I was graduating from high school in 1968, and the conflict in Vietnam was going on. I had a fairly low number in the lottery and knew I would get drafted. I didn’t want to go to Vietnam, so I picked the Air Force instead of the Army and began talking to an Air Force recruiter. My Dad was an MP in the Army in WW2, and I thought I’d like to get into the Security Police field. Every time the recruiter would get a slot, I’d put him off because I was working my 1st job out of high school and was enjoying it. Then one day, while I was at work, my Brother, who is 10 years younger than me, called and said I had a letter. I asked what it said, and he started out, stumbling over a couple of words since he was learning to read, “Greetings, you are hereby ordered…” I said that’s enough. I told my boss I had to get off. Drove up to the Air Force recruiter’s office and said, ” Please, please, get me in.” I joined the AF 2 days before I was supposed to go into the Army.
The Christy Collection
Military Stories and Articles
Service Reflections of ETNSN John W. Ditmar, Jr., U.S. Navy (1970-1973)
The village I grew up in had a population of around 2000 and was almost surrounded by water, so swimming, fishing, and boating were a natural progression. I loved to watch the bigger boats on Spring Lake and freighters that would come into Grand Haven at a young age. My early years growing up were not much fun.
My father was a good man but was an alcoholic and was mean to my mother and me when he had too much to drink. There was physical violence. My parents never attended church, but some kind neighbors took me a few times with their kids, which opened my eyes to another world. In those days, there was a stigma attached to being an alcoholic, and despite several attempts by myself and others, my father refused any help. This was a time when my conflicting emotions were off the chart.
Service Reflections of ET2 Michael Brown, U.S. Navy (1963-1967)
Three members of my family served in the US Navy. Two graduated from Annapolis in the early 1920s. One served as a Destroyer Captain up until the war began. He told me sea stories of in 1941, tracking German submarines off the coast of Africa as part of the Lend-Lease Program with Great Britain. The other one was discharged from the service as soon as he graduated because the US fleet was gearing down in the post-WW1 era due to more Dems in power, which was always their first way to save money. Their little brother served on USS West Point AP-23, carrying troops to Europe. He attended boot camp in Idaho and then served as a helmsman on Atlantic crossings in U-Boat-infested waters. I think he attended Quartermaster School in Idaho.
Vietnam War Veterans
Frequently Asked Questions about Vietnam War Veterans There are several misconceptions and assumptions about Vietnam War veterans. This collection of frequently asked questions may help to straighten out any confusion. How Many Vietnam War Veterans are Still Alive? A: In 2020, there are fewer than 850,000 veterans who served in Vietnam still alive. This is down from the 2.7 million service members who were on active duty in Vietnam. How Old are Vietnam War Veterans? A: In 2015, the US...
The Good Soldier by Paul C. Steffy
The Good Soldier by Paul C. Steffy The second novel by Army veteran Paul C. Steffy, The Good Soldier is a story of a young volunteer who suffers deeply as a result of his service. Alcoholism, multiple failed marriages, and recurring nightmares: Brad Thomas is in a pit of regrets with no recourse. None, that is, except confronting his trauma and returning to Vietnam to deal with the consequences of breaking a promise which he’d exchanged for an unexpected gift.Despite its dark subject matter,...
Cpl William (Bill) Ralph Blass, U.S. Army (1943-1945)
William (or Bill) Ralph Blass who served in the US Army between 1943 and 1945 is better known for his contributions to the fashion industry. However, his efforts during World War II are as remarkable as they are unusual. William Ralph Blass was born on June 22 1922, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His father was a traveling salesman, his mother a dressmaker. Sadly, Blass’ father committed suicide when Bill was 5. Bill took after his mother, sketching Hollywood-inspired fashions in the margins of his...