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!