Here's what I've come away from this discussion with:
a. There is an unfortunate confusion regarding the nature of military service vis-a-vis public service.
b. The phrase "Thank you for your service" may be kind of pro forma these days.
I'll give the last word to Jerry Desko who's comment proves that brevity is, indeed the soul of wit:
Veteran preference in federal civil service is good. What's the problem?
(hey! that's me, bottom row center)