I was in the 82nd Airborne from 1981 until 1989. The 101st Airborne from 1991 to 2001. I’m writing this because I get a lot of questions about what the Army was like from Civilian friends. Sure it looks fun but it gets monotonous.
I was in logistics but you still have to do all this quote “fun stuff” on a regular basis. Qualify with your weapon, 12-mile ruck march once a quarter, Gas Chamber every 6 months. Jump out an airplane every few weeks which takes about 8 hours before you actually leave the Aircraft, most of them being at night. Then there is PT every morning at 630AM 5 days a week, 6 days if you fall out of a company run on Friday. Oh, I forgot all the different 24-hour duties you have the privilege to pull. Charge of Quarters (CQ), Guard Duty, BN/BDE Runner and Driver, then there all the field exercises with the well-loved Kitchen Police Duty (KP). Some people don’t last 3 years much less 20. Sure it got a little easier in the 101st Airborne no planes to jump out of and as you make rank you don't have to do some of these.
I compare the Army with professional sports in that it’s a young man's game. A lot of people have to leave for medical reasons, no room for OSHA standards here. I personally have bad hearing; a bad shoulder, knee, and ankle. I would not have changed a thing and kind of miss it sometimes for just a small moment.
Lots of people had it a lot worse than I did. Especially some of the Vietnam vets I served with in the early 80’s. And the ongoing mess we created in the sandbox. I retired Feb 2001 but got a little taste of it as a contractor in Afghanistan. I tried to steer our sons away from the Army, but every service has its challenges. I do believe that we should bring the draft back for the simple reason that the defense of the nation should be a national responsibility that everyone should bear in some way.