Armed Services

Posted on 02/01/2021. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

During the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the United States capital, many of the participants arrested were individuals that had served in the United States armed services. Some commentators found it disturbing to find that those that we had counted on to protect our nation and constitution to participate in an attempt change the results of a fairly won election by force. I was not surprised by the this finding. My claim to expertise on the subject is that I served as an enlisted person in the United States Navy for seven years.

The services enlisted ranks come from varied backgrounds, but tilted toward the less wealthy the less educated. This is the same segment of the population that is most supportive of former president Trump. So it shouldn’t be surprising to find service veterans participating in the January 6, 2021 occupation of the United States Capital .

Since 9/11 there has been tendency by Americans to treat armed forces members and veterans with some sort of fealty. In a way, implying service people and veterans were patriots willing to sacrificing their lives to defend our country and constitution. People now go out of their way to personally thank those who served their country. To me, it is kind of embarrassing when some person becomes aware that I’m a veteran of a war before that person was born and is thanking me for my service.

It has not alway been this way. In the 1970’s, in the aftermath of the Vietnam members of the armed services and veterans were often vilived. The country was sick of that war, probably in part because during the Vietnam conflict we were so inept and in part because we did not win it. It wasn’t until the 1980’s and Ronald Reagan that the prestige of the armed services began improving. It was during the Gulf War, under George H W Bush, in which the United States had a devind plan, which was flawlessly executed, that the armed forces fully regained its respect.

I did not join the service because I was a patriot and certainly not to to sacrifice my life for any cause. I was at a point in my life where I didn’t know what to do with my life. I didn’t have many options, I grew up during the Great Depression in a wonderful but struggling family and had a minimal education. I was a typical candidate to serve as an enlisted man in the United States armed services.

I served in the Navy. I Enlisted in 1947 and was discharged in 1954. I would have gotten out in 1950 when my initial three-year enlistment was completed. However, the Korean war had erupted and I had the choice of being extended or reenlisting. If I reenlisted, I would get a two-hundred-dollar bonus. That was a no brainer and I reenlisted, bought a twelve-gage shotgun with the bonus and used it to hunt quail near the base I was stationed at in California.

I flew as a radioman on patrol and logistic type aircraft during my enlistments. During 1952-1953 I flew with a crew that did electronic surveillance patrols along the coastline of eastern Asia from Vladivostok to Saigon. I was awarded an Air Medal during that time which I considered as some kind of joke. Everytime we flew a Patrol within a area designated as part of the Korean War zone it would earn crew members a credit toward twenty-five credits that would earn an Air Medal. Sometimes patrols would be scheduled to catch the edge of the Koran zone to earn a credit. Medals are important to career officers.

Picture by R. A. Scholefield

P4M-1Q Used for Electronic Surveillances

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