Jenna K. Ross "Fighting for Uncle Sam: Political Ideology and the Soldier in Vietnam"
The political ideals of American soldiers in Vietnam
Why and How I Came to this Topic:
Coming from a military family, I’ve always been curious about how soldiers experience war, and why they choose to serve. I became extremely curious about the relationship between enlistment and political ideology—the ideals espoused by the government stating the values, ideals, and morals of the nation. In light of the latest wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I wanted to understand the process through which soldiers internalize political messages, and how those messages operated as a driving force in enlistment.
The bulk of my primary resources have come from an incredible archive at Texas Tech University’s Vietnam Center and Archives, which houses the largest collection of Vietnam paraphernalia in the nation. I have drawn from their thousands of letters and diaries to try and spot trends in enlistment rationales. I have also pulled extensively from anthologies of letters and from one or two well-known memoirs of the war.
Travel and Funding I Have Done/Received:
I have received two separate SURF grants (Summer 2010 and Summer 2011), as well as the Provost Fellowship (Summer 2011). These grants have allowed me to purchase books, and to travel to Texas Tech to search their collections.