Since Dr. Seuss first introduced him in 1957, the ultimate Christmas grump has taken the form of the amorphous green meanie known as “The Grinch.”

Depicted as a roughly middle-aged curmudgeon with no family or friends, the Grinch’s past is relatively unknown beyond a brief backstory that suggests he was an orphan.

When the Grinch chooses to steal Christmas, however, his actions happen to be rather consistent with the training and attitude of an angry veteran. Here are a handful of unmistakable signs the Grinch is actually prior military.

The attitude

The Grinch’s mood mirrors that of a classic driver seat-ranting veteran — mad at the world yet rather disconnected from it.


The choice to steal Christmas is not so much about taking physical gifts as it is about crushing the spirits of the Whos. The recognition that he can destroy the morale of an entire town is extremely top brass.

The service dog

Max is trained to go above and beyond the normal duties of man’s — or green monster’s — best friend. From being an emotional companion to driving the Grinch’s getaway sleigh, he always rises to meet his owner’s challenges.

Explosives knowledge

The Grinch’s use of a makeshift flamethrower to burn down Whoville’s Christmas tree illustrates clear explosive ordnance training. Accidentally blowing up a gas line while driving a mini-car, however, is also the kind of reckless thing a member of the E-4 mafia might do.

The schedule

“4:00, wallow in self-pity. 4:30, stare into the abyss. 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one. 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me. I can’t cancel that again. 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing. I’m booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness,” notes the Grinch as he ponders his day. The regimen mirrors that of many a veteran home longing for the days of deployment.

He lives in the wilderness

Many veterans prefer an off-the-grid existence, post-service. In the Grinch’s case, it’s a solitary cave-like home on Mount Crumpit. It’s outdoorsy, far from society, and even has a few characteristics of a doomsday prepper’s domicile.

Observation Post is the Military Times one-stop shop for all things off-duty. Stories may reflect author observations.

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

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