Veteran's Reflections: 'Conflicts Are Fought by Volunteers Who Join the Fight'

Story Number: NNS101104-12Release Date: 11/4/2010 2:44:00 PM
A  A  A   Email this story to a friend   Print this story
From Ian Graham, Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Defense Media Activity is releasing a collection of stories, entitled "Veteran's Reflections," on in November 2010 in honor of Veteran's Day.

The collection of stories is from men and women who served their country in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Shield and Desert Storm and present-day conflicts.

A "Veteran's Reflection" story from Jessie Clark follows:

Like many young people in the 1940s, Jessie Clark didn't think of the military so much as an option after college, but as an obligation.

When she enlisted after graduating from Lasell College in Newton, Mass., there was no questioning her motive or reasoning.

"Well, everybody was going to war," Clark said. "At that time, that's what you did, I thought, so when I graduated from college, I joined the Navy."

Clark was stationed at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Corvallis, Ore., near a Naval Auxiliary Air Station. As a hospital corpsman, the young petty officer cared for troops that were ready, or almost ready, to be released from care.

"They had to go through a period of observation and rehabilitation before they could be sent home," she said.

During her service, she learned a lot about nursing and medicine, a skill set that would help her later on in life. Her late husband, himself a pilot and veteran of World War II, became sick in his later years.

"I learned a lot about medicine and about taking care of patients," said Clark. "It was very helpful for me, because my husband became ill, and it didn't bother me to care for him. I took care of him for 20 years."

Clark said her husband was the more admirable of the two of them - though the patients who stayed in Corvallis may disagree. He flew some 30 missions over Germany, and survived being shot down once while he was based in Italy.

"To me, he was more of a hero than I was," said Clark.

During her recent visit to Washington, D.C., Clark visited the World War II memorial for the first time. Though the Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, resident had visited the National Mall previously, she had yet to see the memorial dedicated to her service and the service of her peers.

"It's this massive thing! It brings back memories, you can see people," Clark said. "The Atlantic, I think of my husband, the Pacific, I think of my brother. You see the states and you think of people you knew from those states."

Clark said it's important for people to keep in mind that our current conflicts aren't fought by everyone; they're fought by a group of volunteers who signed up to join the fight. Service members themselves should be proud of that, said Clark.

"Service members should feel honored to be able to serve the country," she said. "And people should honor those who do serve. They volunteer, it's what they want to do, and they should be allowed to. They should be honored, every day."

For more news, visit

Navy Social Media
Sign up for email updates To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please click on the envelope icon in the page header above or click Subscribe to Navy News Service.