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By Brian Lepley
Special to The SUN
Uncle Sam wants you.
The U.S. Army celebrates the 40th anniversary of the All-Volunteer Army July 1 by asking veterans who served since 1973 to share their Army story.
It is asking those millions of veterans to answer three questions: Why did you volunteer for the U.S. Army? What did you get out of your service? What do you think you contributed to the Army and the nation through your service?
“Your stories of courage, service and sacrifice inspire new generations of Americans to follow in your footsteps,” said Maj. Gen. David Mann of Army Recruiting Command. “As Army ambassadors in your communities, our Soldiers for Life, we urge you to continue to share your Army story wherever you go.”
Veterans can answer these questions via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Facebook page “Army All Volunteer 40th Anniversary.” Also, include your name, rank, years of service, city and state where you currently reside, and, if possible, a picture of yourself in uniform.
President Richard Nixon ended the draft and began the all-volunteer Army in 1973 in the wake of Vietnam and the military’s preference for men and women who wanted to serve.
“I personally believe one of the fundamental reasons our Army is respected and viewed as the preeminent combat land power is the highly qualified young men and women on our team,” Mann said. “It’s critically important to the health and future of our profession that those who are on our team, truly want to be on the team and are dedicated to serving something larger than themselves … the security of our nation.”
Veterans Affairs estimates there are presently more than 22.3 million veterans in the US, 9.7 million of them Army.
In the 40 years of American conflict since the draft ended, the Army’s missions have grown in diversity and difficulty. From smaller actions in Grenada and Panama in the 1980s, to stability operations in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s, and larger-scale, intense battle in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001, the U.S. Army’s reputation begins and develops from those men and women who volunteered to serve.