He was drafted at 19 – now, opposing military recruiters at 61
Every morning before school starts, Miles Woolley, a drafting teacher at Southwest Miami High School, gets a reminder of military life when the Junior R.O.T.C. honor guard marches by his classroom.
“Their marching and parading around in uniforms stirs bad memories in me,” he said.
Mr. Woolley, 61, is a Vietnam veteran whose service left him with a bullet in his head, a mostly useless left hand and a dragging left foot. He was drafted at age 19, not much older than his students are now, and transformed from a small-town newlywed into a fast-shooting reconnaissance soldier.
Like many such high schools, it is also a focus for military recruiting…Every Tuesday and Wednesday, recruiters from the Army, Navy and Marines set up tables in the lobby outside the cafeteria, handing out water bottles, key chains and stickers and talking up the benefits of a military career…
Mr. Woolley avoids the lobby. “I don’t go there if I can help it,” Mr. Woolley said. “I don’t want to see it.”
Kent State University, May 4, 1970
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
Mr. Woolley does not discuss the military, unless students ask.
“I can’t tell them what to do,” he said. “I can tell them what happened to me. And answer questions. Honestly.”
Even that has been a struggle for him.
“Sometimes students ask about what happened to me, and I tell them as much as I think they can stand to hear,” he said. “Some come talk to me after they’ve already been recruited and signed their papers. I don’t want them to think that this is a mass murderer who’s been in the classroom with them. But I do want them to know that we weren’t peacemakers, we weren’t freeing anybody. Those bombs and guns do one thing. They kill.”
RTFA. Long and detailed, truthful.
I post this because it reminded me of a topic I actually started to get into gear during Clinton’s end of days. I have a few current and ex-military friends with whom I discuss military history, strategy, theory. When the “Peace Dividend” was a legitimate topic, I thought it was time for a serious re-purposing of our military.
I thought that many elements of what the Chinese Army was utilized for after the 1949 revolution, for example, could be duplicated here and abroad – large-scale federal construction projects, agricultural innovation, support from Day 1 for FEMA projects.
That came to end once the dipshits #1 and #2 were put in charge by a less than well-informed electorate + terrorists anxious to collaborate in moving the world back to the Dark Ages added their share to wholesale paranoia.
It’s still a worthwhile idea. Maybe Mr. Wooley might agree?