A Look Back at Our All-Volunteer Force


As we close in on 10 years of the Global War On Terror I have to wonder, has any other country been in a sustained conflict with an all volunteer force for any thing close to this long? Think about it, many countries have continuous conscription even in peace time.  If a country does not, then it is the first thing they do after declaring war. 


The United States initiated a draft during the “mobilization” period before World War II. The Cold War draft went from 1948, before the Korean War, until 1973. Now as we mark a decade of this conflict, this country has such a sustainable supply of Patriots, that conscription has not even been given a serious thought!  How impressive is that!

Of course, there are always the nay say-ers out there who say that with the incentives the Army provides we really have a mercenary force.  That is a load of horse manure.

Back when I was an instructor in ROTC, we knew that you could not get students to sign up just for the money. There had to be a desire to serve and be a part of something bigger than themselves. 

No one would subject themselves to the rigors of the military simply for the money.  I have heard soldiers refer to Iraq as “the million dollar experience, that you wouldn’t do again for a million dollars.” 

Of course, that is just SoldierSpeak. They gripe about wherever they are, it is their right and they have earned it.  But they persevere, and drive on, and yes they re-enlist, and go back again.  Why? Because they are Patriots.


So have they set a world wide historic record?  Has any other country ever fielded an all  volunteer army in conflict for this long?

I read a lot of history, but I am at a loss. There may be something very obvious that I am missing. 

If that is the case, I am looking forward to being corrected.  I like to say, “I learn something new every day, no matter how careful I am.”     


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