Since most military veterans go through extreme and intense experiences, they sometimes acquire a certain diffidence in social situations. Thus making small talk with a veteran on a date can be a bit difficult but not impossible.
Start off by ask your partner about his/her hobbies, home town and some of the interesting places he/she has been to. Take your cue about discussing his/her service from your date. If he/she seems eager to talk about it, go ahead and ask where he/she served. During this time it may also be a good idea to pick up some military jargon so that you know what he/she means by certain abbreviations and terms used typically in the armed forces. If however you don’t understand something, don’t hesitate to ask – it’s always better to ask a polite question than to make an uninformed assumption.
Sooner or later though you will need to talk to your date about his/her service and status as a veteran. Be aware that not all veterans will want to open up about their experiences right away but you should discuss your date’s time in the military before the relationship becomes serious. However don’t focus on your date’s status as a veteran to the exclusion of his other traits as a human being. If he wants to leave his service in the past and talk about who he is and what he does now, respect his/her stance.