A common belief among many quarters is that we have gone squishy. From participation trophies to so called “microaggressions”, the “snowflake” youth of today will never measure up to the metal of our forebears, or so the thinking goes. Nowhere is this more accepted than in the military, where we bemoan stress cards and touchy feely Drill Sergeants.
Most reading this would probably agree that the venerable warriors of World War II, who faced off against an enemy that was industrial, highly trained, and well equipped are worthy of the “greatest” mantle. I know I speak for many in the GWOT ranks when I say I preferred my batch of low tech OPFOR dirtbags over that steel laden maelstrom facing our boys in 1944.
But I had an epiphany of sorts that challenged this assumption, and which I feel is worthy of review and discussion. I am going to argue that the kids of the GWOT are the rightful usurpers of the throne and mantle of “Greatest Generation.” It is not that we necessarily want the title, nor need it, but as you will see, this argument will challenge the opinion that we will never measure up to the studs in OD Green of the past.
I had the good fortune to frequently interact with and support the surviving crop of World War II members of my division. And because I had been raised to defer to these aging gods of war, I would enter every conversation with them like a pup approaching the Alpha Dog of the pack: with great humility and respect.
They were, after all, the greatest.
The holders of the pole position in the pantheon of American military history?
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