Bands of Brothers
Strangers in adjoining bunks had just weeks to become brothers in arms. Trainees learned to snore, shower, sweat, swear, smoke, and soldier together.
Shared experiences of drilling, calisthenics, field training, classroom study, even bunk inspections, ideally built bonds of loyalty and trust. American forces numbered in the millions, but individuals operated in small groups organized around weapon, mechanical, or technical systems. Sometimes crews numbered a dozen or fewer. One million African Americans trained and served in segregated units, building strong bonds with their fellow soldiers but few across racial lines.