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Monday, June 15, 2015

The United States has the finest Armed Forces in the world, and it has nothing to do with equipment or size.

Link: Wikipedia entry on United States Armed Forces.

I come from a military family.  My father was enlisted career U.S. Army, and his choice of occupations took him to France in 1962, where he met and married my mother.  For this reason I was raised in a bicultural household, and I am very proud of my heritage.  Almost every country on the globe has a military of some sort, although a few of the more smaller states rely on larger and more prosperous neighbors for defensive purposes.  Unless a war starts, most armies stay within their own national borders.  For example, although Mexico declared itself at war with the bad guys in World War Two, the Mexican Armed Forces haven't been outside the borders of Mexico since 1846.  Because the United States is a superpower and has been one since the advent of the 20th century, the U.S. military has found itself involved in numerous conflicts far from its own national boundaries.  Just like my father, there were many young soldiers who met local girls while overseas and fell in love.  This fact only added to the unique demographics of the United States of America.

I consider myself so fortunate to part of a military family.  When members of the U.S. Armed Forces serve overseas, their families must live in foreign countries and adjust to languages and customs that are unfamiliar.  The U.S. military community quickly turned this circumstance into an advantage.  As a child, I spoke French before I spoke English, and before entering Middle School, I had a decent
comprehension of German.  Even though we lived in our own neighborhood, we were surrounded by a larger city and had no choice but to become friends with our hosts.  The American military schools were/are exceptional, and our community was always taking field trips to castles and historic sites, the likes of which don't exist in the United States because of Uncle Sam's relative youth.  During the holidays, the military families would become one extended family, with so much generosity, compassion, and joy.  At Christmastime, all the families joined together to decorate the community.  Leagues were organized that allowed kids from the different communities to compete against each other in American football, softball, baseball and basketball.  And we never forgot that the reason we were in Europe was because my father had a responsibility as a U.S. soldier to defend Europe from communism.

Since the end of the Civil War, the United States has rarely had its territorial integrity threatened.
From my perspective, only twice has our national survival been at stake; the Second World War and September 11, 2001.  We have fought many wars because we believed that the cause was just and the sacrifice necessary.  On two occasions, Vietnam and the second Iraq War, the decision to get involved was not universally supported by the American people.  But our soldiers have been so well-trained and raised in good families, that they have always understood the absolute necessity to leave the politics back home.  On two occasions during my career in the CIA, I was able to work with the U.S. Armed Forces.  I am unable to provide details, but I will say that I was left with a tremendously positive impression.  The United States continues to produce the world's FINEST young men and women, and my blog is not a U.S. Armed Forces recruitment site.  My comment is simply the truth.  Time and time again, our military proves that courage has a permanent home in the uniform of the United States Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, and Coast Guard.  Once I was fortunate enough to hear a presentation given by a survivor of the Bataan Death March in World War II.  He challenged everyone to buy a world map, and draw a cross in every foreign location that has become the permanent home of a U.S. soldier.  I still have my world map with all its crosses, and I still find myself making updates.  Even though I like to consider myself a bit of a history buff, I continue to learn about young American soldiers making the ultimate sacrifice in unheard of places.  I am convinced that as the ultimate melting pot of humanity, for a time we were welcoming the best, the brightest, and the bravest to our shores.  So it should be no surprise that our troops have the intellect to recognize the importance of freedom, and the courage to fight to defend it.    

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