What the heck is a Ruptured Duck?
Published: November 8, 2011
The Ruptured Duck is Stars and Stripes’ new veteran-focused blog.
Dating back to World War II and before, Stars and Stripes has been the leading news source for U.S. troops serving overseas. Now, after more than a decade of war, our troops are coming home, joining their brother and sister veterans and fanning out in the civilian world.
Our goal as you make this transition and embark on this journey is to earn your trust as the No. 1 news source and community for veterans, too. This blog is part of our effort.
So, what’s up with the name?
The Ruptured Duck was GI slang for the Honorable Service Lapel Button, awarded to honorably discharged veterans during World War II. Vets often went home in uniform wearing a sewn-on version of the emblem so that military police wouldn’t think they were AWOL. As a result, the term also sometimes referred to recently discharged veterans themselves.
The overall origin of the nickname is disputed. Probably the most interesting etymological theory is that the bird looked more like a duck than an eagle. Since he was looking to his right – as if a doctor might have told it to turn its head and cough – vets surmised he might have a hernia. Hence, the Ruptured Duck.
There are now roughly 22 million U.S. veterans – a small minority in a nation of about 312 million people. Our veterans served in conflicts and in peacetime, in all the services, as officers and enlisted troops, in ways that were both heroic and pedestrian. But the one thing you have in common is that at some point, you swore an oath.
You promised to “support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic … and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”
You did your duty and served as you were asked to. And then, you went home.
While the Honorable Service Lapel Button was technically only authorized for World War II veterans, we chose the Ruptured Duck for naming inspiration because we wanted something that would connect today’s veterans to the proud tradition of their forefathers.
Those older veterans had an indelible impact on American society. While today’s numbers are smaller, the U.S. has more young veterans – and especially combat veterans – than it’s had in a generation.
We hear talk about today’s veterans being “the next greatest generation,” and from our vantage point it makes perfect sense. The civilian world is your next great adventure. We’re honored to chronicle it with you.