Tour of Duty is an examination of the operational (i.e. non-training or “real world”) deployments of the United States Army between 1973 and 2013. This forty-year period is unique in that it is the only time in American history that the nation has maintained a significant standing Army without the use of conscription. My research covers four operational phases which roughly correspond to each decade; the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s and 00’s.
As a career American military man (I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1985 and am currently a U.S. Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel) I wanted to delve into how the American Army has “gone to war” over the past forty years with an emphasis on the transition from short-term, crisis response deployments and conventional threat deterrent to the current, and exhausting, routine of back-to-back, long-term combat deployments.