Sunday, June 22, 2008


The American Infantry Soldier

The average age of an American Infantry soldier 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 country. 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 sports 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 hipp hop or jazz or swing and 155 mm Howitzers. He is ten or fifteen lbs lighter now that 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 reasseble it in less than that. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or of a grenade launcher and use either one efficiently if he must. He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional. He can march until he is told to stop or stop until he is told to march. He obeys orders instantly without hesitation, but he is 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 his 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 get ironic humor out of it all. He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime. He stood atop mountains of dead bodies and helped to create them. He has wept in public and in private, for friends that have fallen in combat unashamed. He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate thorugh 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. It is an odd twist, day in day out, far from home, he defends their right of 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.

I don't know where I got this, probably from something someone emailed me, or maybe something I found out in internet land. I usually file odds and ends, with where I got them, in case I might need the information in the future. This time I didn't note the source. I left it verbatim as I found it, but I hasten to add that he-him-his-etc should be construed as either sex. As a veteran myself, I can not say enough good about our men and women in uniform. They truely are America's BEST!


Beth said...

God bless you and all our troops everywhere! And thank you!

Tapline said...

AA, We must thinks so, our Supreme Court has its doubts though. They want to pull them off the battlefield and into the courtroom to prove the enemy is indeed the enemy. What do you say UUUUUHHHHHH! yeah he was shooting at me...No, I don't have his weapon.. Yes, he does look like all the rest of them, Maybe you'd better let him go back to become a suicide bomber or at least fight again,,,Maybe he will kill more of us.....catch and release really rings a bell....Isn't it time for the Pres to act. He is their CIC. OH! what am I thinking the Courts are now in charge, Not him Studid of me....Enough sarcasism.....Our military are the best, but they are not police. They are American Fighting Men and Women. They should be used as such. This action is not a party issue, It affects bothe parties and if allowed to stand without a logical challange from either the legislature or the exective we are a lost nation, without checks and balances. Outstanding poem.....stay well....

Z-man said...

"not old enough to buy a beer but old enough to die for his country"

I've long felt the two should be the same, that if you can sacrifice your life for others' freedom you should have the freedom to have a drink so either have all soldiers be at least 18 or 21. A pet peeve of mine.

Average American said...

Right on Beth, God bless all our troops!

Tap, we HAVE to do something about the court system thinking it's their job to MAKE laws. It IS their job to interpret laws, period!!

Same here Z-man. I was fighting in Vietnam and Uncle Sam "allowed" us underage troops (most of us) to drink 3.2% alchohol beer. BIG DEAL! I was bloated way before I was feeling good. Our government has got to "get their shit together!" This has always been a thorn in my side also.

Z said...

all soldiers should be able to have a beer, tapline, you make excellent points, and AA, this is so beautiful.

Except I think they DO have SPIRIT and DIGNITY......I stumbled over that statement...maybe I'm missing something? Thanks for posting that. xxx

Z-man said...

The thing about raising the drinking age to 21 is do we really think a man of 18 has matured that much in the ensuing 3 years? I've come across many a goofball at 21 or 22 so the logic behind our current drinking laws is shaky at best.

The Griper said...

i remember reading that along time ago. it was written about a wwii gi or korean war. at the time he could not vote either.

and i say leave the drinkin age as it is. that boy is either already drinkin or he isn't. if he isn't he has a good excuse when peer pressure comes.

if he is, then, all lowering the age limit will do is take the risk out of it for the boy and that was half the fun in drinking at that age. plus, all you will be doing is lowering the age kids begin drinking too.

if up to me, voting would still be 21 and not 18.

but that is only my opinion as foolish as it is.

MathewK said...

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

It's should be the other way round considering that they guarantee our very lives.

Average American said...

I wasn't sure about that line either, but I think it meant that they have team spirit and dignity, versus individual.

Z-Man, Griper:
I have no problem with the drinking age being 21 for most people, but what would be so wrong with giving a special privilege to members of our armed forces?

Not quite sure what you meant. I do know that our veterans and current military personal are not held in as high esteem as they should be. ALL Americans should "thank a vet", not just a few of us.

The Griper said...

"what would be so wrong with giving a special privilege to members of our armed forces?"

what's wrong with it? this is my opinion and mine alone but the 14th amendment is what is wrong with it, for one thing.

another thing, to me, it is a state issue not a federal issue.

lastly, the willingness to die in defense of this country should not be considered as reason for special privileges. they are two separate issues, each needing their own arguments especially when age is in question.

Z-man said...

IMO there should be a special privilege for our soldiers and as for what the drinking age should be for the rest of us, if maturity is the standard here hell raise it to 50, some of us don't mature 'til then. A facetious argument but you get the point. I don't see much difference between 18 and 21 anyway.

Fallen' Angel said...

You know, when came back to catch up on your posts, this one screamed at me to read it. Thank you for reminding us all just who it is that keeps us safe and what they are made of.
Good to read your stuff again my friend. Looking forward to catching up on all of it.
Take Care,