Volunteers vs Conscripts (was: RE: 'support our troops ....

Charles Brown BrownBingb at aol.com
Fri Mar 28 07:53:49 MST 2003

Perhaps I should subtitle this "How the other half thinks". The below is from
my ex-marine email-penpal , "Ann", who I "met" on the AOL board discussion
about the war, about which we disagree, of course.



The average age of the military man is 19 years.

He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances
is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the
ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his

He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car
than wash his father's; but he has never collected unemployment either.

He's a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student,
pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and
has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or
swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away.

He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and 155mm

He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is
working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk.

He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he
can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in
the dark.

He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade
launcher and use either one effectively if he must.

He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a

He can march until he is told to stop or stop until he is told to march.

He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without
spirit or individual dignity.

He is self-sufficient. He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and
wears the other. He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry.

He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle.

He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts.
If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry,
his food.

He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you
run low.

He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were
his hands. He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job.

He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay and
still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering and death
then he should have in his short lifetime.

He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies, and helped to create them.

He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in
combat and is unashamed.

He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body
while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to
'square-away' those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove
their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out,
far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.

Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying
the price for our freedom.

Beardless or not, he is not a boy.

He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over
200 years.

He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding.

Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with
his blood.

For our Military...

"Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they
protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they
perform for us in our time of need. Amen."

Prayer Wheel: When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a
prayer for our ground troops in Afghanistan, sailors on ships, and
airmen in the air, and for those preparing for a possible war with Iraq.

There is nothing attached.... This can be very powerful.... Just send
this to all the people in your address book. Do not stop the wheel,
please.... Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Sailor, Marine
or Airman, prayer is the very best one.

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