Thompson: We are a veterans, ‘we few, we happy few, we rope of brothers’

Of today’s 326 million Americans, about 18.5 million of us are veterans. We are a group and women who, years ago, in a primary of a immature American lives, put on a uniform and served on active avocation in a armed army of a United States.

• 768,000 sojourn from a 16 million who served in World War II.

• 1.6 million sojourn from a 5.7 million who served during a Korean conflict.

• 6.7 million sojourn from a 9 million who served during a Vietnam era.

“I’m a veteran. we assimilated a troops when we was 19 years old. we remember removing on a Greyhound train with 50 other reticent immature group … The subsequent morning, we was awakened by a male dressed with a Smokey a Bear hat, who systematic me and my companions to get off a train and “line up,” whatever that means. Then it began. Then they began changing me.”

• 2.3 million sojourn from a 2.5 million who served in Desert Shield-Desert Storm.

• 4.8 million served or are portion in a fight on apprehension in Iraq and Afghanistan.

• 2.4 million served in peacetime between conflicts.

We were young, immature people who got a haircut, put on a uniform and gave dual or some-more of a infirm years to a troops — a Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or a Coast Guard.

First, we went to Basic Training and afterwards Advanced Individual Training and afterwards several levels of Occupational Training. We schooled to cavalcade and march; we schooled to glow and purify a rifle. We schooled to yield by sand underneath spiny wire, though we also schooled some glorious occupational skills.

Today’s troops has some-more than 190 listed occupations. So, besides simple fight skills, we also schooled during slightest one or dual skills that we could use when we left a military. Some of us schooled mechanism skills, some schooled to build roads, bridges, schools and hospitals. Some became nurses or policemen; some became B-52 pilots or radio specialists. Some of us got paid to go behind to propagandize to turn lawyers, doctors, accountants, etc. Twenty-six of us became presidents.

I’m a veteran. we assimilated a troops when we was 19 years old. we remember removing on a Greyhound train with 50 other reticent immature group and pushing by a night to Fort Ord, eating candy bars and smoking cigarettes (yes, dumb). The subsequent morning, we was awakened by a male dressed with a Smokey a Bear hat, who systematic me and my companions to get off a train and “line up,” whatever that means. Then it began. Then they began changing me.

Within 3 days, my blue jeans, my candy bars and all of my hair were gone. They gave me 3 nauseous immature uniforms, dual sheets and a sharp blanket, a berth and a mop. It was a bit treacherous with all those Smokey Bear people yelling during me, creation me do push-ups, removing me adult each morning during 5:30 and “double-timing” to training classes all day and into a night. But we had 50 new friends, and we connected and upheld one another.

Within a year, we was a corporal. I’d been from Fort Ord to Fort Lewis to Fort Sill. I’d schooled a new language: line up, double-time, disaster hall, grunt, roger, Zulu time and all a acronyms: NCO, CIB, FDC, M1, XO. I’d dismissed a bazooka, smelled rip gas, crawled underneath live fire, spit-shined boots, peeled potatoes and schooled to mount adult and demeanour straight, on time. I’d been lerned and competent as a initial responder, a surveyor, a complicated apparatus operator, a firefighter and …

And this tour was only beginning. we served 6 years in a U. S. Army, to embody one year as an artillery training NCO, one year as an confidant to a Army of a Republic of South Vietnam, dual years as a commander and 6 months during Aberdeen Proving Ground contrast outlandish weapons. we wasn’t a child eating candy bars on a behind of a train anymore. The Army had guided me into real-life experiences, with training, exercises, responsibilities and teamwork. we had upheld a tests and turn a member of one of a biggest teams in a world: Army Strong.

Now I’m 72 years old. I’m one of a veterans who, Every maestro during one time stood before a supervision central and took a oath: “To support and urge a Constitution of a United States opposite all enemies, unfamiliar and domestic.” That promise is a singular component that ties all Veterans together. And this Constitution is a autarchic law of a land. It defines a government, a laws and obligations, a rights and freedoms.

I infrequently consternation if, all those many years ago, when we took that oath, we consternation if we unequivocally accepted a Constitution and a attribute of that promise to a freedoms. But today, vital in this smashing nation and meaningful that girls can go to school, group can possess rifles and go hunting, women can expostulate cars and we can eat candy bars, or not — today, yes, we veterans know a attribute of that promise to these freedoms.

“We few, we happy few, we rope of brothers. … We are a veterans.”

Pete Thompson is a clamp commander of a Minturn Mount of a Holy Cross VFW Post 10721. You can strech him during petethompson22@gmail.com.

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