Have you or someone close to you ever served in the military or armed forces on active duty? Who?
Note that the question does not ask if the person is a veteran. Some veterans will not identify themselves as veterans, even though they are. This may be due to still having an active military status and only seeing veteran status as denoting being separated from the military. It may also come from never having served in a “war zone” and feeling one does not deserve to be called a veteran. Data suggests that many women who have served in the armed forces fail to think of themselves as veterans.
Whatever the case may be, some veterans will answer no when asked if they are a veteran, but they will more likely answer yes when asked if they have served in the military or armed forces on active duty. The term, “armed forces”, is the better of the two terms to use because includes the military services, defined as the Army, Marines, Navy, and the Air Force – and also the Coast Guard. Coast Guardsmen often called up to perform as a military service during periods of armed conflict or war and, in so doing, qualify as veterans. That raises another key point – active duty service is entailed in the definition of a being a veteran.
It is suggested the patient be asked not only if he/she has served, but also if anyone close to him/her has served. Health issues may arise in loved ones of deployed personnel and veterans – generally those revolving around mental health and reproduction. If the family deployed with the spouse, they may be subject to some of the same environmental contaminators (e.g. the Camp Lejeune water contamination situation).