17 Unmistakable Habits of Someone Who Has Served in the Military

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By Jonathan Trent

In America, we are very proud of our military veterans, and luckily, they’re easy to spot, so we know when to give some extra respect. There are countless unique traits, too many to mention, but here are 17 of the most unmistakable military habits.

Waking up Early

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You can’t catch more than a few hours of sleep in a military household, as Sgt. Alarm Clock will be parading the floors by 05:00. They’ll have the children standing to attention by the breakfast table, performing a rendition of the national anthem before they’re allowed to tuck into their porridge oats.

Reluctance to Talk About It

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Military personnel won’t usually talk about their army experiences. A stigma still looms over the army, where soldiers feel the need to put up a steely exterior. A study by the National Library of Medicine suggests that 60% of military personnel with mental health troubles will refuse professional help, which is tragic.

Wearing the Military Uniform Everywhere

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For some reason, those who have served in the military seem to want to wear their camouflage colors everywhere they go. It doesn’t matter whether they’re at the supermarket, their child’s birthday party, or a trip to the seaside. You never know when the enemy is going to strike, we suppose!

Crowd Scanning

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Like meerkats in the Kalahari desert, military people will constantly be on edge, scanning their surroundings for any potential enemies who may be about to attack. On the battlefield, this scanning is sensible and necessary. In the food court at the local mall… not so much.

Walking With Purpose

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Even if they are no longer serving, military personnel can’t slowly stroll anywhere. They walk with purpose, as if they are preparing to infiltrate the front entry point of the local grocery store. You may have to get a light jog on if you’re planning on keeping up!

Frequent Fliers

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Military personnel are not afraid to rack up air miles, frequently flying to destinations across the globe. Who could blame them? According to the U.S. Department of Defense, they save around 35% on travel fares and up to 60% on hotels with their military discount, so it would be mad to miss out on that!

Sharp Haircuts

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Army men don’t want to waste their time with fancy haircuts; it’ll be two millimeters all over, leaving them with a head that feels reminiscent of a tennis ball. A large proportion of military men won’t even bother with the barbers, simply cutting it themselves out of habit.

They Wear Cargo Shorts

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An obvious sign that someone is military is that they’ll have a strange obsession with pockets. This will require them to wear cargo shorts at all times, as they never know when they may need to utilize the storage space on offer. To be fair, this is certainly a practical trait!

Arriving Early For Everything

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There’s no such thing as fashionably late in the military; you either arrive obscenely early, or you’re classed as late. Expect military personnel to tap their watch exaggeratedly if you arrive a mere five minutes early! Being on time is great, but this can get a little excessive.

They Get Discounts

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They may not be too happy to talk about their military service, but as soon as it comes to paying, military personnel will eagerly whip out their military discount card. There is money to be saved at restaurants, retail stores, and travel agents, and after all their hard work, we say they deserve it!

Relentless use of Jargon

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Those who have spent time in the military will have developed a method of communication different from regular language. They will flood their sentences with military jargon and acronyms, and they’ll be keen to show off their knowledge of the NATO phonetic alphabet. To be fair, it’s pretty useful!

Overuse of Their Left Hand

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Military personnel are drilled into many strange behaviors, including keeping their right hand free in case they need to jump into a salute pose. This habit will follow them home after they leave the service, leaving them neglecting to use their right hand for anything.

Sleeping Through Anything

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You can trust that a military veteran would have had to try and get their 40 winks in far less hospitable situations than most would have had to experience. Heavy rain drumming on the windows won’t be an issue for them as they rest, which is undeniably a very useful trait!

Eating Food Quickly

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As you can imagine, warfare doesn’t allow for lavish, relaxed, sit-down meals, and many soldiers have to get their food down as quickly as possible. This habit makes them restaurant nightmares, as they’ll be ready to order dessert before the rest of the table has even finished their starters.

Efficient Problem Solvers

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Military training and the stresses and strains of high-pressure warzone situations make army veterans very efficient problem solvers. They can function to a high level under severe pressure, so if they end up with careers in a corporate industry, they’re a hiring manager’s dream!

Poor Hearing

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The prolonged exposure to loud noises and explosions takes its toll on military veterans, with many of them developing hearing issues as a result. The Veterans Hearing Foundation states that tinnitus affects up to 30% of military veterans, sometimes to distressing levels. Hopefully, there will someday be a fix for this. 

Back Problems

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Last but not least, carrying around equipment day in and day out takes its toll on the body, with many military veterans experiencing back and joint problems because of it. They can be especially vulnerable to issues such as arthritis or spine impairment, restricting their overall movement. It’s a shame, but at least it’s indicative of their hard work.