I was drafted. They called it the peacetime Army, but the Korean armistice had just been signed and the Russians occupied Eastern Europe. They say that conscripts do not make good soldiers but I served nine years active duty and 15 years in the reserves. I was an average soldier. My medals were for good conduct and component readiness. My only war story is how a non-judicial punishment led to a promotion and assignment to be a colonel’s driver. In my off-duty time on base, I trained Soldiers in hand-to-hand combat and sent two to the Olympics to compete in boxing. My longest billet was to be a trainer in race relations and equal opportunity. For me, a trade school graduate, with no special purpose or direction, the Army was my equal opportunity to earn maturity, learn teamwork, and help to build the next generation of Soldiers. -- For the "Buy a Brick" campaign of the National Museum of the Army (here) of the Army Historical Foundation (here).
(The photograph is the only artifact of Dad in uniform in the possession of his second family. His DD-214 cites the second rocker for Sergeant First Class, not shown here. After his first re-enlistment expired in 1958, Dad's 15 years in the Ohio National Guard came only after the second set of boys was grown up and mostly gone. We all support our men in uniform; we do not all encourage them to join. "Why did you go, Michael? It was not your fight," said Don Corleone.)
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