Wages of war readings

November 23rd, 2010. Comments Off on Wages of war readings.

Once again, like in our earlier readings, Severo and Milford put on full display the ungenerous and backwards attitudes of the american government and people towards veterans.  One really shocking debate was whether or not revolutionary war veterans sacrificed as much as average citizens during the war, as if risking death and losing limb was nothing compared to working at home.  Even worse was the discovery that the downplaying of disease by the government did not start with the Agent Orange scandal but in fact can be traced back to the typhoid and yellow fever epidemics that decimated american soldiers.  It even got to the point that one official claimed that all these men could not truly be sick, and attributed it to homesickness and nostalgia.

It was interesting that the majority of enlistees in the army before and during the Mexican war were catholic immigrants and even more startling that at one point they considered admitting teenagers to combat this.  Whats not surprising is that these men were forgotten after the war, given the anti-immigrant movement and the quick advent of the Civil war.

Veterans of Other Wars

November 23rd, 2010. Comments Off on Veterans of Other Wars.

From the American Revolution to the Iraq War, the image of the veteran has changed throughout history. President Monroe broke from the traditional principles of military pensions by proposing veteran benefits for every soldier not just the wounded. Thus, it was proposed that officers be granted $17 a per month and enlistments $8. While this obviously wasn’t an equitable proposal, it was the foundation for benefits to all veterans. More importantly, this was in the early 19th century in the aftermath of the War of 1812, an entire century before the first World War. So the big question here is, if veteran benefits was a concern in the founding of our nation, why has it taken us over a century to accept and create stable veteran benefits?

The Korean is often referred to as the forgotten war or the useless war. The timing of the Korean War could not have been worse in that it halted the postwar prosperity and peace of WWII. WWII was a popular war among Americans, and to have this controversial police action disrupt this time of peace did not bode well for Korean War veterans. Soldiers of the Korean War became the scapegoats for the nation. Americans blamed the failure in Korea on the soldiers and President Truman. While the involvement in the Korean War inherently ended Truman’s presidency, he is credited for doing one positive thing: recalling George Marshall to head of the Defense Department. Marshall was able the reorganize and salvage the faltering military that was present in the years following WWII.

When looking at veterans as a whole it is shocking that even after 304 years, veterans are just barely scraping the surface of the benefits and honor that should be owed to them. While over time the image and idea of the American veteran has changed to produce national heroes, it is still not up to par with what it should be.

Wages of War

November 23rd, 2010. Comments Off on Wages of War.

In chapter 6, the war had marked many humiliations for the Americans. but we finally recieved a victory in the Battle of New Orleans. We even began to start getting along with the British.James Monroe  came up with good and important idead for the concept of providing veterans with benefits. He believed even if you hadn’t been injurged in the war, you should receieve benefits. Monroe opened up to many subjects about the war. Before the veterans could get pensions,they had to come up with a statement of inidgency before doing so. Not only was there a problem giving out pensions but there was a lot of fraud in the distrubuting of pensions.

Chapter 7, The beginning of this reading starts with how civilians who didn’t fight  in the war should not “trivialize their patriotism”. Their was controversy about how veterans were treated and how they were treated differently. Many soldiers ended up desereted and unable to pay for food and shelter.

In chapter 8, We went into war with mexico because we knew we could with this war. It would be beneficial for our country to gain more land. It was a war that was quickly forgotten. I never even heard about this war before, so it was interesting to read about the details of it.

chapter 13- Many said the reason why the war with mexico was forgotten so quickly was due to the civil war right after. But another war this reading talks about it the Spanish-American War. Many of the veterans came home with diseases like yellow fever, malaria,etc.This was was considered favored as in comparision with the Vietnam war that was disfavored. The government never was prepared for what they needed to provide for soldiers, or maybe they just didn’t care. They were short of essential clothing needed for these soldiers. There was also a lack of food for the men in hospitals. There were plenty of  complaints from various people about the conditions these soldiers were dealing with. Some say the hospitals were dangerously overcrowded.

chatper 14,  American regarded the Filipinos as ungrateful people who did not understand of want to accept American values. We struggled with them compared to our war with the Spanish.

chapter 21, The Korean war was a confusion to many of the soldiers fighting in it. Many did not understand why they were fighting in it in the first place. Newly freed soldiers after the war were bombarted with news reports and questions.Of course in the end it is the governments fault for getting in a war it could not win.

chapter 22, We hired a Major who could guide the US into a proper direction. Everyone was believed that ” the Army’s weakness was everyones weakness”. Mayer came up with a solution that the only way to get along is to develop and understanding of communist.I found it interesting in this reading about what communist said. At one point one made a comment that communist felt it relativly easy to confuse the men. Mayer gained a sense of fame through his guided success.

The GG-chapter 7. What i got from reading this chapter was the fighting against communism is the means of preserving their newfound way of life.  We suffered as a country through developing strategic stratedgies for our military. The mobilization was poorly maneged  throughout this time. With some of the previous situations we read about, veterans were getting cutbacks in the benefits they recieved. They were not getting the medical benefits they needed anymore.

GG ch. 7 WoW ch. 6-8, 13-14, 21-22

November 23rd, 2010. Comments Off on GG ch. 7 WoW ch. 6-8, 13-14, 21-22.

Returning WWII veterans, along with the United States were not ready for the Korean War. But as Michael Gambone from The Greatest Generation Comes Home states, “Fighting against Communism was a means of preserving their newfound way of life”(167). Once again they would have to leave their families and go off to war, some given as little as seventy-two hours notice. A difference from previous wars was that veterans’ jobs still waited for them back home. They were at least given that reassurance. Like the Vietnam War which he have studied, the Korean War also had issues with POWs. During the Korean War, Americans and the government blamed the soldiers for being prisoners of war because they had no one else to blame. Just because the US did not exactly win this conflict does not mean that they could say it was the soldiers’ fault, especially after being tortured by communists. Severo and Milford in Wages of War comment that, “Most of them did not understand that the war was unwon by design and had nothing to do with the quality of our soldiers”(325).

Chapter 6 of Wages of War was interesting because President Monroe thought that all veterans, whether or not they were injured in war, should be paid by the Government. Although President Monroe had good intentions, his plan did not work out because of the numerous amounts of fraud. Because there were no records kept at the time, it was difficult to recognize who were veterans and who were not. Severo and Milford conclude that “the veterans’ benefits fund lost between $50,000 and $100,000 to fraud”(94).

During the Spanish American War and the Mexican War, disease posed a serious threat to veterans. In chapter 8, Severo and Milford say that, “The Mexican War saw 1,500 Americans die in battle and another 10,800 succumb to disease”(117). There is a major difference in statistics compared to past wars. Also, during the Spanish American War, 157/190 were sick on the Concho. These sick and wounded soldiers were sent to Wikoff and Montaurk Point to get treatment, but it ended up that these places were no better than where they came from. Soldiers were left untreated and malnourished and died before getting any aid. Even though situations were harsh over there, the press exaggerated the poor circumstances at these camps and made it difficult for the soldiers to return home. Officers said that, “Its aftermath might have been much better had it not been for the press”(209).

WoW Ch. 6-8, 13-14, 21-22 and Greatest Generation Ch. 7

November 23rd, 2010. Comments Off on WoW Ch. 6-8, 13-14, 21-22 and Greatest Generation Ch. 7.

It only took 35 years to get well deserved pensions for Revolutionary soldiers, most of whom needed that money right after the war. The economy after the War of 1812 let these pensions be paid and the American public tried to make up for the way those soldiers were treated after the Revolution. Madison did the right thing in advocating for veterans’ benefits and it worked.

We never really hear about the army during times of peace. In chapter 8 of Wages of War, this army is described as men who either couldn’t or didn’t want to be in civilian society. Immigrants came over and were shut out of civilian life so they joined the army. Those are probably the reasons the government wanted to keep this army small, it wasn’t really an army. If these mean were forced to fight, it wouldn’t be pretty. A survey conducted by an army surgeon of one company said that “forty-three were either drunk, or partially so, at the time of their enlistment.” (page 109) That’s not an army I would want defending me if an attack was imminent.

Much like after the War of 1812, the post-WWII army was downsized from more than 8 million to 591,000. The budgets for the army were severely cut down and this meant the soldiers in the army were ill-prepared for any type of combat. Soldiers were barely trained in marksmanship, isn’t that skill pretty important? This plan of downsizing the army in the late 1940′s didn’t help the fact that America was in another war in the 50′s. President Truman pursued army efficiency by cutting all this spending and downsizing the army. In my opinion, defense spending is a last resort to cut. You can never truly know when a country is going to attack you and being prepared at all times is a must.

Video Clips

November 19th, 2010. Comments Off on Video Clips.

How life in the service led her to social work. I chose this one because it is interesting to me how she used her life in the military to better herself after service, and how it help lead her to her future career.

Surviving the pressures of dive school. I chose this one because it was entertaining to me to hear of her experiences in dive school. It truly caught my attention.

Women Veterans Clips

November 18th, 2010. Comments Off on Women Veterans Clips.

Rhona Marie Knox Prescott’s story is extremely moving. These first two highlights show the degree to which she felt survivor’s guilt and how much it affected her.

Jeanne A. Urbin Markle starts to give one an understanding about how terrible the field conditions were in Vietnam.  Her story gives a different approach to Vietnam than is normally seen.

Tending to Dying and Maimed Soldiers and A Female Voice on the Phone were especially moving.

Women at War Clips

November 18th, 2010. Comments Off on Women at War Clips.



I enjoyed these clips because out of the three women I chose to listen to I found Frances Liberty to be the most interesting and entertaining. I also found her to be quite funny.

Women veterans clips

November 18th, 2010. Comments Off on Women veterans clips.

I thought this clip was really cool, because her friend was willing to go in her stead.


I found it very interesting that they wouldn’t let brother and sister be in the country at the same time.


Women at War clips

November 18th, 2010. Comments Off on Women at War clips.


This is an excerpt from the interview about the conditions Rhona Prescott had to work in. It’s amazing how she was able to hold up against all odds and do her job so well.

This clip from Ann Caracristi I thought was interesting because she said the hardships of rations didn’t hit her hard in DC. You would think the nation’s capital would be the opposite during such a large war.

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