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Respect for servicemen?


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Old June 12th, 2012, 21:23   #1
Bois Brule
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Alberta
Respect for servicemen?

Didn't want to hijack the other thread in general, plus I'm still playing it safe in the tank. I mentioned That I have a million questions, and I meant it

How do servicemen feel about airsofters getting geared up and playing soldier?

My own personal feelings about it are steering me to a non-military ummm... "loadout" (is that the correct term?), but I am curious to hear the general opinions.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 21:29   #2
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That depends, are doing an impression of a real unit? Are you wearing unit patches? are you wearing the uniform properly? would you respect the wishes of a member in the unit you are impersonating if they asked you to fix something that they found disrespectful? Do you go around pretending you are in the unit you are impersonating? do you wear rank?

These are some of the questions you need to think about. if you are doing everything right then i see no real issues with it. if you are dressing up like 10th mountain and scroll "baby killer" across your helmet then your going to have a problem.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 21:43   #3
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Location: Somewhere between Hamilton Ontario, and Hell..
For present day/newish military history, keep the impression that you are assuming, reasonably generic. Some units are more sensitive to this than others, as to how their image is portrayed/imitated/stolen under false pretense. A good example of this would be ex-RCR members - i've heard that they don't take too well to others wearing a maroon beret and other accoutrements related to that regiment. Don't assume rank insignia that you haven't earned, or field awards/qualifications that your own sweat and blood hasn't earned.

There is a clear, but fine line between assuming a persona/look in terms of gear for airsoft/paintball purposes, and impersonating someone/some unit that you clearly are not in real life down to rank, insignia and attitude. One is good, the other, definitely not.

Beyond that, you should be good, IMHO anyway.
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Old June 12th, 2012, 21:54   #4
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I'll give this a go since I'd had the the feelings working alongside soldiers, sailors and airmen and women. Initially I'd stuck with a fox, Agency, HTS, whatever get up, anything civilianish and I refused to get CADPAT.

With time that eased, as I talked to coworkers about my secret hobby.
Chief among my concerns was what a friend and OP Medusa widow would say.
She thinks it's great, as have a JTF-2 assaulter, two sappers, a two star, a 37 year RCR LCol, a handful of dbags from Health Services and of course the Airborne vets, Jimmies, Militia, and OCdts I've met from this board.

Would every CF member think its cool? No.
Would anyone be thrilled about rank and berets etc for anything other than historical reenactment? Certainly not.

Anyhow fill your boots.
Views are my own.

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Old June 12th, 2012, 22:06   #5
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There is no greater form of flattery than imitation. (I clearly remember Brian M saying this)

However, I could see that if you wore unit patches/designations it would definitely piss some people off. You didn't bleed for it, you should not wear it. The exception could be made if you are doing a re-enactment though, but that touches on my first comment.

Everyone is going to have different and passionate opinions on the matter, as they should. If your going to wear that patch you must realize that symbol is very important to many, and if you present it in anything less than a satisfactory manner, you can hardly blame them for jumping down your throat.

Also, do not make claim of something that your are not. Let me say that again, do not claim to be something you are not.

Otherwise I think if you treat it with respect as those who wear them professionally do, you should be fine.

EXAMPLE: This is an actual member on ASC, not longer active I think. But it can give you some perspective on how people might react to you doing dress up.'Lerch'_Scheer

Last edited by T_A_N_K; June 12th, 2012 at 22:13..
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Old June 12th, 2012, 22:11   #6
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I consider airsoft game is part of "reenactment" and dress as authentic as possible.I only dress uniform in games and never act stupidly.

We often see fully dressed, including ranks and special badges people in some of the Japanese/Asian airsoft and hobby shows, one even used it as his wedding dress. It is very clear that it is out of their respect of the servicemen that they dress that way.

With the right occasion and right attitude, it is fine.

Last edited by Swattiger; June 12th, 2012 at 22:17..
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Old June 12th, 2012, 22:53   #7
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Nobody bites actors heads off for wearing authentic uniforms on film and stage, and I think the same standard should apply to the casual re-enactment and role-playing that goes on in airsoft. I think you would be extremely hard-pressed to find any airsoft player who lacks respect for soldiers.

I have talked to my CF friends about what we do and they've mostly found it fascinating and cool and didn't have problems with any of the imitation. It's just a really elaborate form of collecting, drama/storytelling, sport, and hobby all wrapped up into one. Anyone who gets really upset about it needs to re-evaluate the things in life that make them upset.

edit: Having said all of the above if I did come across a CF member or a widow or the like who was disturbed by it for PTSD or similar reasons, I would respectfully limit my exposure to said person and try to be as reasonable as possible with my interactions with them. Suffering due to real war is no joke and if anything I did set off someone's suffering in that manner, I would try to avoid enflaming the situation.
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Last edited by MaciekA; June 12th, 2012 at 22:56..
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Old June 12th, 2012, 23:01   #8
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I find it depends who you are, and what you've done in your career.
There are guys that go as far as wearing unit citations, berets and salute each other on the field. I think that's going way too far.
And a group of my friends and I were confronted for all wearing camo pants in public.

There's nothing wrong with wearing camo, it's just camo.
I know a handful of really hardcore guys that are and were in the service, what I get from them is just don't wear anything that needs to be earned.

But a lot of people forget that airsoft isn't necessarily mil-sim, it's a sport, just like paintball. The majority of us aren't wannabe soldiers, we just wanna go out and shoot each other lol
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i never understood why the oil refinery had a brothel... i never see them at the refineries i work at this is bull!
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Old June 12th, 2012, 23:09   #9
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I own a maroon Airborne Hoody and don't wear it, cause I have yet to earn it.

But I plan to, soon.....

If you are doing an impression, just be sure you know the history of the unit be it historical or modern. The 101st Airborne Easy Company doesn't count either. lol
You Get Out of It What You Put Into It...

Last edited by foxtrot-one7; June 12th, 2012 at 23:14..
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Old June 13th, 2012, 00:00   #10
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Location: Edmonton, AB, Canada
It really depend on what it is.
Unit patch is one folks should not wear unless they're in milsim game
Airborne, Special force are two comes to mind. There are others just as nice but don't offend others ie: Infidel
In terms of rank, same thing. if you don't earn it at very least position it so people can tell, ie wear Captain patch on its side (equal sign)
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Old June 13th, 2012, 00:05   #11
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Location: Somewhere between Hamilton Ontario, and Hell..

Interesting UK take on Airsofting, as it relates to 'Walts' .. or those who wannabe warriors by misrepresentation. Being a Walt, whether on this side of the pond, or the other side, isn't a good thing.

One perspective, take it as you will. Standards/definition may vary.

Last edited by HackD; June 13th, 2012 at 00:14..
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Old June 13th, 2012, 00:41   #12
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Location: Bowmanville Ont
I've just joined and my only quip. Is wear the uniform, but while wearing it don't act stupid and do not wear berets, rank, or badges.. If you are not an active member of that unit do not wear your uniform in public.

So in final.

Wearing: BDU is OKAY.
Wearing Ranks, Berets, or something else you haven't earned? BAD.

Wearing your BDU (ex CADPAT) outside and airsoft game? Wrong. Remember when wearing your BDU your representing and actual military unit with tradition, history, and the like. RESPECT IT!
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I know that isn't really what you asked, but it's the internet, and I like to type things that don't matter.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 01:22   #13
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Historical Reenactors (and I mean Historical Re-enactors, not blanket SCA/ Renn Faire types) grapple with this question daily.

The general attitude amongst them is that in order to respectfully portray a person or persons from the past is to remember that the clothes they wear and the things they do represent people.
Real live flesh-and-blood, thinking, feeling, people.
Really hammering that point into your own mind will bring a deep sense of humbling perspective, and while it might not completely legitimize your hobby, it may allow you to more fully accept what you're doing and think about what it means to you.
Another thing they do is research the everliving shit out of who/ when they portray.
That doesn't mean "I read one book with pictures" or even "I read 10 books and wrote a paper with citations", it means "My research is not secondary, but primary to my reasons for reenactment. My knowledge will grow and mature as I mature, and I will make it a corner stone to my sense of self for the rest of my life".

You don't have to go that far for airsoft, and many people who do that probably don't think about it in those terms.
You can put together a completely generic 'tactical' loadout from commercially available gear and think about nothing more than the efficiency of the game itself, and many (younger) military/ LEOs won't even bat an eyelash. Things are different now. The vast majority of our gear isn't even surplus anymore.

However: If you do want to go out and replicate the 'look' and persona of a certain military unit, I personally believe that it's your responsibility to ensure that it is accurate, neat, best represents the most correct picture of that unit (this includes physical fitness and appearance), and that you think of it on the same terms as a historical re-enactor does.
HRs often talk about being 'in character'. To some of them, that means they are a professional or amateur actor and are actively portraying someone as best they can. To all of them, this means not doing shit that their subject wouldn't do. Example: picking nose, profanity in public, lack of profanity in public, mishandling weapons, undue horseplay, being a twat etc.
This is largely subjective, but still subject to the fact that a military uniform is someone else's skin. Don't defile it.
And don't wear rank/ insignia/ patches you haven't earned. This is a bit looser in the context of HR, but there is a mile-wide line in the sand for it in airsoft.

No matter how main stream airsoft gets, it will always be on the fringe. There are people who think that wearing combat boots with normal clothes make you a horrible person.
Most reasonable people will see you dressed up and will range in opinion from "Awesome" to "Well, that's... different, but to each their own". If you stay generic or derive from fictional sources (I wear a RAINBOW patch) people within and without the community won't scrutinize you, but the second you're identifiable as 'US Ranger Fallujah circa 2006', '101st Airborne circa 1945', or 'PPCLI circa 1989', you are putting yourself under scrutiny. If you're a decent guy, you'll likely get away with it, but if you're wearing unit markers, boards and other insignia you are in serious shit, or not invited back.
This is one of the great reasons why teams invent their own patches and markers.

This is all pretty common sense stuff, but a lot of people just don't get it.

If you're worried about what you might run into, just buy modern, generic, new stuff and set it up in a way you find efficient and attractive. SEALs don't have a copyright on Sigs or 6094s.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 02:21   #14
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Location: Montreal, QC
In all honestly, what happens on the field happens between airsofters; soldiers don't randomly drop by to check out if anyone is imitating them too closely for their liking. As mentioned, avoid wearing specific items that you haven't earned: ranks, awards/ribbons, skills, unit, etc. There IS fine line between dressing-like (impression) and impersonating that must be respected.

So the only real issue is what you'll be doing with all that kit off the field: will you be plastering pics of yourself all decked out with medals and ribbons on your FB page? Going to the mall dressed as a serviceman? Making any sort of claims you aren't entitled to?

If none of the above, then it's a moot point. Don't be a bonehead and it'll be fine.

The Lerch example that was brought up and -- while I think the arsse folks are full of themselves and only succeeded in demonstrating how empty their lives are -- that's a direct result of those pictures being out there for the public to see. Was he just happy to show off his impression/collection? Probably. But without proper context/framing ("This is an impression" "I am doing this to illustrate the various pieces of kit from a given era" etc) I can easily see how it can be taken the wrong way. And honestly the public at large doesn't need to be exposed to this.
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Old June 13th, 2012, 02:24   #15
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Location: Not-Brampton
It's like wearing your NHL jersey while playing pickup.

When I was in the Canadian Airborne kit shop and buying stuff. I huge and very built paratrooper came in at the same time. I noticed a tattoo of the para wings on the back of his neck. Now I am thinking "uh oh, If I don't produce an airborne coin here I am dead!!!"

But instead I take on the issue head on and ask him. "Are you gonna kick my ass...?"

To my surprise he says "no, you're supporting us".

I was relived and pleasantry surprised and as I stated above I haven't worn it since (just for sizing in the kit shop).

Sometimes being involved with historical re-enactments can afford you some priceless perks. Like getting to explore a DC-3 Dakota that was actually used on D-Day. Or talking to an old vet who after seeing the uniform creates an instant bond and tells you stuff he wouldn't even tell his own kids. Then one time I spoke to a forum SAS medic who told me first hand accounts of his time when he served in Burma before it was known as Myanmar.

My favourite is driving a Vet (who was in the battle of Dieppe and captured) to Remembrance Day ceremony (a duty I felt privileged and proud to perform) and hearing his dirty jokes or his take on his last trip to the NATO HQ.

So I guess I am a "Walt"....
You Get Out of It What You Put Into It...
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