Nation’s elite are AWOL from military duty

Salt Lake Tribune Joe Galloway June 21, 2006

WASHINGTON – A new book expands on a familiar subject: the absence of America’s elite and its governing class – and their children – from the ranks of our nation’s military.

The book is AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America’s Upper Classes from Military Service – and How It Hurts Our Country. Its authors, Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer, didn’t embrace the military ethos so much as it embraced them.

Roth-Douquet describes herself as a former agitator, feminist, Ivy Leaguer and Clintonite. She just happened to fall in love with a Marine pilot and married him, she told me, thinking that within a year she would ”turn him around” and get him out of uniform.

Instead she found herself falling in love with the military life, so much so that this year, when her husband made the list for promotion to colonel, she was delighted because it meant they could have a few more years on active duty.

Schaeffer, a novelist, painter and filmmaker, saw his plans for his youngest son – ”top college, good grades, smart jobs . . .” – go awry when his son enlisted in the Marines after he finished high school.

It almost goes without saying that both authors swiftly discovered that in their circles, they alone had personal connections to today’s military.