BEING A SOLDIER
Oct 12, · As a Soldier in the U.S. Army, your duties are to uphold the Constitution and protect America's freedoms. But it's not always work — Soldiers have free time just like everyone else to spend with friends and family, or take part in sports or hobbies. Nov 30, · Being a Soldier gives you the opportunity to complete the mission and make a difference in the world. You will also gain leadership experience, as well as a work-life balance that enables you to pursue your personal and professional goals.
And after seeing the images of the Vietnam War on television, after seeing the pictures taken by war correspondents, and after hearing accounts of war atrocities, most of the American pubic in the s was inclined to agree.
The seemingly endless war, fought by American GIs thousands of miles away, had lost whatever sheen it might have had inwhen Americans at the height of the Cold Warcommitted to the Western ideals of freedom and democracy, were determined to stop the spread of communism in Asia.
That idealism faded away as the war progressed, as the U. And they were young men. The average age of a U. Here's what life was like for U. Of course, whether they could vote or not, the U. The Selective Service was organized as a random lottery in which men's birthdays were assigned a lottery number between whar andone for each day of the year. However, because of the way the draft was set up, men assigned the lowest numbers were more likely to be drafted than those with higher numbers.
Indoctoral student David Stodolsky recognized the problem and sued the government. The next year, officials improved the randomization process by drawing birthdays and lottery numbers from different capsules, but men could still get out of serving.
The most common loophole was the college student deferment policy, which excused any man enrolled in college or graduate school.
Medical professionals could also declare someone "unfit for service" for medical conditions ranging from ulcers to anemia. Upper-class men could afford to stay enrolled in university or get a doctor's note from a hometown physician to obtain a get-out-jail-free card that poorer men couldn't access.
According to James Fallowsthese loopholes "were designed to allot American talent in productive way," but resulted in "the starkest class division in American military service since the days of purchased draft deferments in the Civil War. The draft lottery proved to be unfair in another significant way.
The draft wasn't the only problem. Vietnam was the first major U. Black soldiers complained they spldier unfairly assigned worse details and that they received more frequent punishments and fewer promotions than their white counterparts. Still, tensions between black and white soldiers were low at the onset of the war.
Wallace Terrya black war correspondent for Time, described seeing "thousands of Americans who found their common humanity on the front, bee they shared the last drop of water, where they gave their lives for each other. The Armed Forces during the war and even today is the most successfully integrated institution in our society. Unsurprisingly, this did not sit well with black soldiers, and discord only worsened as the war dragged on.
Regardless of race, some men chose to enlist in eoldier Vietnam War before their numbers came up, knowing solduer would be assigned better details if they went voluntarily. Instead of being stationed on the front lines, they might be assigned a support detail on one of the rear bases.
Soldiers who landed mechanical or logistical support roles had a much different experience in the war than those soldler combat zones. These men had access to all the luxuries of home, including getting to sleep in a bed, eating hot meals, drinking at bars, and shopping at a well-stocked commissary. In some cases, the luxuries even what to buy in auckland new zealand the ones the men would have gotten at home.
The army headquarters at Long Binh boasted such amenities as a go-kart track, swimming pools, weight rooms, mini golf, an archery range, an amphitheater that frequently hosted live shows, and even a brothel — officially unsanctioned but well-trafficked.
Most grunts passed through the rear bases on their way into or out of the field, but they didn't stay long. They had their own jobs to do. Officially, their how to one inch punch was to take back South Vietnam from the communists, find and eradicate the Viet Cong, and secure the hearts and minds of the locals.
But mostly what they did was walk. Soldir walked for days and weeks at a time, patrolling the land for Viet Cong guerrilla fighters or members of the North Vietnamese Army.
They walked without a bath, a hot meal, or a whta night's sleep. They walked until they got jungle rot, what is it like to be a soldier skin lesions that came how to load log4j xml in java "humping the boonies" too long without adequate footwear.
They walked with heavy rucksacks, carrying everything they would need to survive in what is it like to be a soldier difficult terrain. They carried food rations, flak jackets, rifles and ammunition.
They carried the fear that at any moment, a surprise attack could kill them. Most crucially, they carried mosquito repellent and dry socks.
Their goal was to locate and defeat the Viet Cong, but often it felt like there was no real goal except providing what is it like to be a soldier bait to provoke the guerrilla fighters into revealing their positions. The Viet Cong were frequently one step ahead, hiding in the trees or blending in with the locals, so the villages were luke really secured, and the locations of the guerrilla fighters remained uncertain.
So the grunts kept walking. But melbourne what to do and see were the swarms whag mosquitoes that spread dengue fever throughout camps, and with the 30 different kinds of venomous snakes whose bites would prove to be fatal.
And if the land wasn't actively killing them, it was making them miserable. Morale was understandably low during monsoon season, for example, when heavy rains would drench the soldiers and flood the rice paddies for the better part of six months.
Solsier when it wasn't raining, it was hot and humid. Between the rain and the sweat the grunts were never completely what is it like to be a soldier. If they weren't miserably wet or miserably hot, they were miserable hacking through the jungle brush and elephant grass with leaves so dense and so sharp they drew blood.
Soldiers also had their blood sucked by leeches who made their homes in the rice paddies. The land was a dangerous enemy by itself, but its biggest threat was the dangers it concealed. Whether in the thick of the jungle or deep in the rice paddies, the landscape was strange to the U.
American troops, with what is it like to be a soldier vastly superior firepower, had the upper hand face to face, but the Viet Cong deliberately avoided large-scale conflicts where they could be outgunned. Instead, they waited in the vegetation for nightfall or awful weather or other convenient moments.
Whag hid aoldier and booby traps to inflict casualties and heighten the fear American GIs felt with every step. The Americans fought back with bombing campaigns that laid waste to villages, and sprayed napalm that burned the skin off fighters and civilians alike. They used Agent Orange to raze the tropical foliage, destroying the environment that the Vietnamese were using against them.
But they ultimately couldn't defeat the guerrilla fighters. For the Americans, every casualty, every dollar spent, and every anti-war protest back home chipped away at the conviction that this could ever be a winnable war. In a war where morale was already weakened by unclear objectives and uncertain outcomes, unfriendly encounters with the Vietnamese civilians they were ostensibly liberating only made matters worse.
Although the official goal of the war was to prevent communism from spreading into South Vietnam, American soldiers felt they had reason to mistrust everyone, North and South Vietnamese alike.
Viet Cong were adept at blending in, sometimes taking cover in villages. American troops didn't know if the what is it like to be a soldier were aiding the Viet Cong, harboring enemies, or laying traps that could kill American troops.
Civilian casualties were common, and many local villages were disrupted, if not outright destroyed, soldiee the arrival of U. Soldiers were tasked with the job of winning over the hearts and minds of the local Vietnamese population, convincing what is it like to be a soldier that Western liberation from communist forces would improve their lives. However, infantrymen whose successes were determined by enemy body count were untrained and ill-equipped to make the cultural advances that would win people over.
As time went on, civilian casualties continued, American soldiers grew increasingly frustrated with the locals' reluctance to help, and suspicion and mistrust increased on both sides. When the grunts weren't walking or being shot at or eyeing the locals with suspicion, they were waiting around for something to happen.
Even in the midst of an active, bloody war, downtime was a frequent, soleier not always welcome, occurrence. Even the front lines were punctuated with periods of inaction. At times, Vietnam resembled "a hated, dreary struggle" that dragged on and on with no end in sight. Since large-scale warfare was rare, soldiers could go for weeks without encountering enemy forces, but far from si a respite, the quiet only heightened the tension. Soldiers knew there would be another surprise attack, they just didn't know when, and the not-knowing could drive them crazy.
But in the meantime, there were hours and even days where there were no Viet Cong to be found, no fights, and nothing to distract them from the monotony. There were booze and drugs if they could get them, but for the most part, the hours ticked by, only breeding more anxiety.
One thing soldiers didn't have to take their mind off things bs the one thing that was almost impossible to come by — was a good, hot meal. Rations were dismal. At first, there were C-rations, ready-made wet meals served in cans, but those proved to be too heavy for special operations that required long treks on foot. Instead, the military developed long range patrol rations to take their place. LRPs were freeze-dried, dehydrated field rations that came in waterproof bags and were much lighter than the bulky cans soldiers had previously carried.
The taste, however, left a lot to be desired. The rations were commonly compared to wet what are the codes you scan with your phone food, and the only way to heat them up in the field was by resorting to potentially dangerous explosives.
Larry Michaela former infantryman in Vietnam, reported that "if you really wanted it hot, you broke up a claymore mine But that's the only way you had a hot meal. Soldiers were permitted six days and six nights of leave during their one year tour of duty. On the military's dime, soldiers could fly to any number of exotic locales in whatt of beaches, bars, and a good time.
Hawaii was the most popular destination for soldiers who had families, since dependents were allowed to meet them in Honolulu and spend some time with them. Soldiers on leave with their wives and children how to get over shot anxiety up a large chunk of Hawaii's hotel room traffic during the Vietnam War.
Places like the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Thailand were popular among the younger crowd who wanted to have less family-friendly fun. The influx of American tourists was a catalyst for Bangkok's massive growth in the s, as the construction, finance, air, retail, and hotel industries boomed to accommodate the influx of tto looking for a good time. While drinks and companionship were always a draw, recreational drug use skyrocketed during the Vietnam War.
Marijuana was cheap and easy to come by, but commanders were more concerned with the surge of heroin usage among enlisted men, which reached epidemic levels by If they wanted recreational drugs, most Vietnam War soldiers didn't have to go farther than their military doctor. Over the course of the Vietnam War, the military prescribed more than million tablets of speed to U. In addition to speed, officials also supplied soldiers with painkillers and steroids to increase their stamina, strength, and aggression on long-range missions.
Military personnel also liberally prescribed antipsychotics such as Thorazine, which numbed the psychologically traumatic effects of combat.
On the surface, soldisr appeared to have worked. But the success was short-lived. While the symptoms of trauma were suppressed in the short term, the effect was something like putting a Band-Aid on a broken leg.
The draft was a big deal during the Vietnam War
Apr 13, · Qualities of a good soldier include reliability, fearlessness, discipline, consistency, courage, motivation and skill. Good soldiers must also be prepared to exceed their abilities, be diligent in getting tasks completed and stay focused on safety. Oct 13, · WWI was one of the most catastrophic events in human history. But soldiers at the front lines who spent life in the trenches lived through a particularly har. Feb 25, · Here's what life was like for U.S. soldiers in the Vietnam War. The draft was a big deal during the Vietnam War. Agence France Presse/Getty Images. Of course, whether they could vote or not, the U.S. government viewed these men as potential soldiers the minute they turned 18 and became eligible for the draft.
See the step-by-step process it takes to join the Army - from talking to a Recruiter to finding the best position for you. Follow the ten-week evolution from civilian to Soldier. BCT is where recruits discover physical and mental strength and learn what it takes to become a Soldier. Being a Soldier gives you the opportunity to complete the mission and make a difference in the world. You will also gain leadership experience, as well as a work-life balance that enables you to pursue your personal and professional goals.
You will be part of a global family, and you will be provided all of the community amenities you need to raise your family and enjoy life. Becoming a Soldier. First, you will work with a recruiter. Then you will attend Basic Combat Training. Finally, you will enter Advanced Individual Training. Being a Soldier. As a Soldier in the U. See the true meaning of being a Soldier. Army must be mentally and physically fit. Fit Soldiers are essential to the Army.
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