Veterans Day is a holiday where Americans honor current and former members of the U.S. armed forces. Each year, ceremonies, memorial services and motorcades are held for those who have served or are still serving in the United States military.
Charles Robinson, 69, served in the United States Navy for 27 years. He entered the service at 18.
“I volunteered to go into the services because, back then you had to choose to either volunteer, or wait to be drafted, so I just volunteered to be in the Navy so I could pick what I wanted to do, which was to be a medical corpsman.”
Robinson was a chief hospital corpsman during the Vietnam era and supervised the medical clinics, emergency rooms, and battalion aid station. “I was in combat, but I was a corpsman during the Desert Shield/Desert Storm era.”
Throughout Robinson’s career as a medial corpsman, he and his family were stationed at the Naval Hospital in San Diego, California; Naval Air Station in New Orleans, Louisiana; the ship called Willard Keith, and the Naval Station in Rota, Spain. After leaving the service he went to work for the VA data processing center in Austin, Texas, and has since transferred to Little Rock, Arkansas; Richmond, Virginia, and now lives in Dallas, Texas.
When asked about how his wife and children felt about the military life, he stated, “They enjoyed wherever I took them… they were always happy we were the kind of family that had fun everywhere we went.“
The highest rank Robinson’s achieved is “E7”. Looking back he feels that life after serving the military gave him good management skills, organization, supervision and a lot of respect from people back at home.
Although military life suited him well, he feels the draft was a bad thing and should never come back. Robinson stated that people should have a choice on what he or she wants to do. In his experience Robinson feels that some people may not be ready for the circumstances when joining the military.
The advice he gives to prospective soldiers: “Make sure you understand that you are willing to go anywhere in the world and accept anything the officer appoints you to do, and that you will be committed to accepting it.
“Your mind has to be ready! If you don’t have that, you will ha a miserable time,” Robinson said.