U.S. Army photo, colorized by Jared Enos and shared under CC 2.0 license.
In the fall of 1917, draftees from around the country came together at Camp Greene, North Carolina to form the newly activated 4th Division. These men went on to fight in the trenches of France for the remainder of the First World War. At the time, they were fighting for their country and each other. What they did not know was that they were the founders of an organization whose lineage would span several more wars, and would continue to serve the country 100 years later.
There are signs that today’s vets have greater problems reintegrating into society that in previous eras. Perhaps most consequentially, today’s vets suffer from higher unemployment than not only their civilian peers, but also vets of previous generations.
Every so often when you’re sitting in the chow hall overseas, you’ll gaze up from your plate of Noodles Jefferson and take note of your surroundings. Depending on theater and tempo, the crowd ranges from monotone to “Star Wars” bar scene. Uniforms from different branches and different countries worn in different ways; government employees and contractors abound.
Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Farrington
The U.S. military has been an all-volunteer force now for over 40 years. Despite some misgivings, everything has turned out pretty well. Our services are better manned, trained, and equipped than ever before. The military is barely recognizable compared to the force that deployed to Vietnam in the 1960s and early 1970s: Its speed, ferocity, and dominance are unmatched.