I graduated from Yale in 1960 with a bachelor’s of science in physics and a commission as an ensign in the U.S. Navy Reserve. I am grateful for both and feel only great fondness when looking back at my Navy experience.
Despite what many undergraduates, or even alums, may think, the military is not socially or culturally or intellectually homogeneous. For example, there are reports that active duty personnel in Iraq have contributed six times more money to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama than to that of the veteran and POW John McCain. The fact is that military personnel are a reflection of our country at large, including having every conceivable position on every conceivable issue.
I am grateful to Yale for the education I received there. Likewise, I am grateful to the Navy for what it gave me in terms of experience and exposure to a wide variety of people and responsibilities.
The Navy curriculum at Yale was both technical (how things work) and conceptual. For example, the course on the history of sea power has served me well since then.
The Vietnam experience was horrible for the country and for the military. The Iraq War has been almost as divisive. But neither provides any justification for us not to serve our country.
I do not regret my ROTC experience one bit, but I do regret that Yale students are denied the opportunities that I had. It is time to change all that.
Zach Allen ’60