Artillery: October 4, 2004


A recent news story about an American paratrooper sergeant with the 82nd Airborne division, who lost a leg to a bomb in Iraq, wanting to stay in the army, is not all that unusual. Soldiers who are badly injured in the service, even to the extent of losing a limb or an eye, are often allowed to stay in. This is actually an ancient tradition, especially with career soldiers. There were always less strenuous jobs that the disabled soldier could handle. Retaining the experience, and dedication, of a long serving soldiers, was seen as more important than insisting that every soldier have two arms, two legs and two eyes. 

In the past century, as medical care became better, most armies established specific physical standards for every job. Thus it became easier to find a place for an eager, although somewhat physically diminished, soldier to find another job. After both World Wars, Korea and Vietnam, there were a number of soldiers still serving, although they were missing a limb, or had some other incapacitating injury. All of this is simply another reminded that military service is as much mental and psychological, as it is physical. 


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