Military Memories: Draft Era Veterans Recall their Service (Anthem Press 2002) provides eight authors and military veterans a chance to reflect on the American military and their service in the last years of Selective Service (the draft). Six of the authors Leif and Arne Salvesen, Tom Mackie, Mick McBee, Paul Strieby, and Don Zillman are Wisconsin Sigs of the late 1960s and early 1970s. They are joined by Eugene Fidell and John Tewhey graduates of Harvard and Colby College.
The book begins with a concise and easily readable summary of America's raising of its military forces from pre-Revolutionary days to the present. Major focus is on the draft during World War I and the 1940 to 1973 years which saw mandatory military service to provide American forces during the First World War and then through World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War.
The major portion of the book then reviews the experiences of each of the authors with military service in the Vietnam War and the middle years of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. All five of the services--Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Marines, and the Coast Guard are represented. Their service ranged from rural Vietnam to nuclear naval ships to naval helicopters to Middle Eastern service to Coast Guard service to stateside office duties. Despite the varied service the veterans shared similar memories as they looked back on their service from half a century of civilian careers.
The final section of the book considers the lessons of the All-Volunteer military from 1973 to the present. It pays special attention to the potential challenges to America and the American military in 2022 from Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea.
Don Zillman F'63