Veterans Day at Chicago Booth

On Veterans Day, I always think about those who have served, those who are currently serving, and those who will serve. But it is also hard for me to think about veterans without thinking about the impact of the University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman – the father of America’s all-volunteer force.

Today in America we have two cohorts of veterans: World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam veterans who served during the Draft, and those who have served in the all-volunteer force since 1973. Milton Friedman was the outspoken voice that made a cogent argument for ending the Draft, and as part of President Nixon’s commission helped set the policy ushering in America’s all-volunteer force.

At Booth, we have an international Armed Forces Group (AFG). As Milton Friedman once wrote, “the essential need is to maintain close links between the officer corps and the body politic.”   In order to forge that link, I share with you the voices of a number of AFG members on their service and the similarities between the military and Chicago Booth.

Why is/was it important to serve your country?

It was important for me to defend the values which this country was founded upon, specifically liberty and freedom for all. Freedom and liberty can only exist as long as there are people willingly defending them and I am proud to have played a small part in that cause.
-Ken Fenton, United States Air Force, Booth ’16

Singapore is a tiny country, with no natural resources, not even fresh water. We are consistently under pressure from our neighbors, and without our military, many decisions could have not have been made. I serve because I want my country to make decisions for our citizens, not for our neighbors.
– Cedric Soh, Republic of Singapore Air Force, Booth ’17

My mother immigrated to the US with nothing and built a life for herself here. She is adamant that this is the only place she could have achieved what she did. That alone makes our nation worth fighting for. Political freedom is good too.
-Andrew Kreitz, United States Army, Booth ’16

Basically it is mandatory for all Korean men to serve for two years. But because of the special situation in Korea, I am very proud of defending my country and my family safely.
-Kwangsuk Song, Republic of Korea Army, Booth ’17

Service is a tradition in my family, so serving in the Navy meant following in the footsteps of my father, uncle, and grandfather.
– Scott Neidhold, United States Navy, Booth ’17

What do you see here at Booth that reminds you of your military service?

I spent the bulk of my career before Booth as a member of close-knit teams, as a firefighter and a Marine. The bonds formed through these experiences are deep, and at times difficult to explain to others. I have been amazed at how fast I have to come to view some of my classmates as close friends. We are all here to support and encourage one another and at any point I feel I can reach out to any student at Booth for help or advice and it will be provided.
– Kyle Sullivan, United States Marine Corps, Booth ’17

I was fortunate enough to meet my start-up teammates during my time in the military. The army serves as an opportunity to meet people from diverse backgrounds, who have interesting experiences and skills to contribute. Booth similarly provides ample opportunities to engage with people from various backgrounds and make lifelong friendships.
– Richard Choi, Republic of Korea Army, Booth ’17

Teamwork… Diversity… Most importantly, a competitive spirit and pay-it-forward culture that will lead to a cohesive, winning team of individuals.
– Charles Mullenger, United States Army, Booth ’17

The pay-it-forward spirit is astonishing at Booth. I believe that Boothies at heart have a sense of duty to contribute to the Booth community by paying it forward. That reminds me a lot of the spirit of all who serve: to sacrifice for the people and for the prosperity of our nation.
– Sam Jeon, Republic of Korea Army, Booth ’17

Work ethic; selflessness; a bias for action.
Pete Estridge, United States Marine Corps, Booth ’17

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