Happy Veterans Day, fellow veterans. I served in the U.S. Army from May of 1964 to May of 1966. It was during the early stages of the Viet Nam war but I was not shipped there. I spent my entire two years at a state-side post. None of this was through any of my own doing. I, like millions before me, was drafted and therefore did pretty much as ordered to do. Two months before I was due to be discharged, I received orders to report to the First Cavalry Division in Viet Nam but because I had only two months left, the orders were rescinded.
My two years in the army were relatively uneventful. I made a lot of friends and still remain friends with a couple of people. Like anything else in life there were some good times and some bad. I absolutely do not regard myself as a hero. Sure, I gave up two years to serve and I could have been shipped just about anywhere at any given time but unless you were married or a full time student, so did a bunch of others. It was simply part of the times and every healthy young man could expect it to be a part of their life
America does not have a draft anymore. Every eighteen year old male does have to register but no one is drafted. The armed forces are all voluntary.
I'm reminded of this because a recent news item reported that a Connecticut National Guard unit has been ordered to Afghanistan. This got me to thinking. The original purpose of the National Guard was to maintain order and security at home-not abroad. But over the past several years many national guard units have served over seas in perilous circumstances. I think this is a problem. The national guard is not meant to be a general army. It was meant to be here, at home. Why is it necessary to use them as though they were regular army soldiers? Is it because not enough people are volunteering in the regular army? I don't know the answer to that but the implications are far reaching. Am I suggesting that we bring back the draft? No, I wouldn't want to see that happen so maybe what we should be doing is making it more worthwhile for people to volunteer for the regular army.
Food for thought.