Small Wars Journal

This is What the Army is All About

Mon, 06/14/2021 - 1:03pm

This is What the Army is All About

by Keith Nightingale

Army airborne photo

Look at this photo.  Look at the faces.  Look at their demeanor.  These are Grunts doing what Grunts do on our behalf.  They are totally confident in their abilities which for the previous 24 hours of D Day, they proved to both the Germans and themselves.  This is a family picture of a band of brothers.  It is not a reunion but a continuation of what makes our Army from Valley Forge to today and the future.

These are teenagers or very young 20 somethings.  Like all of the Army population, they began as youth and quickly matured beyond their years. In many cases, they were asked to become highly efficient killing machines which they did. This photo attests to that.  

They are not plagued by self-doubt or concerned about their worth.  The association of each within the group is manifest and will be carried to death. The blood of others sanctified their now mutual DNA.  

In time, they and those who were asked to do similar tasks, departed the Army and returned to being citizens within our society.  That they could transition is both a miracle for us and a burden for them.  

Never doubt what an American Uniform can do on our behalf.

About the Author(s)

COL Nightingale is a retired Army Colonel who served two tours in Vietnam with Airborne and Ranger (American and Vietnamese) units. He commanded airborne battalions in both the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment and the 82nd Airborne Division. He later commanded both the 1/75th Rangers and the 1st Ranger Training Brigade.