Sunday, March 3, 2013

“Ex” vs. “Former . . . ”

. . . according to the Navy there IS a difference . . .

Must be a Navy / Marine thing . . . much ado about nothing, me thinks . . . S.L.

OK Team we're going to go over this one more time and then I'm going to put it to rest so lissen up:


(English) - having been previously; onetime ( i.e. a former athlete )

EX :

(Latin) - Out of, Out from ( ablative form )

A couple years back I was sitting across a table from a retired Recon Marine and he repeated a phrase I have heard before: "There's no such thing as a former Marine."

The only difference between what he said and the way it was originally told to me; "There's no such thing as a former Green Beret."

I am a retired Special Forces soldier, still serving in other capacities. I consider myself a soldier, I use the skills acquired in a quarter a century of soldiering in my work today. There is nothing "former" about my status; I maintain the capabilities that a Special Forces soldier represents.

When I introduce myself within professional circles, I refer to myself as "ex-military" - meaning I'm out of the military. It doesn't mean the military is out of me.



  1. And we thank you for your service.


  2. No Dude, it's a Marine thing. Period. We are US Marines for life. Until we kick you out. We'd rather kill you though, if you deserve "ex-marine."
    Are we clear on this, soldier?


  3. I believe I toldja so. It's an amphibian thing.

    Once A Marine, Always A Marine.
    (And hey, if that's a motto in SF too, have at it.)

    Unless you're a douchebag, and earn the ex- prefix.

    Which, I think, is why I've seen a number of civilian crapweasels referred to as Ex-Men.

  4. I still consider myself a Soldier, albeit honorably discharged. Although being a Transportation Corps Soldier isn't as sexy, nothing happens until something moves.

  5. Must be a generational thing. None of the old G.I.s I've known had a problem with being referred to as 'ex-G.I.'.
    They used the term themselves, and were happy to be so.

  6. TomR armed in TexasMarch 4, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    I use ex and former both. Also label myself as SF veteran or Veteran SF. To me they all get the message across.

    To the Marines here. I have met some Marine vets who shame their service. To me their prior military status has nothing to do with their present asshole status.

  7. We understand, Tom.
    We even feel the same way.

    That's why we refer to them as ex-Marines, because it's easier than getting DoD to retroactively revoke their enlistment status. To us, it's the linguistic equivalent of ripping off their epaulets, insignia, stripes, hashmarks, and buttons, breaking their saber, and marching them out past a gaunlet of their betters. Although I'm looking forward to a trip to PA before I die, because what I'll leave on Jack Murtha's headstone won't pass for flowers.

    On a different tack, where Stolen Valor is concerned, I really wish the commendable idea of tarring and feathering would make a comeback. I'm a sentimental traditionalist at heart.

  8. It's a Marine thing. Guys like Leatherneck and I are Former-Marines.

    Douche-bags like John Murtha, Lee Harvey Oswald, Charles Whitman, etc. are Ex-Marines.