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Romance in the military is no easy task. Looking for love amid deployments, exercises, and regular duty station moves across the world is daunting even for the most avid believers in love and all that other crap you see in Disney movies during which I pretend very hard not to cry.
Even so, the search for love and companionship is important to the mental well-being of everyone, regardless of the terrible life choices they've made. Working in a field that tends to take you all over the world introduces service members to a wide range of people to meet and date, and while some of them may be normal and well-adjusted people, chances are they'll fit into one or more of the following categories.
1. The Expert.
If the first thing someone you're on a date with asks you is "What's your MOS?" chances are you've got one of these on your hands. He or she somehow reads all the pubs and manuals, talks the lingo, and loves debating you about the merits of gear and vehicles that you really didn't even know or care about in the first place.
- Pros: Understands what you mean when you use an acronym. Will eat an MRE without being dared to.
- Cons: What would you rather talk about on a date for several hours: the new Avengers movie, or the complicated nuances and considerations of converting all the military's M63467.82 flangle-whatsits to M63467.83 dingle-whatevers? Exactly.
2. The Fetishist.
The first time the response to the question, "What do you want to do tonight?" ends with the phrase, "...with your boots still bloused," you can be sure you've found a fetishist.
- Pros: Let's just call it "eagerness."
- Cons: Will only stay with you as long as you stay in the service, wool dress uniforms do not breathe well when, ahem, "exerting" oneself.
3. The Gotta Catch 'Em All.
"Oh, you're a Marine, you say? Well let's see, I've already had three soldiers, four airmen, and a Coast Guardsman. After I'm done with you, I'll just get your Corpsman's numbers and my collection will be complete."
- Pros: Will inform you how your performance compares to that of personnel from other branches.
- Cons: Will inform you how your performance compares to that of personnel from other branches.
4. The Fellow Service Member.
Absolutely, 100% your best option to enter a world of love and joy made of unicorns and candy puppies. And I'm not just saying that because I'm dating a fellow veteran who's probably going to read this article. Hi honey!
- Pros: The same as when dating an expert, plus they hate all the stupid stuff about the military as much as you.
- Cons: None whatsoever in any way at all. It's inescapably wonderful all the time, always.
5. The Remora.
For those who don't watch Shark Week, a remora is one of those sucker fish that attaches itself to the stomach of a shark or other large fish and feeds off its scraps. In military dating terms, these are the men and women who ask to accompany you to the PX by your third date and want to know the details on getting a dependent ID by the fifth. If you stay with one long enough that they start using phrases like "our battalion" and "when we get promoted," run.
- Pros: That's a typo. I actually meant to write "Pros?" because I can't think of any.
- Cons: What are you still doing here? Run!
6. Mr./Ms. Insecurity.
These are the people who cannot handle the fact that you, as a military member, are generally seen as tougher than the average person. Every part of your one-on-one relationship with one of these can be fine and dandy. But every time some third person asks about one of your fields ops or deployments, you won't be able to respond over the deafening and endless bragging about Tough Mudders, kettle bells, and challenging you to push-up contests.
- Pros: Usually tend to be CrossFitters, so they'll keep you in shape.
- Cons: Usually tend to be CrossFitters, so they're terrible people.
7. The Imaginary Person.
You tend to see people dating these a lot in the more inhospitable shitholes like Twentynine Palms. I did the whole time I was there, after all. She was a model. And a nuclear physicist. You don't know her because she lived across town and had to fly her private jet on spy missions a lot. So shut up.
- Pros: As many as your imagination can conjure up!
- Cons: Crushing loneliness, weeping.
Yes, there are variations, but these are the main groupings of people you'll wind up taking for dinner, drinks, and dancing (or push-up contests, depending) while you wear a uniform. You can even have combinations. Like, for instance, an Imaginary Insecure Fetishist. In that case, you are undoubtedly from my old duty station. Please see your battalion commanding officer to receive the “Loneliest Marine of the Quarter” award. Congrats.
The Air Force's top general says one of the designers of the ride-sharing app Uber is helping the branch build a new data-sharing network that the Air Force hopes will help service branches work together to detect and destroy targets.
The network, which the Air Force is calling the advanced battle management system (ABMS), would function a bit like the artificial intelligence construct Cortana from Halo, who identifies enemy ships and the nearest assets to destroy them at machine speed, so all the fleshy humans need to do is give a nod of approval before resuming their pipe-smoking.
An F-15 is rocking a WWII paint job to honor a B-17 pilot who gave his life to save a wounded crewman
An F-15C Eagle is sporting a badass World War II-era paint job in honor of a fallen bomber pilot who gave everything to ensure his men survived a deadly battle.
A U.S. E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft crashed on Monday on Afghanistan, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein has confirmed.
Beloved basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday. Two days earlier, Army Spc. Antonio I. Moore was killed during a vehicle rollover accident while conducting route clearing operations in Syria.
Which one more deserves your grief and mourning? According to Maj. Gen. John R. Evans, commander of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, you only have enough energy for one.
After 70 years, service members are finally filing medical malpractice claims against the US military
Jessica Purcell, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, was pregnant with her first child when she noticed a swollen lymph node in her left underarm.
Health-care providers at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic told her it was likely an infection or something related to pregnancy hormones. The following year they determined the issue had resolved itself.
It hadn't. A doctor off base found a large mass in her underarm and gave her a shocking diagnosis: stage 2 breast cancer.
Purcell was pregnant again. Her daughter had just turned 1. She was 35. And she had no right to sue for malpractice.
A 1950 Supreme Court ruling known as the Feres doctrine prohibits military members like Purcell from filing a lawsuit against the federal government for any injuries suffered while on active duty. That includes injury in combat, but also rape and medical malpractice, such as missing a cancer diagnosis.
Thanks in part to Tampa lawyer Natalie Khawam, a provision in this year's national defense budget allows those in active duty to file medical malpractice claims against the government for the first time since the Feres case.
With the Department of Defense overseeing the new claims process, the question now is how fairly and timely complaints will be judged. And whether, in the long run, this new move will help growing efforts to overturn the ruling and allow active duty members to sue like everyone else.