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Military History/World War I Company Selection

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Question
Mr. Leepson,

I'm a 16 y/o high schooler currently writing a screenplay about American boys who enlist in World War I and most of them seeing the horrors of war. My question is, is or was it possible for boys from all the same town to selectively join the same company? I know it worked in All Quiet on the Western Front, but was it possible in America? Thanks!

-John

Answer
How many boys are you talking about? These things were possible for a group of friends, say four or five or six, and probably could have been worked out for a few more. The military had programs in which you could sign up on the "buddy system," meaning you and a buddy (or two or a few more) enlisted and they promised you'd train together and then be assigned to the same unit. That persisted through the Vietnam War era and beyond.

It looks like the Navy still has it. http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/navyjoin/a/navybuddy.htm

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Marc Leepson

Expertise

I can answer most questions dealing with all aspects of U.S. military history. My expertise is the Vietnam War. I also have written extensively about the U.S. Civil War, World War II, World War I, The Philippine War, and the American Revolution. My books include a concise biography of the Marquis de Lafayette, the history of the American Flag, and the post-Jefferson history of Monticello, and therefore know a great deal about those specific subjects. I specialize in writing about matters of strategy--not tactics. And I also am interested in personalities. I have very little knowledge about ordnance or the value of old military memorabilia. Nor do I know a lot about uniforms and insignia--except about the Vietnam War. To repeat: I have no expertise in assessing the value of ordnance or uniforms or any type of military equipment. And my knowledge about military uniforms is only limited to those of the Vietnam War era. If you have questions on these topics, I recommend contacting an antiques dealer in your area who specializes in military uniforms, ordnance, etc.

Experience

Author and journalist with more than 35 years' experience.

Organizations
Authors Guild BIO International

Publications
New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribute, New York Newsday, the Arizona Republic, St. Petersburg Times, Detroit News. Magazines: Smithsonian, Preservation, The VVA Veteran, Vietnam, Civil War Times, America's Civil War, Military History, World War II. Editor: The Webster's New World Dictionary of the Vietnam War

Education/Credentials
BA, 1967, George Washington University, History MA, 1971, George Washington University, European History

Awards and Honors
Vietnam Veterans of America Excellence in the Arts Award, 2011

Past/Present Clients
Vietnam Veterans of America

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