Question? I have a question?????


The Bird Thats Big
MI.Net Member
Mi.Net Supporter
Apr 22, 2004
I have a question?, I hope I don not offend anybody by asking it :confused:

I am interested to know why people wish to fight in war?, i know that some do it out of loyalty for their country, but I believe from talking to people I know that a lot of people get really excited about it and feel it is very much part of their being. Perhaps it is the warrior in their blood going back through the years, maybe as far back as The Vikings etc.

What really drives a man to fight in war?, how do they feel about it?, and how do they cope afterwards.

Oops I added a couple of other questions there ;)

Anyway if anybody is offended by this question please please believe me when I say it was not my intention to offend, I am just really really interested thats all.

Thanks and much respect Bigbird sal;

Oh and one more thing, I know I am not what you would consider a regular poster on this site but I do love it and visit often. Most of the things that I have read are very interesting and lots of stuff that have just well....cracked me up laughing. You guys are great. ;)
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i joined for a number of reasons,
1) An abusive father, it was a way of getting out of his way.
2) Travel i wanted to see other places.
3) A secure job
4) had an interest in military equipment from a very young age.

so when i left school at the age of 15 the first thing i did was go and see about sighing up,

i walked through the gates of Gamecock barracks bramcote on the 10 Sept 1968 and thar was the start of 15 years service.
I joined for 3 reasons,

1. There was a recession in the early 80s and everyone at school was either going on the Dole or going to College. I wanted to earn some money and travel a bit.

2. I liked the uniform for pulling girlies.

3. Messed up my GCEs :oops:
I finished O ; A levels, didn't want to go to university and had wanted to join the army for years.
I fouled up my officer training and ended up after a very roundabout route with the Royal Corps of Signals.

With regard to your war question, when a situation crops up and you are ordered to go, well, you go.
I worked with guys for years (some since basic training) and we knew each other very well indeed. We knew everyone elses' family, girlfriends, dogs, cats etc etc. In the end, you fight for your mates, your regiment perhaps and you certainly fight to make sure you come back again. Queen and Country, sure. But not that high on the priority list.
I think also that you fight to make sure your training is up to scratch! You've dry run 1000's of times then you get the real thing. It's time to put the talk into the walk!
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I don't speak for everyone of course but generally, anybody who has served would fight for their country if needed, even those who are recalled after time in "civvy street"
After all it's what you are trained for. I personally believe if you have taken the Queens' shilling, at any time in your life you can be liable. It is not as though you can say that you "never expected to go to war" and believe me this has happened.
Bigbird, what a question!
Ever since I was a lad, I’ve always wanted to be a soldier. My father was a soldier and served in the First World War. He was shot five times, twice in 1915. After which he was transferred to the Pioneer Corps because of his building and tunnelling skills. Once in 1916 and twice more in 1918 while carrying his mate who had been wounded. As luck was on his side, no major organs were damaged. But he died of what I now know to be cancer through smoking.

At seven I joined the Boys Scouts but I soon left it behind as it was not military enough for me, and so I joined the Boys Brigade. I stayed with the brigade until I was thirteen and joined the Army Cadet Force, and enlisted in the army at seventeen and half.

For the first five years I was with the Artillery. Though nearly three of those years I was working in another department. At the end of that three-year I couldn’t stand the strain and so I moved over to a more sedate military roll, the RAMC. Though In the medics, I was sometimes given a roasting because I would go into dangerous situation in Cyprus and Northern Ireland to help my fellow man. No matter which side he was on. To some this may sound silly, but you only have to look at the Victoria Crosses the RAMC has, to see that it wasn’t only me that thought that way.

Sorry I’ve waffled on without answering your question. I joined because there was an impulse inside me that I couldn’t resist.
army; sal; vc;
Big Bird, I am really the last person who should answer your question, never having been in the Military.
But there are so many reasons why people join the Armed Forces, and in my opinion, VERY FEW join to kill.
A sense of Family, Comradeship, simple employment, adventure, you name it, but I think that VERY FEW of our Armed Forces join because they want to be involved in WAR.
Remember, Big Bird, wars are caused by politicians, not the people who actually fight.
I am sure I will be shot down by our Members if I'm wrong.
I joined the Army because had I not done so I would have been imprisoned by now, the people I mixed with were to say the least bad guys. I also joined because My father was in the forces (a Para) and my brother was still a serving Artillerymen. I think I know what your getting at though Bigbird, It is excitingbeing at war or conflict, but its also scary as hell. Its already been said but, you fight to survive, protect your buddies and well because you hope that the purpose of the fight is a just one. I grew up with war films and in a strange way I think they fueled the fire that was always there, ready to ignite at any moment. Its hard to explain, maybe it is part of our being as you say, maybe its in our blood brought on from years of conflict through the pages of history I dont know really. to answer another part of your question the thought that you have just killed another human being is a horrible one, I felt disgust with myself for a short while but then the reality is in war, its you or them. I have never forgotten my time at war and I dont expect anybody else who has been involved in war will ever do either, it has filled me with regret, ambition, optimism and yes even pride. War is the ultimate decision maker, sometimes when the talking is done there really is no other way.
It has made me very different, you could even say it has made me a better man and all the feelings I had as a child watching my war films have faded away and now when I watch them I dont consider the excitement, just the sad sad reality that war really is.

Anyway, ive waffled a bit there and typed without really even thinking about it, but what the hell thats it.
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War is about the destruction of what other people have and the killing,maiming,rape,and torture of those people;men,women,and children.

Why would anyone want to do such things?I have no idea.I only know that there are many who do.

EVERY person I've known who wanted to go to war and risk everything-their lives,their bodies,and their sanity-to do so,has done so from a deep desire to protect and defend their country and the people they love FROM such acts.

Bottom line-
Why do people want to go to war?
Because they love you.
Your questions, I think, have been asked since the beginning of time.
I don't think anyone in their right mind wants to go to war. At least not the common soldier who are the ones who do the fighting. But with that said, for me freedom is worth fighting for whether it's for your own country or someone's else's country. It just has to be done at times because there is evil in the world and a lot of the time, force is the only way to defeat evil. Once in a war though the common soldiers soon find themselves fighting for the people in their unit more so then any ideology. As long as there is evil or opposing ideologies there will be wars. That is very unfortunate for the ones who actually do the fighting.

I didn't join the military. I was drafted. My country called me and I answered that call as people have been doing for ages.

The soldier who has to cope with the aftermath of a battle or a war is another thing all together and very personal for each and everyone of us. It's hard to generalize such feelings although the head shrinkers have sure tried.
Well, Bigbird, who lives in a peaceful place, I think its my turn to wade in on this question.

I graduated from high school in 1965 without money enough for college, so immediately I was facing the draft. All through high school I had taken flying lessons, gotten my license and was totally addicted to flying. But I had a problem, my eyesight was not good enough for a commercial pilot's license so I knew I could never be a pilot in the military, so I looked at other options. All the services except the army required almost the same eyesight requirements for crewmembers as they did for pilots. All the Army required was that you were relatively warm, so I felt that I probably could qualify. You don't need much to be OJT (on the job target). The Army also had one important feature, if you volunteered you could pick the job you wanted, so I joined and chose Utility Helicopter Mechanic, the guys who maintained UH-1 Hueys.

After Basic I attended two successive aircraft maintenance courses, the last one being the UH-1 course. From my first ride in a helicopter I knew I was in the right place, but the Vietnam orientations were some what haunting. I graduated 2cnd in a class of 102 so they turned me around and made me an instructor in the course I had just graduated from. The program was expanding by leaps and bounds and instructors were badly needed, at least until enough Vietnam returnees were available. As more returnees arrived and I had the chance to learn from them, I began to feel that the war might not be so bad. In January, 1967 I got my orders and arrived in Vietnam by the end of the month.

I had the opportunity to work in maintenance, a nice safe job where you never got shot at and only occasionally got mortared, but I requested an aircraft and was assigned to one currently in maintenance. By the middle of February I was flying and felt pretty safe, none of our aircraft had ever been shot down. Mine was the first on February 22. We took a hit in the engine but were able to autorotate to a safe landing. The aircraft performed exactly as it was designed, my confidence inceased.

Things went well although we lost another aircraft in an accident with one fatality, but this came with the territory. Even civilian flying is a dangerous game. Then we moved to Duc Pho and entered another type of war entirely. My aircraft was the first from our battalion to operate in any capacity at Duc Pho and the very first day we got shot up pretty bad and a Cav gunship was shot down, the crew killed. Sometime I will write the story of that day.

During the next few months we were in combat daily, I lost friends, mostly wounded. We did have some fatalities but nothing that couldn't be accepted. Then I caught malaria and ended up spending ten weeks in the hospital. The guy that took my place got shot. The day before I returned our compound at Duc Pho got mortared, three died, twenty three were wounded. I found myself an old timer, one of the most experienced enlisted flyers in the company.

From that point on I changed. I became an adrenalin junky, flying for combat and wanting the thrill of it. Shortly after that I transferred to the gunships where we actually went looking for combat. Getting shot at was rarely a problem, it was supposed to happen, just part of what we did. Toward the end of my tour I changed again, this was the period where I took the most dangerous missions because I believed I had more experience and had a better chance of surviving then new guys. It was also the time when I took it upon myself to make sure the guys I cared about got out safely, but knowing there was a time when I would leave, I chose not to make friends with the new guys coming in, I isolated myself.

Once I had experienced war, it held no more terror for me. I was actually comfortable in most situations, I treasured and looked for the high that came from combat. Life on the ground was boring, the people on the ground couldn't relate to us, we, the four of us in the aircraft, needed the combat to make life worthwhile, to give us a reason for being and joined us in a comradeship that is difficult for those never having experienced it to understand.

After leaving Vietnam I was disallusioned with the stateside Army. Shoe polish had precedence over combat preparedness. Paper work was the reason to exist. When I had a chance to join Special Forces I jumped at it. Here were people that understood what I felt and experienced, here was a true brotherhood. I also knew I would be trained by the very best so my chances of surviving more combat were excellant.

The futility of trying to live a life simply to exist is absurd. To really live is to be on the edge and know you can handle what comes. Now that I am much older I can look back and know that I truly
lived and as I bounce my grandchildren on my knee I am at peace with myself.

Would I volunteer again? Absolutely. Bullets have no fear for me, I think in my best days I was very close to being master of anything I might face.

The question you asked was straight forward and honest, I don't think anyone would take offense at it.

Hope this helps.

Well, here's my story. I enlisted for some of the same reasons as some of the others. I graduated high school in '64 at the age of 17 1/2. My father was an alcoholic who had been sober for less than a year, and I felt a big need to get out of the house. After lying about my age and working as a logger for the summer, I returned home and entered the local junior college. After 1 semester, decided I didn't like college any better than high school, so went to work in a lumber mill. Now it's 1965. At the end of the summer, decided to move back home and try college again. I'm now registered with the draft, and it's becoming quite active as Vietnam heats up. Since I'm mostly majoring in Booze and Broads, my grades aren't going to keep me from getting drafted for very long. Instead of registering for the next quarter, I talk to a Army recruiter. I decide to wait until after the holidays and enter the Army on 10JAN66.

Once I made the decision, I decided it was going to be my BIG Adventure. I enlisted to become a paratrooper. I also wanted to "see" the war in a place called Vietnam. I volunteered to go there at the first opportunity. This was going to be my further BIG Adventure. Well, to make a long story short, I got my wish.......twice. I spent 23 mos. in Vietnam during a 36mos. enlistment.

As it turned out, like Rotor, I discovered I liked Nam better than I did the Spit-N-Polish of stateside duty. I know this sounds crazy, but I wasn't the only combat veteran that had trouble adjusting. I don't think of myself as a "war junkie," but I did like adrenaline rushes. Probably the biggest reason I liked being a paratrooper. War is the ultimate adrenaline high. I think where alot of us had trouble adjusting after our time there is because we tried to get back, or hold onto, that adrenaline high. As war can be self-destructive, so were some of the things that some of us tried to replace it with; alcohol, drugs, fast cars, fast motorcycles, fast women, dangerous jobs, fighting, run-ins with the law, dangerous sports, etc..

Vietnam was the biggest single event in my life. It was a huge lesson in life for me. And, in death. Like Bill said, there are some things worth dying for. It didn't take long to see that this was more than just a personal adventure. We did have reasons for being there, important ones at the time. But, like has already been said, it all boils down to fighting to keep yourself and the guy on your right and left alive.

So Big Bird, you can probably see by now that there are many different answers to your questions. The biggest reason is probably patriotism, answering your country's call to arms. But there is also a breed of men that are just going to show up for a war. There were many foreigners amongst our ranks, mostly Canadians, for example. Many of our officers and NCOs were professional soldiers that had fought in WWII and Korea. Vietnam created another generation of professional soldiers that went on to fight in Grenada, Panama, Desert Storm, and, currently Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan. And.......we're ALL heroes. It takes alot of intestinal fortitude and conviction just to show up for a gunfight.
Bigbird, I would like to thank you for this very honest question that you posed. This type of question (I think) is not one that a soldier would ask another soldier. It has however been very interesting to read the different explanations from our members. I think from what I have read we have discovered that people join the military for a combination of different reasons.
To change their lives
To answer the call (patriotism)
For the Buzz (adrenaline rush)

But once there and in battle the whole thought process seems to change and now we fight to stay alive and keep our buddies alive. You now belong to a family of people that are second to none, this group of people you would die for, much like you would die for your own kids and family but this is much more intense because the threat is there 24 hours a day.

You asked (I think) if we fight because of some historical drive inbred from the history of warfare, well maybe, who knows?.

The bottom line is this, when talking is done and nothing is achieved, all we have is war its the only way we as human beings have found to settle our differences and people like us will always be there to take up the call.

Hollywood and other Movie companys dont help, they make war romantic and appealing instead of showing it for what it is, Violent, Horrific and tragic.

Andy, I might take a little exception about one of your statements. See the movie "We were Soldiers." It's pretty close to real life in war. True, H'wood did glamorize and even vilify a lot in other movies. For myself, I joined the military because I enjoy the freedom and things I have because of others in present and previous years who have sacrificed so that we might enjoy our lives and freedom. Now that I am retired from the military, if I could go back and start again, I would do it all over. No regrets.
Point taken about 'We were soldiers' it did show some of the horrors of war including the effect it had on love ones back home. Perhaps my statement was too broad :roll: , but you get my drift I think.

Your point about others who have gone before and scrificed so much was a good one and Im ashamed that I overlooked this as it was partly one of my reasons for joining up.

Thanks for putting me staright buddy, I can always rely on you. :mrgreen: :D
Bigbird said:
What really drives a man to fight in war?, how do they feel about it?, and how do they cope afterwards.

I have just finished reading a book called "NAM" by Mark Baker. It answers all your questions about what war is like. I was enthralled and horrified but could not put it down until it was finished. I thoroughly recommend it, and to a person who has only been in a few "skirmishes" it brought home to me how futile and addictive all out war is. I've checked and you can get it on Amazon. Buy it now.
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Great question, one I would probably have asked myself as a teenager on a mil forum.

as for an acceptable answer: I tried to avoid joining up until I could avoid no more. The phrase “the path we avoid the most is the one we’re most likely to take“ certainly rings true for me. Definitely the best thing I did though.
I always wanted to. But did get an offer to deliver TV's(for our younger members TV's needed 2 people to deliver!) Got both offers on the same day. I joined up. Also was a well paying job at a time of great job losses in the UK. Thoroughly enjoyed it, met some great people, and some idiots. Got great training, travel, got to play with bangsticks, love the smell of jetfuel in the morning, got my own lanny.

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