Presently, there is a debate raging concerning the American military. Traditionalists believe that our armed forces should continue to maintain as their core mission waging conventional state-on-state wars, like the first Persian Gulf War. Reformers on the other side want to build on the lessons the Army and Marine Corp learned in Afghanistan and Iraq, and broaden the military skill set to fashion a more effective counter insurgency and nation building force. Actually, American soldiers have performed a variety of construction activities prompting Zachary Taylor, the former president of the United States in 1820 comment “The ax, pick, saw and trowel has become more the implement of the American soldier than the cannon, musket or sword.” Despite its deep roots in construction, some military officers warn that an army of nation-builders may lose its edge at conventional warfare. Others argue that American troops that are helping Afghans build greenhouse, grow crops and better feed livestock are not losing their identity as warriors- they are simply following in the footsteps of the earliest of American soldiers.
“The nation which forgets it defenders will itself be forgotten.” Calvin Coolidge (30th US President).