Veterans are more complete citizens, I think. We hold our country closer, and we know our country better for having gotten on the bus and gone to boot camp and earned the right to train and fight, get scared and get drunk with the richest mix of Americans to be found anywhere.
I remember the farm kids and the ghetto kids and the kids gone to the Marines instead of prison. I remember the kids like me who wanted to break from college-bred predictability and take a mad leap into the unknown. Some of us were looking for our hard side and found we didn’t have one.
The last Rhode Island National Guardsman who first served in Vietnam has retired. Cpt. Richard Gaudet has been serving his country on and off for more than 40 years.
Now retired, U.S. Army Captain Richard Gaudet first joined the Army as a 17-year-old, that was in 1971. He was part of an aviation support unit in Vietnam. He then joined the Army Reserves, then after 9-11 he re-enlisted working as a training instructor with two deployments to Afghanistan. Gaudet turns 60 soon, the age mandatory retirement kicks in.