Just a reminder, the Department of Defense has not yet authorized a Campaign Medal for those troops serving in Afghanistan. Therefore, we can not approve their eligibility for membership at this time. The only ones who would meet the eligibility criteria are those who have received the Combat Action Ribbon (CAR), the Combat Infantry Badge (CIB), or the Combat Medal Badge (CMB). As soon as we are notified by the Department of Defense as to what Campaign Medal/Badge/Ribbon have been authorized for these troops. all the Posts will be notified.
The Draft and Historical AmnesiaNew York Rep Charles Rangel’s suggestion that the draft should be revived elicited a number of key and insulting responses. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield set the tone by saying draftees were of “no value, no advantage” in Vietnam. But at least he formally apologized and explained his remarks. Former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger commented that during World War II, “There was no doubt in anyone‘s mind that volunteers were far more effective than draftees and eager to train and to fight.” The most derogatory remarks, came from one Hans Halberstant in San Jose Mercury News: “The quality of a soldier during the draft era was, by comparison to those today, awful. The place was full of malcontents and malingers, drunks and disorderlies.” This from someone who claims he was in Vietnam prior to March 1965 when only a handful of draftees were serving in Vietnam. (Halberstant can be reached at email@example.com.) Obviously, a few too many engaging in this revisionist nonsense suffer from sever cases of historical amnesia. No 20th century war could have been waged, much less won, without draftees. During WWI, 72% of servicemen were drafted 50% of the French’s trenches were conscripted. I WWII, 66% of all US forces were drafted. Of the 10.5 million Army personnel, a whopping 93% were draftees. A poll taken in 1941 showed that just more than half of Americans would be willingly drafted for overseas service. From 1946 to 1973, 5,077,185 men were drafted. During the Korean War era, 30% of the total troops were drafted. In December 1950, 82% of the Army in Korea was made up of regulars. Exactly two years later, the ratio was 37% regular to 63% draftee in the war zone. During the Vietnam era, 1,728,344 men were drafted. Of the forces who actually served in Vietnam, 648,500 (25%) were draftees. Draftees (17,725) accounted for 30.4% of combat deaths in Vietnam. Rangel also resurrected the race issue with his proposal. But as Northwestern University military sociologist Charles Moskos put it, “If anybody should be complaining about battlefield deaths, it is poor, rural white.” Indeed, of the Army’s 45,586 enlisted infantrymen, only 10.6% are black. Of armored cavalry scouts, 11 % are black and 4.5% of Army Special Forces are black. Past wars demonstrate pattern for black KIA: Korea (9.3%), Vietnam (12.1%), Grenada (0%), Panama (4.3%), Persian Gulf (15.4%) and Somalia (6.9%). Despite distorted perceptions and statistics, debating the concept of service has merit. “What we‘re going through now,” Rangel said, “is patriotism lite. Put a flag on your lapel. Put a flag on your car. Put a bigger one on your SUV.” No doubt this has struck a raw nerve and made a lot of people uncomfortable. Of the 535 members of Congress, only four have a son in the military: Senators: Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Jim Bunning (R-KY); and Representatives: Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Ike Skelton (D-MO). Johnson’s son served as an Army sergeant in Afghanistan. Persian Gulf vet Ralf Zimmermann summed it up best: “The brass‘s argument I cannot accept is that draftees are a liability to unit morale and readiness because ‘they don‘t want to be there.’ The majority of draftees [would be] intelligent people who often contribute essential civilian work skills, maturity and questioning minds.”
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