Veteran Interview

Posted in Uncategorized on December 7th, 2008 by jthornto

I learned a lot about my veteran through the interview.  We had been family friends for a very long time and I knew that he had served in the military but he never talked about it much.  After talking to him, I realized how passionate he was about serving his country.  Chuck Sweetman served in the Air Force originally as a physical therapist but eventually got his psycology degree and became a pyscologist for the Air Force. 

He talked about a few of the men that he got to meet with.  One that he talked about was a man whos name he had forgotten but who was a POW for 8 years in vietnam.  His story was a very tragic one.  He had to adjust from fighting a war to trying to survive a war.  The survival skills that had kept him alive in vietnam proved to be no help at all upon returnig home from war.  He had trouble getting a job and supporting his family.  His wife eventually left him and took everything that they had, so he was left with nothing.  It was interesting to hear about personal story of a vietnam veteran who had to overcome a tremendous amount of adversity. 

A big thing that  found interesting was how humble he was about his service.  We discussed in class about veterans who did not actually see battle feeling like they did not deserve any credit because they did not fight.  Chuck was the same way.  He almost felt like he was less of a soldier because he did not see any battle.  He felt like he did not deserve to be labled as a vietnam veteran.  However the things that he did to help the men coming back from war was very heroic. 

After doing this interview I have a whole new perspective about the vietnam war.  I know that the country did not need to be over there in the first place.  But the men that were fighting deserved the support of their fellow countrymen which they did not receive.  It was heartbreaking hearing about what these men had to go through. 

This class on a whole really made me appreciate war veterans in general.  Any man or woman that fights for our country is a hero.  They are putting their lives on the line so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we take advantage of every single day.  Being a college student I find id annoying and difficult having to write papers, doing assignments and especially right now, studying for exams.  But when I think about it, I am lucky that I get to do these things.  I would rather pull all nighters and write long papers then have to wake up thinking “is this the day I am going to die?” This class has taught me a lot and made me really appreciate the men and women that have fought and are fighting for our country.

Wages of War & Greatest Generation

Posted in Uncategorized on November 25th, 2008 by jthornto

It felt that the end of wages of war pretty much summed up the entire semester in class. It pretty much compared the treatment of government and society to veterans coming home from war. I think this is a good way to end the book because it is exactly what we have been talking about and what our papers have been about.  It talks about the Revolutionary War through the Vietnam war.  The Revolutionary War veterans did not receive the treatment they should have by the government.  There was a huge change between the Civil War and WWII.  The government did everything they could to help out the returning veterans.  Like opening up job opportunities so veterans could have work and make money.  Once again the U.S. governmet went back to treating the veterans like garbage through the Vietnam war.  The governments actions or lack there of, showed that they did not care about the returning veterans.

Gambone discusses the Korean War during this chapter.  He talks about how the Americans government and its people wre not ready for this war.  It was without a doubt very difficult to go from one war and literally go right into another.  People did not want the U.S. to be there.  It was a huge stress on the government and its people.


Posted in Uncategorized on November 20th, 2008 by jthornto

The first video I watched was of Jeanne Holms.  She is an amazing woman.  I loved listening to the way she talked about becoming the president’s special assitant.  This was a time in hisory when women were still looked at as inferior to men but this is a real sign of change.  She deserved everything that she received.  It was cool to hear how taken back she was when a representative from the White House called her asking if she would like the position.  Also when she talked about the change that she began to see in society.  She said that women’s role in society was changing.  Jeanne also talked about how proud she was to move up in rank in the military because the military was looked at as a “male profession”.  Women were beginning to be looked at as equal to men especially since they were being paid equally to men.  It is awesome to hear about the change that she was apart of and to hear how proud she was to play and influencial role in it. 

The next interview I watched was with Rhonda Scott.  It was interesting to hear her talk about the actually combat missions that she was involved in.  This was interesting to me especially after reading past books explaining how women’s roles in war did not go beyond nursing.  I also thought it was interesting hearing about her being a POW.  Her black hawk was shot down and se broke both of her arms and blew out her knee.  Ontop of that she was also hit by a bullet in her arm.  She talks about how as her black hawk was going down she thought to herself “Atleast im dieing doing something honorable.”  I thought that was really cool because it shows that she loved what she did and that she was ready to die for her country. 

The last interview I watched was of Jeanne Urbin.  I liked listening to her talk about how she got a letter from her mother after reading an article about nurses being stabbed in their sleep.  Her mother said “She what can happen?” She went on to talk about how scared she was especially at night hearing the artillary from a distance thinking maybe this would be the night that she would die.  I think it took a tramendous amount of courage for her to be in the military at this time especially after seeing what people did to women who were.  It was also interesting hearing her describe her arrival in Vietnam.  The base was actually under attack when they got there.  It seemed as though she could not really understand what was going on.  She said that she was not scared that she was going to die, she said that she was worried that her hair would get messed up. 

I thought it was great listening to these women discuss their experiences during war time.  I liked learning about the influencial roles they played in battle and in the military in general.  I liked that these women took on roles that no one thought women should have.

Remembering the War

Posted in Uncategorized on November 13th, 2008 by jthornto

This reading was very interesting due to the fact that majority of it focused on the war memorials for both the Vietnam War and the Korean War. What shocked me was the hesitation to build the memorials for the soldiers who had died.  There was a memorial built in South Korea for the U.S. soldiers before there was one in the United States.  I think that it is rediculous that it took so long. 

One of the ideas that was brought up the reading is if memorials should remember the dead but also celebrate those who survived.  As good of an idea that is, a memorial is to remember those who were lost.  Not that those who survived shouldn’t be remembered, but those who died were unable to come home to those who they loved.  A memorial allows those loved ones to remember who they lost. 

In the end once the memorials were finally built they were perfect.  Especially the Vietnam Wall.  Just standing there looking at all the names, it overwhelms you with a feeling you cannot discribe.  It is such a  solemn atmosphere.  Also one of the best quotes of all time is above the Korean War Memorial, they are the words “Freedom is not Free”. 

Even though the government took forever to build both of these memorials, I think that they are a perfect way to remember each war in its own way.

Wages of War 23-27

Posted in Uncategorized on November 11th, 2008 by jthornto

I found these chapters very eye opening.  I was able to find out so much more about how Vietnam vets were treated then I had known before.  They were so poorly treated upon returning home. They came home to hostility and hatred.  I think the biggest factor to this was the the war being televised for the first time in history.  People back home were able to see what was going on over in Vietnam.  They were able to see the death and distruction that was going on.  Many of them were disgusted with the soldiers and the things that they did.  They felt that they shold pay for their barbaric actions over in Vietnam.  Vets were all labled in the same group upon returning home.  They were all looked at as awful men, and they did not deserve a heroes welcome home. It was without a doubt a difficult time for veterans. 

The government even turned their back on the Veterans  The government decided to stop helping sick war veterans, claiming that heir illness is not due to teir time served in the war.  I think that it is outragious that the U.S. government sent all these men over to fight unwillingly, and when those same men need help and treatment, the government ignores them and turns them away.  It is just awful thinking about how these vets were treated.  I think that any person that fights in a war to protect our freedom is a hero.  Many of these veterans did do some bad things, but they fought for the United States of America and they deserve to be treated with respect and honor.

Greatest Generation/Wages of War

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28th, 2008 by jthornto

The readings for today really focus on the influence of both African Americans, and women during WWII.  Women were limited in the jobs that they were able to do.  They were not getting the same rights as men did.  After the war is also the first we see Civil Rights movements.

When african-american soldiers came home they did not receive a warm welcome.  They had moved up greatly over in Europe.  They were seen as good soldiers, and hard fighters.  They were trusted and looked at that they could do as good of a job as a white man.  However upon coming home, they were once again looked down upon as unequal.  Segregation picked up right were it left off.  In reaction to this, the Civil Rights movements began.

Although they were not seen as heroes in the eyes of the public, they had tremendous success with the GI Bill. Many frican-American left their unsuccessful lives behind them and took their benefits they received and created new lives for themselves.  It was not all bad for African-American soldiers.

Doing Battle

Posted in Uncategorized on October 15th, 2008 by jthornto

The first chapter alone shows the types of things the WWII soldiers had to go through.  They got very little sleep, along with very poor meals.  Fussell explains that the morning before battle, the cooks prepared the a “real” breakfast which consisted of “biscuts, shit-on-a-shingle” (not quite sure what that is) “real coffee with canned milk.” (pg. 3) Im not sure what other people think, but that seems like a lousy breakfast to me.  This just shows that the soldiers grew to appreciate the small things like a “hot breakfast” even when in reality it was not that great.

I liked that Fussell talked about more then just the War.  He discussed he time when he was in college which was really cool being that I am in college now.  This chapter shows what the life style was really like back then.  Fussell dicusses that the nurses produced by his college were the prettiest girls he had ever seen. That they were elected “on the basis of beauty (as defined by contemporary Hollywood.”(pg. 42)  This was interesting because back then, if women were beautiful they got ahead in life, and this quote shows just that.

In the last section, what I found most interesting was on pages 106 and 107.  Fussell recalls coming over to his Captian and seeing the most horrific sight he had ever seen.  Young boys were slaughtered.  Bullets through their head.  Their brains coming through their nostrils.  It was an awful sight.  Fussell said he just wanted to “go off by myself and cry” (pg 106)  From this story alone, it is obvious that these veterans had to endure some terrible things throughout the war.

Doughboys 2

Posted in Uncategorized on October 1st, 2008 by jthornto

It proved to be just as difficult to demobilize the massive U.S. Army as it was to form it.  Even though the war was over, there were many things that still needed to be done in Europe.  The soldiers had to clean up endless amounts of battlefields, and taking apart different training camps that had been set up.  Soldiers when thy heard the war was over, rejoiced thinking that they would be able to return home.  But for them their time in Europe had just begun. 

Disgusted by the conditions their loved ones were in, the families of the soldiers began to act out on their behalf.  They went to “the War Department, the newspapers, and their congressment” (pg. 140) to seek some sort of way to help their men. To these families, it seemed as though the War Department was not doing their job.  The people were “missing allotment checks”, looking for “wounded soldiers, or the belongings of dead soldiers” (pg. 140). 

The soldiers in Europe began to get restless, and thought that they were never going to sent home.  They therefore began to protest, and refuse to do the work that they were forced to do.  I agree with these soldiers for protesting what they had to do.  They did their job by winning the war, and now they were being forced to stay in the foreign land.  They should not have been the ones doing this work.  If anything the Central Forces such as Germany, and Austria-Hungry should be doing it.  It was not fair to our men and they did not deserve that treatment.

As the veterans came home, they felt like they needed the compensasion that they deserved.  They felt that what they were recieving was not enough.  They said that since they were protecting the freedom of everyone back home, they deserved more money.  Many critics said that these soldiers were “putting a price on patriotism.” (pg. 172)  There was also a big controversy over black veterans recieving big pension when they came home.  People thought that if they were able to live off of their pension, then the southern farmers would lose their workers.


Posted in Uncategorized on September 29th, 2008 by jthornto

There are clear advances and differences we see in WWI than in the Civil War.  One of the major differences in the institution of the draft.  The book talks about how they were nervous about how the men of the nation would react to this.  Although the men accpeted the fact that they had to go, many of them applied for exemptions and other things to get out of having to serve.  And interesting fact showed up on page 9 “For the first time in American military history, draftees formed the majority of citizen-soldier population.”  This just shows that the United States military was desperate for soldiers.  Whereas in the Civil War, men especially in the south, wanted to fight so badly for what they believed in.

One other advancement these chapters talk about was the forming of a “Psycological Division”.  These “examiners” would test the intelligence llevel of a soldier. These tests were to determine what men were asigned where.  Many of the men were angered at these tests, because they felt that it was not fair, that their intelligence did not portaray what kind of soldier they were.  

Overall WWI is a lot different than the Civil War, and I am interested to hear more about how different they are.

Appomattox chap 5-7

Posted in Uncategorized on September 22nd, 2008 by jthornto

I like how chapter 5 started out, by saying “Union Soldiers were still in the arm even though the fighting was over.” pg 82.  Many men had left the army to go home to their families, but the U.S. knew they needed to keep some sort of army together.  Reading about the “shock” that the Union Troops went through when Abraham Lincoln died was very interesting.  The union had used Abraham Lincoln’s passion, to win the war and now their fearless leader was gone.  It was very hard for the Union soldiers to deal with that.  Something that I thought was very key was the fact that much of the Union army was made up for recently freed blacks.  The U.S. figured that since they would have a hard time finding work, they would pay them to stay in the army. 

There were many negative things happening post civi war in the north.  For a while many veterans had a difficult time finding work.  But eventually job opportunities started to open up.  Many soldiers who had been hurt during the war had become addicted to morphine.  And finally the crime rate shot up.   But there were good things that came about as well.  Pension came through for injured war veterans.  It was also cool to read that the public began to help out these injured war veterans after seeing what they had sacrificed. 

Although for a while the north seemed to struggle, they eventually got their feet on the ground.  The same can not be said for the South.  The southern troops did not come home to celebrations or anything like that.  They came home with the feeling of defeat.  They now had to give jobs to those whom they had before owned.  A huge thing was the south’s feeling of “superiority” pg. 104.  Since them came back in a losing fashion, they were uncertian of what they should do.  Many people thought that they should emigrate to south america because they knew that their land would be taken from them as punishment. 

Overall I thought that these chapters gave a good sense of waht each side had to deal with post war.  Although the north had some bumps in the road, they over came them.  The south just suffered so much that thing looked at though they would fall apart.