Southern Elitism
While thinking about my own experience in the military, as a Vietnam veteran, I began thinking about my dad's military experience.  Most of it happened while I was little, and so I may not remember things exactly right, or may not have understood at the time.

My dad was very patriotic and proud of his military service.  He served in World War II in both the European and Pacific theaters, although I do not think he saw much combat.  He was in the Army in the Dixie Division.  In Europe he sort of chased the war from England, to France, to Germany.  Then he was sent to the Pacific.

When the war was over and he returned to the States, he stayed in the National Guard, I think partly because he liked it, and partly for the money.  I'm pretty sure he liked the other men in his National Guard unit in Mobile.  But then the Korean War came along.  He was called up to go to Korea.  I don't know exactly how that happened.  He may have volunteered to go.  He was a sergeant in World War II, but became a chief warrant officer in the National Guard.

In any case, he went off to Korea, but when he came home, earning a Bronze Star in the process, the National Guard could find to place for him in Mobile.  I don't think the socially connected members of the National Guard in Mobile had to go to Korea; they stayed home and stayed in their units.  My dad went, and had no unit to return to.  He ended up joining National Guard unit in Camden, Alabama, where he had to drive over 100 miles to every meeting.  He didn't really mind this, because he had lived in Camden for several years as a boy.  The fact that he knew some members of the Camden unit from those days may be the reason he was able to join it.

I don't know the circumstances, but looking back, I find it very odd that he went to Korea, when many of his fellow Mobile guardsmen did not, and then could not find a spot in Mobile when he got back.  In that sense, it looks like Korea may have been more like Vietnam than World War II.  In WW II, units were homogeneous, like the Dixie Division.  They went off to war together and came home together.  In Korea, individuals were shipped off on their own to join unfamiliar units already there.  When you came home, you were on your own, too, as most Vietnam veterans were.  For Vietnam, men were drafted at random around the country, then sent for training at different bases depending on their specialty, and then sent off to Vietnam individually to replace some individual who had been injured or killed or who had finished his tour.

I didn't like it in Vietnam, and in retrospect, I think it may have been similar to what happened in Korea.

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