Jay Stouffer talks about his wartime service. Photo by Rayvn Dunkley

Wise Words from a Veteran

“Neither a wise nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.” (Author: President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1956)

War. A word that is indescribably painful but has such a meaningful impact or purpose. One cannot come to fathom the things these men see and sacrifice to serve for our country. They deserve nothing but respect and honor for their challenging work and dedication to this country.

When women and or men enlist, they have to take an oath that adheres to defending the constitution and vowing to face the Uniform Code of Military Justice. This ensures they will support and defend all enemies, foreign and domestic. They will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; obey orders of the President of the United States and the orders of officers appointed over them.

Jay W. Stouffer, 75, born in 1946, served in the United States Army Reserves Active Duty from March 1967 to June of 1969. His specialty was in fixed winged aircrafts and his MOS was classified as 67 G 20’s. Jay was in Hagerstown Community College (previously named Hagerstown Junior College) at the time of his enlistment. He was my age, 21 when he enlisted into the army. He got married shortly after enlistment and had his first child in December 21 of 1967

Jay Stouffer

He did his basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia from March 1968 to the end of May 1968. After that he was sent to Fort Rucker, Alabama for former training in aircraft. He was then sent to Vietnam to build bunkers and pour concrete. Even though Jay never experienced combat, he still played a vital role in ensuring his men had a stable building and bed to lay their head on at night.

During the Vietnam War, there was an active draft. Jay decided prior to being drafted, to enlist himself. One of the statements he made during our conversation struck me the most, “are Our main goal was to stay alive, and protect one another.”

Shortly after his discharge from the Army, he started working for the former A & P grocery store part-time. He also worked for Potomac Edison full time. Before the army, he worked as a print presser for the Herald-Mail. He currently works now at Giant Martins as a meat butcher.

Advice Jay would give to younger vets or people looking to go into the Army would be, “Try to be the best you can, stay away from drugs, and no matter what you do it’s going to reflect on you. If you want to move up, you have to excel and put a little bit more into it. Jay says that “I would have never gained that experience if I would have never gone in.”


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