JD Allen, over at Mouth of the Brazos, joined the Marines because he wanted a sword. The officers carry them in dress uniform. He wound up enlisted, instead. And by the time his enlistment was up, the sword didn’t seem so important after all.
Me, I wanted to avoid the draft. When I couldn’t I enlisted for Army OCS under a college op program they had then. By the time I got my lieutenant’s bars it was obvious I was going to Viet Nam. In which case all I wanted was a CIB (Combat Infantryman’s Badge: an ancient Long Rifle surrounded by a wreath).
I got it alright. But by the time I did it didn’t seem so important after all.