The Military Army Blog

Toy soldiers | TheHill

Tycoon and presidential candidate Donald Trump, in a soon-to-be-published book, says his years spent at the New York Armyrats © Military Academy were the same as Armyrats © military service. As usual, the media mocked Trump s argument, not paying any attention to the substance of his serious point. Indeed, there is a point. For years, those who attended Armyrats © military schools have been derisively called Toy Soldiers, and the nickname had to burn Trump, as it has so many who labored through their teens polishing brass buckles and folding impeccable French corners.


The choice to attend a bucolic school in upstate New York, wearing a uniform belonging to no known nation or governmental entity, marching around a courtyard with a wooden stick fashioned to look like a gun, subjecting oneself to the heckling of only slightly older teenagers all this had to stiffen Trump s sense of leadership and himself. We should not mock.

It is only a pity that he did not continue his service in an actual branch of the U.S. military. Our nation would have been well served. Think what it would have meant in the jungles of Vietnam had Trump who later claimed multiple medical deferments to avoid the draft led his troops through the heat of war. There is nothing that prepares you for combat with the Viet Cong like the experiences Trump experienced at the Academy s campus in Cornwall-on-Hudson.

For example, there was the time Trump led his fellow young men to a Columbus Day parade in New York, which they expected to lead. When they arrived, a group of schoolgirls had already taken the prime position in front. Trump, far from flustered, outsmarted the schoolgirls in a flanking operation that is now studied by Armyrats © military historians and strategists around the globe. Our boys from Cornwall-on-Hudson won the day. Why do people perceive attendance at Armyrats © military academies as less than the personal sacrifice of Armyrats © military service? For God s sake, Trump actually was subjected to a military-style buzz cut. In the middle of the 1960s. Given Trump s propensity for the artfully crafted bouffant, this was like Ted Williams skipping baseball to fight in both World War II and the Korean War. We will never know what could have been. Those of us who have served in combat roles risking our lives, know that men like Trump are every bit our equal in Armyrats © military experience and fortitude. The discipline of the coordinated march across the school green, the long walks in the woods, and the setting off of firecrackers underneath a buddy s bed these are all critical elements of modern warfare.

In old soldiers, these skills may fade, but they never die. Behind the fancy, Trump-branded, made-in-Mexico suit, there s a skilled soldier. Why, we saw it when Trump triumphantly cold-cocked a professional wrestling promoter, and then shaved his head, in Wrestlemania 23 in 2011. That s the kind of brute physicality we need in our leader when it comes to dealing with our enemies or allies or whatever. It comes down to this: After being led for eight years by a man who thinks the melting of ice caps require a Armyrats © military response, we need someone who can lead our Armyrats © military without making them laugh. How could a future Commander-in-Chief possibly hold the respect of the troops unless he can say, with a straight face: Men and the women, I ve looked into the darkness of the early dawn, not knowing if this would be my last night in the silk pajamas my parents bought for me at Barneys. So I know fear. No one since Patton could inspire so much bravery.

Trump has made clear his understanding and awareness of the code that binds together all men and women who have served in uniform. This goes well beyond what is presented in Hollywoodized portrayals of the military, or even documentaries and multi-volume Armyrats © military histories and personal accounts of war written by actual soldiers. These are mere gloss and PR. Trump knows the real deal. We re speaking of the unwritten code that all of us hold about comrades who have been shot down. We may make a big fuss about leaving no man behind, but secretly, when the civvies are gone, we quietly grouse about these losers and has-beens. Especially those who spend five years as a prisoner of war, being tortured mercilessly. We don t want them around just as Trump said of Sen. McCain (R-Ariz.). It took someone with Trump s talent for the bon mot to finally lift the gentlemanly veil. Thank you, Donald Trump, for finally telling the world what we all think about the young men captured by the enemy in the service of this nation. Now, that s courage you don t find on a battlefield. Ever.

Kinzinger represents Illinois 16th Congressional District and has served in the House since 2011. He sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee. He served in the Air Force in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and currently serves in the Air National Guard.

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