explosion in falluja Iraq and explosions from fireworks do bother me. I do not have a sign and I would never ask anyone not to celebrate freedom…but everyone is different…not everyone is as badass as you…not everyone uses ptsd to get attention….and to be honest this post is just that…..I would like to see your combat resume and I would also like proof that you were in the shit….and if you were you have ptsd….you do….it just hasn’t affected you yet…but it will and when it does stay away from the VA sense of entitlement because you obviously don’t need it right….Airborne!!!!

    • July 4, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      My essay had nothing to do with me or anyone else being “badass”. It has everything to do with our responsibility to handle our own problems and not use our veteran status to compel other people to adjust their normal behavior for our benefit. We’re not better than the people we defend. Those people have been celebrating Independence Day with fireworks for over two hundred years, and they don’t have to stop or modify their activities because some vets are overly sensitive.

      As far as my combat resume, I’ve discussed it before on Breach Bang Clear and my blog. I’m just a regular Joe who had a few close calls with IEDs in Iraq and was in some big firefights in Afghanistan. I’m sure my resume isn’t as impressive as yours.

      • July 9, 2015 at 7:34 pm

        Your “essay” was just a creep jerking off on the keyboard

        • July 9, 2015 at 8:28 pm

          Fortunately, I Scotchguard my keyboard so it’s easy to clean afterward.

    • July 5, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      Nicholas, you aren’t the only one that was in Fallujah on this post. I was in Fallujah, Sadr City, and a few other garden spots. I agree 100% with this article.

      When the neighbors are blowing firecrackers, that first one always got me, but then I was fine.

      I like fireworks personally. Besides, I never hear Viet Nam vets or WWII vets complaining about the fireworks, and they went through HELL!

      Oh, and your can shove your “Airborne” after whining like that! Benning wants their wings back you 5 jump chump!

      • July 5, 2015 at 3:20 pm

        5 jump chump…love it!!!

      • July 9, 2015 at 7:35 pm

        Fuck you for your service

      • July 12, 2015 at 11:10 pm

        I haven’t heard WWII vet complain either, but then, most of them have been passed away for some time now. But, I HAVE heard of Vietnam vets’ suffering. I had friends in Vietnam, some never made it back. They might have been the lucky ones. And, if you haven’t heard of many Nam vets experiences it is probably because many of them live homeless, alcohol and drug addictive existences because of their experiences after their homecomings. Do you know your history?

        • July 13, 2015 at 10:12 pm

          I’m well aware of the history of the Vietnam War and its veterans. One major problem the VN vets had was the widely-embraced stereotype, often fed by veterans who exaggerated their service or nonveterans who outright lied about nonexistent service, that VN vets were all PTSD-afflicted violent killers who would explode at any provocation. That lie hurt VN vets and it’s hurting the rest of us today. “Combat vet” signs in front yards contribute to that stereotype, and hurt us all.

    • July 5, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      More vets who never saw combat commit suicide than combat vets. This is what as known as lying with stats. “22 vets a day kill themselves! They are all broken from combat!” When the truth is the majority of those suicides are from supply guys and S-1 office workers. Thats a FACT just one thats damn hard to find even with Google cause it doesn’t fit an agenda driven narrative. Those poor drone pilots that go home to their wife and kids at night.

      • July 9, 2015 at 7:36 pm

        It’s hard to find the “fact” because it’s horseshit

        • July 9, 2015 at 8:33 pm

          “Data released by the Pentagon for 2008-2011 shows that 52 percent of military suicides were by those who did not deploy to a combat zone; 34 percent deployed but in a non-combat role; only 14 percent were combat Veterans.”

          • July 12, 2015 at 11:34 pm

            You failed to mention other important and significant pieces of the data. We need to read the whole data synthesis to understand it. For example, you left out this: Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) are three times as likely to take their own lives than their civilian peers.” Research, research, research, and make sure that the data is reliable. I think you need to read more before you write opinion pieces.

          • July 13, 2015 at 10:13 pm

            My essay wasn’t about PTSD or suicide. It was about the signs and why they’re unnecessary and harmful. I believe I strongly supported my point.

    • July 9, 2015 at 12:08 pm

      I’m a combat veteran of 3 tours in Viet Nam as a Ranger. I have 2 bronze stars and a Purple Heart. If you think I’m a pussy, come to Myrtle Beach and we’ll go outback and discuss it. I’ve drawn disability for PTSD for 22 years. To get a sign they check with the VA to make sure I did have PTSD. They didn’t just send them to anyone. So you are full of shit there. I have a sign in my front yard. It doesn’t say “don’t shoot off fireworks” and it doesn’t say “don’t celebrate July 4th”, it says please be courteous with fireworks. Vets commit suicide every day, some build bunkers in their house and don’t go out at all. Until you have your helicopter shot down and are only one of two survivors, have your best friend who was on that chopper die in your arms or are responsible for the death of 3 children and an old woman who were Montagyards ( sp ) and who got caught in an ambush supposedly in a free fire zone; shut then shut the fuck up and save your soapbox for something you know something about. Cecil Fry, 2nd Ranger Btn, U.S. Army.

      • July 9, 2015 at 7:37 pm

        Thank you for your service! I apologize for the shitstain that wrote this

      • July 9, 2015 at 8:38 pm

        The CEO of Military with PTSD has a “combat vet” sign in his front yard. His “combat” consisted of a Navy antiterrorism class, a shipboard deployment in support of OEF during which he saw no action, and his alleged assistance in an aircraft accident that injured seven sailors. No, not everyone with a sign in their yard is a combat veteran.

        And to be clear, I didn’t call anyone a pussy in my essay or comments. If you have PTSD and want to put up a sign, it’s a free country. But those signs accomplish nothing at all, and as a VN combat vet I’m fairly certain you’re not a fan of ineffective measures.

        Thank you for your service and comment.

      • July 12, 2015 at 11:13 pm

        You are a true hero Cecil Fry! My thanks goes out to you for your service! I’m so sorry that you had to go through torrents of war, but am so glad that you came back home. Welcome home!

  • July 4, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Chris, you have officially won the fucking internet today. I can’t begin to describe how spot on this article is. Having served in both the USMC and the Army as a grunt, I don’t know much about much at all. What I do know is that I’m tired of victim veterans making it fucking difficult for the guys that are in the greatest need get any help at all, because they want to do stupid shit like this. Great article brother, and Happy Independence Day!

    • July 4, 2015 at 4:53 pm

      Happy Independence Day to you too bro, and Semper Fi. All us former Marines in the Guard practically need to form a support group. 🙂

      • July 12, 2015 at 11:03 pm

        I’d say!!!

    • July 9, 2015 at 7:33 pm

      The only pussies here are all you fuckers pretending you are somehow better than someone with PTSD. Fuck all of you.

  • July 4, 2015 at 7:43 am

    This “delicate snowflake” shit is getting out of hand. Every combat vet I’ve ever known prided themselves on not being whiners and non-hackers. But since every hipster douchebag with a beard claims to be a former SEAL/Recon/Ranger/SF door-kickin’ mofo these days, it’s almost impossible to root out the phonies without asking for a DD 214. Unless I know for a stone-cold fact that someone was a) a veteran and b) saw combat down range, I assume they’re full of shit. Sad day, but there it is.

    • July 4, 2015 at 4:58 pm


      I’m at just about the same point you are. I treat all claims with skepticism, but generally I can weed out any false claims with a few questions.

      Recently I had a conversation with a very nice, very liberal older woman on an airplane. She mentioned a friend of her daughter’s who is an Iraq vet and “disabled by PTSD”. He was a medic and on some missions, but never got out of the vehicles. According to this lady, “he said medics were targeted for capture by the insurgents, and that’s why he couldn’t get out of the humvee and has PTSD now.” She thought he was full of crap too, but was obviously holding back her doubt in order not to offend me. I told her I wasn’t aware of medics ever being targeted for capture more than anyone else, and I’m pretty sure her daughter’s friend is making up stories to justify a monthly check. Call me cynical, but there it is.

      • July 5, 2015 at 1:41 pm

        How could a medic do his job without leaving the vehicle? It’s not like WWII when they wore a red cross to signify being a medic. That soup sandwich was probably Air Force.

  • July 4, 2015 at 7:33 am

    I have never really liked fireworks to begin. Being a combat veteran I still don’t care for them however, I don’t discourage others from enjoying the freedoms that our generations past and present have fought for them to enjoy. Wouldn’t that negate our purpose?? Some Vets fake/real regardless need to stop being pussies after we return home. We are not privileged because we serve/served because at the end of the day nobody made us walk in the recruiters office and sign our lives away. I love my highs and accept my lows but, at no point in time do I reach out and say “Hey, your freedom to celebrate what I fought for offends me!” I say “Light those shits up but, I’ll be at a distance remembering my fallen brothers!!”

    Fallujah 04

    1/8 Weapons Company

  • July 4, 2015 at 6:31 am

    I agree 100%. I have events that trigger memories. I heard a woosh on one of my daughters songs that eerily sounded like a Chinese rocket. Put me in defense mode and nearly made me have a heart attack. Changed the station, drove on. It was unexpected. Fireworks are to be expected on the 4th….To me it’s like the clothes you are given when you are medevaced to the FOB. I had ppl who had their clothes cut off, or ruined. A certain organization, who I won’t drag in to this provided clothes for these fellas. When a dumb bunch of fobbits got these clothes because a rocket hit their base….when they could have went to their own hooch and got a set of PTs, a light went on….attention grabbers. After 22 years of service as am Infantryman, I have to admit that these people are in the vast majority, a bunch of attention grabbers who need their asses kicked. You are so right and the other crybabys who tried to shame you can kiss my ass. People do not think we are normal and this hurts us when we are trying to seek future employment after the military. I am not some crazy person just because I saw wiz bang shit. Please, stop trying to get sympathy you frigging fobbits. Changing the way people celebrate let’s the goat rapers win. I guess that is how society is going now, right? “My feelings are hurt so please piss off your first second and whatever amendments to the Constitution that you enjoy as an American”

    …idiots grow a pair with your basic training stress cards and quit being pussies.

    • July 4, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      Never had a basic training stress card nor consider myself a pussy. Wounded twice in 30 days in my first and only seven weeks. First from a mortar attack last one a penetrating head wound from an IED. Shrapnel in the brain and a prosthetic skull about the size of my hand on the left side of my head. Yes-I have problems with things that go boom including fireworks. I have a sneaky suspicion you do not have these problems with these issues. It is not about being a crybaby it is about respect and courtesy. All the stuff about honoring the troops and those who served so some decide to let others know how they can honor and respect them with their PTSD issues and people like you want to flame those of us who do have issues. My friend, have you ever thought of anyone other than your own personal feelings?

      I am really trying to figure out how a sign asking for courtesy becomes trying to stop you from exercising your rights.

      Attention grabbers? Pussies? Way to go in respecting those who have put it all on the line, shed our blood, and would gladly do it again.

      • July 4, 2015 at 5:16 pm


        It’s safe to say that nobody “likes” unexpected loud noises. It’s also safe to say that loud noises around July 4th aren’t unexpected, as they’ve been the norm in America for over 200 years.

        What do you expect the signs to actually accomplish? And what courtesy are the signs asking for that’s above the common courtesy already expected with the use of fireworks?

        Thanks for your comment, and your service.

        • July 4, 2015 at 11:09 pm

          Sergeant Major is probably livid that these guys aren’t wearing their ear pro!

        • July 7, 2015 at 8:34 pm

          The sign is not about the 4th of July fireworks we expect those it is about the ones before and after that are not expected. Requesting neighbors to just give you a heads up so you can do what needs to be done to help prevent the anxiety or other issues from the Post Traumatic Stress. Is that really too much to ask of your neighbors???

        • July 9, 2015 at 7:31 pm

          Just want to say to Mad Duo Chris – “Fuck you for your service!”

          • July 9, 2015 at 8:26 pm

            Thanks bro!

      • July 4, 2015 at 7:55 pm

        Because part of being a veteran is integrating back into society, and not being a needy douche bag , Fireworks have been a month long spectacle here, and it annoys me. but that’s my problem, I’m not going to make it other peoples problem because I’m not an asshole

        • July 9, 2015 at 8:25 am

          22 every day. EVERY DAY! Integration isn’t working, genius!

          • July 9, 2015 at 8:27 pm

            So should we combat vets be kept away from society, since “integration isn’t working”?

          • July 10, 2015 at 1:35 pm

            Jane, a study was reported that showed the majority of the 22 veterans a day committing suicide are older veterans. Most likely because older veterans have not and are not getting the support and resources needed so many give up after years,decades, of fighting for help.

          • July 13, 2015 at 7:48 pm


            Statistics also show that over 50% of those suicides are veterans who never deployed, and that the majority of suicides who did deploy weren’t in combat. 14% of suicides are combat vets. This is a more complex issue than “going to war makes veterans kill themselves”.

        • July 9, 2015 at 7:31 pm

          I Think you’re a MAJOR asshole!

    • July 10, 2015 at 6:13 am

      Well said!

  • July 4, 2015 at 2:51 am

    “If we have issues we need to handle them ourselves, not expect our communities to change their behavior for us.”

    -Just wanted to say that this sentence is one of best and most applicable to modern America I’ve ever read.

    • July 9, 2015 at 7:29 pm

      because a selfish dick like you wouldn’t help anyway

  • July 4, 2015 at 2:32 am

    Like the article and agree. Although when I first got back a slammed door would make me hit the deck. Now a bang gets the adrenaline going and looking for the fight. I love the 4th and would settle for nothing less the a ton of explosions to celebrate. ‘Murica!

  • July 3, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    About time somebody said it,Kudos. I’m sure there are a few grunts comin’ out the shit that could use a lil time with a wig mechanic. What chaps my ass is the REMF slobs getting called heroes ,Man that shit just aint right.

    • July 4, 2015 at 12:17 am

      well written and bravo i agree 100% i too am a combat vet and diagnosed with ptsd and i love fire works

    • July 5, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      REMF!!! Love it!! People don’t say that any more though. Just us old farts. Now they’re called Fobbits – because they never leave the FOB.

    • July 12, 2015 at 11:02 pm

      You’re a jerk! My family member DID suffer PTSD and killed himself on the 4th of July because fireworks triggered the trauma. When you grow up in church and believe in Christ’s grace and love, seeing and experiencing what you do during wartime is traumatizing. War is not funny! War is not just an occasion! War is hell! Mikey didn’t want PTSD! And, there was little he could do on his own to overcome it except to distance himself from its triggers. Anyone who hasn’t felt war’s aftermath or been immersed in its experience, can’t even come close to the war that veterans fight on the home front!

      • July 13, 2015 at 7:46 pm

        I assume you’re referring to Michael Kreft.

        Kraft obviously had severe and unaddressed problems. If he was in such a fragile state that fireworks alone spurred him to suicide, he needed far more help than a sign could provide. The articles I’ve seen about his death are sparse and explain very little, but I suspect alcohol was a factor (due to the mention of him being at a bar when he broke down). His presence at the bar also invalidates any alleged effectiveness of a no fireworks sign in a front yard; Kreft wasn’t at home when he heard the fireworks. So is everyone, everywhere, supposed to stop using fireworks on the off chance that a fireworks-sensitive veteran *might* be in the area?

        And what about other loud noises, like cars backfiring, loud motorcycle pipes, or jackhammers at construction sites? Jackhammers sound a lot more like automatic weapons than firecrackers do. Should people limit construction, because the noise might trigger someone’s PTSD?

        I hope you see what I’m getting at. Everyone is going to hear unexpected loud noises at some point, usually multiple points, in their lives. It is unrealistic to expect to avoid them, and if someone is so sensitive to loud noises that they become suicidal that’s a sign they need immediate help. Real help from a professional, not the false “help” provided by a sign that won’t be seen or heeded by many people around the veteran.

        I also still maintain that our status as combat veterans doesn’t entitle us to expect the nation to change its normal and innocent behavior for our benefit.

        I’m sorry about your family’s loss. RIP Michael.

  • July 3, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    I get that you are a combat vet. I am as well. If you had a neighbor that intentionally shoots bottle rockets at your house the entire time that they are allowed to shoot fireworks during the 4th and the only way you can do anything is to publicly post it before you can have any legal rights I am sure that you might have a different opinion. Yes it has been abused but it IS an effective legal tool. Maybe you should consider all sides before you call everyone out.

    • July 3, 2015 at 11:47 pm

      There are already rules about firing bottle rockets at someone else’s house. Are you saying if I don’t put up a sign, it’s somehow okay for people to target my house with fireworks?

      • July 9, 2015 at 7:28 pm

        No I believe what he’s saying is that you are a pathetic dick

    • July 4, 2015 at 9:51 am

      Are you saying that if they shoot fireworks at your house and you have a sign in your front yard that it would somehow cover your ass if you happen to just get fed up and, I don’t know, shoot them? I am having trouble following your logic here.

    • July 4, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      If some crazy bastard is shooting bottle rockets at your house, I’m pretty sure a sign won’t stop that

    • August 10, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      Ya “bro”, I have probably spent more time in Iraq and Afghanistan then you have spent in the military. You my friend, are a tool. Stop talking shit about your brothers in arms, get over your insecurities and drive on, fuckstick.

      • August 10, 2015 at 9:55 pm

        Who are you replying to?

  • July 3, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Yeah, you nailed it… when I first started hearing about those signs they just didn’t pass the sniff test. Dog owners know that the 4th of July is a noisy day with lots of bangs and take precautions. So I’m supposed to believe that firecrackers and fireworks are going to cause… what exactly? Anxiety and flashbacks because I was surprised. By the noise. On the 4th of July.

    I’d be willing to be that 90% of those signs were bought by posers, and the other 10% were bought by well-meaning relatives.

    • July 10, 2015 at 6:08 am

      I agree Kevin with your assessment. I was an 88m over there and I muddle through the fourth knowing what to expect. You can’t ask everyone no to enjoy the fourth. It’s not fair though to say that just because some vets have that sign means they never left the FOB though! I went outside the wire almost every day hauling fuel from Camp Cedar Iraq to places like Anaconda and Taji and others. I’ve been shot at and had friend blown up with IED’s, but because I don’t like fireworks that means( according to you) I’m a REMF? That’s. Pretty presumptuous of you guys! Nough said! PS I don’t have a sign on my lawn (wouldn’t make any dif anyway I live out in the country)

  • July 3, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    I read your article and there is a lot of truth to what you said. The only thing I can say is that for the same reason you accuse veterans of seeking attention is the same reason that you wrote the article. You have no right to point a finger at a group of people when your are doing the same thing.

    • July 3, 2015 at 11:46 pm

      Well, I’m not asking anyone to change their behavior because of my personal sensitivities. But hey bro, take my writing however you want. 🙂

      • July 9, 2015 at 6:37 pm

        I have to admit as an 0311 combat veteran I had issues where I had gotten a little antsy from “unexpected” fireworks when I first came home. That was a tough year or so. Cars that backfired would cause me to start checking rooftops, people in haji clothes were suspicious, and I didn’t like driving by weird shit next to the road. But I got over it and wouldn’t have told a civilian anything about that shit because they have enough of a stereotypical attitude towards veterans. These signs are a way of saying “hey, look at me, I was in the shit”. Most veterans who advertise to everyone about that part of their life are seeking attention. I know that civilians can’t even understand that part of what I am. Therefore I save my combat conversations for fellow combat veterans.

      • July 9, 2015 at 7:27 pm

        Fukking loser… you make fun of brave men while you play with your dick watching the replies

        • July 9, 2015 at 8:25 pm

          At least I’m brave enough to use my own name, Mr. Doe. 🙂

      • July 13, 2015 at 1:04 pm

        Your writing is spot on! I received one of those signs in the mail. I thought it was a prize, or a gift from a forgotten relative. And I opened the package, and said, “Damn, I thought I was getting some money or something!”

        Really, initially, I thought these sign’s creators were helping me, a veteran. Then I remembered everything that brought me to this point in my life … my training, time served, fallen battle buddies, and it had nothing to do with that sorry-marshmallow-sick-call-ranger-attitude-provoking sign!

        I’ve been through some stuff, and … Saw some things, whilst serving my country. That sign felt like a request for extra cookies,at the dog and pony show.”

        • July 13, 2015 at 7:31 pm

          Michelle Johnson completes me. 🙂

    • July 4, 2015 at 7:53 pm

      Suggesting that a group of people not be douche bags , is not douche bag behavoir and and of itself

  • July 3, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    Aside from the very valid points in your article, I wonder about the safety of announcing to the world that you’re a combat vet. With ISIS actively encouraging its members to target soldiers, why would you want to draw attention to yourself, and/or your family?

    • July 4, 2015 at 1:55 am

      Most of us welcome those cowards taking a shot at us. It’s gonna end horribly wrong for them.

      • July 4, 2015 at 12:35 pm

        And that includes me. I see the day we take care of them cowards.

      • July 5, 2015 at 7:45 am

        You forgot goatfahking cowards…

      • July 6, 2015 at 11:12 am

        They’re not going to take a shot at you. They’re going to take a shot at your wife and kids while you’re not there. Remember, they’re cowards and have no problem targeting women and children.

    • July 4, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      I worry about the safety of ISIS. My son is a combat Marine veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s a lot like Ryan and Jorge L Gonzalez Alonso. If you come at him, be prepared for the fight of your life. Pack a lunch…you’ll be a while. Sign me, “Proud Mom of a combat Marine!”

      • July 5, 2015 at 7:19 am

        What Ryan, above said. My son is a combat vet, an FMF Corpsman who saw buddies lose limbs. I voiced similar concern to him about Facebook, etc. and he told me “Let ’em come. They’ll be sorry they did.”

        Confidence & resolve, from the greatest military in the world.

    • July 8, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Some bitch ass fuckwit calling himself an “ISIS supporter” wants to man the fuck up and bring his weak ass gun game here. Challenge accepted. I am going to make a sign that say a vet lives here without fear.

    • December 29, 2015 at 6:07 am

      We can only hope. You are a disgrace to the men and women of the armed forces. Entitlements? Just they are entitled, they deserve respect, understanding, lifetime medical care, job placement, etc..

      The put their lives on the line for ALL of us and you have the nerve to label them freeloaders.

      How dare you.

      • December 30, 2015 at 4:41 am

        They didn’t all put their lives on the line. Not all veterans are heroes, not all of them deserve or need a handout. Hero worship like that enables the many liars, frauds and fakes.

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