Thursday, July 26, 2007

Speaking of uniforms

On 3/Feb/70 I took the oath of a recruit in the Army National Guard of Texas. Some thirty years prior to that my father had taken his oath of enlistment as he joined the U.S. Coast Guard. He signed up well before 7 Dec 41 and as was common with all the military during the war his tour of duty was extended until well after VJ Day. Among his stations were Biloxi, MS, Houston, TX, and San Juan, PR. He was an Aviation Machinist Mate (1st Class) and crewed PBY's - Flying Boats.

Upon my joining the Guard, I received basic training at Ft. Polk, LA. After rejoining my unit I transfered to another unit in Ft. Worth, TX and later Gatesville, TX. The Army in its infinite wisdom decided I was to be a Mess Cook and my Advanced Training was Army Mess School (MOS: 94B20). Oddly enough it has served me well throughout my life.

The Old Man was proud of his service and always talked about it. To the extent that I suppose it was as memorable a period as any in his life. He truly did believe he was serving his Country. Several friends, some close others not so, served during the Vietnam era. From a distance to a man, they are all proud of their time on duty and look upon it as valuable. Tools for life, if you will. In retrospect, I likewise look upon my days in the Guard as time well spent.

Don't know exactly what point I'm shooting for in this post. Perhaps it's an acknowledgement of the military's value in molding young men (and women) into citizens who are proud of their time spent learning a sense of self-reliance, duty, obligation and teamwork which the Armed Services instills in its members. I was a most reluctant recruit and did not enjoy any of the time invested during my service. It's only from a distance that I recognize what serving did for me as well as my friends. Am afraid I don't see so much of that in today's youth and wonder if we are not a little worse off for going to an all volunteer Armed Forces. Or at least for not recognizing the benefits of the growth and development military service offers.

Sleep well tonight, your armed services are awake.


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