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Showing posts from August 29, 2015

The Better Life is, the More We Bitch

In June 1975, 40 years ago, I enlisted in the Army.  I had been a civilian about ten months after a 2-and-a-half years in the Air Force.  In that post-energy-crisis era I had a boring job and decided to re-enlist.

I thought about re-enlisting in the Air Force, but they offered me pay grade E3 and no bonus.  Signing up for tanks in the Army meant E4 and a $2,500 bonus.  From the moment I got to Fort Knox for Armor School, I knew I made the right choice.  I had always wanted to be a soldier and being an airman was not the same thing.

Over time, I started to notice that soldiers bitched less than airman.  At first I thought it might be that a different kind of people enlisted in the Army than the Air Force.  While my fellow post-draft soldiers were further down the economic ladder and more southern than the airmen I served with during the draft and the Viet Nam War, they weren't that different.

Then one of the great truths of life showed its face on the horizon of my life:  The be…