I was playing World of Tanks the other day (I do that, from time to time), and in the in-game chat, when we should have been discussing things like, oh, I don't know, how to kill the enemy or some such, there was much discussion as to the origins of Veterans' Day and how it relates to Memorial Day, and why people can't tell the difference between the two.
Perhaps part of the problem is that in this, it seems that the US was actually ahead of most of the rest of the world. 11th November is famous worldwide for being Remembrance Day. A day to remember and reflect upon those who lost their lives in the service of their country. The date was selected, of course, as being the day that The Great War ended. The sheer scale of death which resulted from this war is often overlooked by US citizens, as, frankly, we showed up a little late to the party. Entire towns in the UK and France were utterly devastated as a generation of males was basically wiped out. As a result, the Commonwealth and France in particular decided to observe Armistice or Remembrance Day, which has become their day to commemorate their nation's war dead.
The problem for the US was that the US already had a day for commemorating war dead. Decoration Day, now Memorial Day. Initially the US also would commemorate Armistice Day as a commemoration for the Great War dead, but it was a bit redundant. After a few tweaks, things were solidified a bit to result in the official declaring of Memorial Day to be for the dead, and Veterans' Day to celebrate the living vets who sacrificed their time, comfort and safety in the service of the nation.
So, for those of you reading this in countries outside the US, this explains the purpose of this post, which follows on from last year's one. Nothing to do with the dead, and everything to do with the living. More specifically, the living who are working for us in Wargaming's offices in North America.
First, a catch-up. All the persons mentioned in last year's post still work for Wargaming. Viktor and Slava, of course, haven't gone anywhere. Chris Keeling has returned from Europe and is now in the Austin office. SGT_Grunt is still a few desks over from me here in the San Francisco office, and many of you will have met Marcus in person as he became our Hummer pilot on the road tour.
We have some additions to the fold, though.
This is Krazyone, one of the Customer Support Reps here in the San Francisco office. Obviously Army, originally Missouri Guard joining as an E-2 with basic in Fort Jackson. As the ISAF patch indicates, the photo was taken in Afghanistan, and shows one of the most heavily armed cooks.. erm.. food service specialists you'll ever come across. Since, of course, the US has decided to go with civlian contractors for chow duty, he had to find another form of employment overseas, and he ended up going with an MP unit in 2010/2011 doing all sorts of non-cook-related activities like personal security details, teaching ANP, or managing food/water logistics. OK, that last one might be more cook-related. He has since transferred to CalGuard, and continues as a 92G in a field artillery unit as an E-4.
A more recent addition to our roster, also a CSR in San Francisco, is Pigeon_of_War.
Now, every branch of the Army, much to the dislike of the Powers-That-Are who removed branch insignia from uniforms, ribs on every other branch. Armor poke fun at infantry, infantry jest at the artillery, everyone (justifiably!) lays in on the MPs, and so on. There is one branch, however, which is immune from this ribbing, and the Pigeon was a member of that group. He was a combat medic. A member of the Army Reserve with an engineering battalion from 2002-2008, the photo was taken during his visit to the sandbox 2007-2008.
Moving outside the San Francisco area, we have our first representative from a service branch other than the Army. Zoomies represent!
Travin was an Aerospace Maintenance Technician for ten years, specialising in large airframes for the US Air Force. Being ordinarily attached to C-130 squadrons, he got to visit some interesting and appealing places, such as Greenland.
He currently works in our Austin office as a solutiions architect.
Our final vet for this year is Saffyer. (Yes, name photoshopped to protect the guilty)
You are looking at one of the rare and mythical quartermasters! A 92A, she was spending her time doing all sorts of arcane logistical things (As one flag officer supposedly said, "I don't know what the hell this 'Logistics' thing is, but I want some of it"). After suffering the horrors of a first duty station in Miesau, Germany, 2004 saw her hop off to Balad, Iraq, with a transfer directly to Afghanistan after just over a year. Which seems a more efficient way of getting multiple campaign medals than I went through, but is evidently from the dark days of the very long tours. Interestingly, I think we may have seen each other, I was in Balad at the same time. In addition to the logistical work, she performed other inevitable duties such as stretcher-bearer from helipad to CASH and FOB perimeter guard. Once that was done, she transferred to Fort Hood for two years, and must have liked it there as she is now a part of the nearby Wargaming Austin office, working as a Junior Environment Artist.
That's all the folks who replied to my email requesting background and a glamour photo. I know there are one or two other vets who don't want the notoriety, but a tip of the hat to them as well.
To any other veterans playing, regardless of nationality, best regards, and drive on!