World War II (detail from Pearl Harbor photo)

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.

“You’re in the Army Mr. Green. We like the barracks nice and clean.”
The company bugler marked the strict regimens of military life, calling out orders from reveille to taps.
At ease