I struggled to answer the following after having read the book The Morenci Marines, by Kyle Longley. Please help me to understand the following: What were the social, racial and economic factors...

I struggled to answer the following after having read the book The Morenci Marines, by Kyle Longley. Please help me to understand the following:

What were the social, racial and economic factors that led members of the Morenci Nine into service? How did the sacrifices of small town America throughout the war shape the American war effort and the public perception of the war itself? In your opinion, what did the unwavering patriotism exhibited by these families reveal about the relationship that Americans had with the war? How did service to the nation define what it meant to be an American (membership)?

Hint: These questions ask you to examine the relationship between small town America and the  nation during the war. Be sure to clarify the connection between the two and discuss how small town America both influenced and reflected the broader social, racial and economic environment of the period. Use specific examples from  the book to support your response.

Expert Answers
jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Morenci Nine were nine young men from Morenci, Arizona, a desert mining town, who joined the Marines in March of 1966. They left the town on July 4, 1966, en route to training in San Diego. Only three returned, and the other six perished in combat from 1967 to 1969.

As Kyle Longley writes in The Morenci Marines, "the Nine represented a demographic of the Southwest, where Mexican Americans and Native Americans constituted a sizable part of the population" (page 4). In the Southwest, as Longley writes, Mexican Americans made up a large number of the soldiers who were drafted into the military during Vietnam. Therefore, as he writes, the story of the Morenci Nine was symbolic of military service in the Southwest during Vietnam.

The story of the Morenci Nine was replicated in small towns across the country, as deaths from the war were clustered in certain areas. For example, as Longley notes, Beallsville, Ohio, lost 6 out of its 475 people in Vietnam. Urban areas, as he notes, were particularly hard hit as well. As he writes, "the blood sacrifice made in Vietnam was uneven for small towns and working-class and lower-middle-class communities" (page 5).

Areas that had higher socio-economic status tended to be more anti-war, and they had fewer young men who volunteered for the draft in Vietnam. In addition, many affluent people found deferments, or ways to get out of the war. Therefore, the Vietnam War was more fervently supported by parts of the population, including Mexican Americans, other people of color, and the working class, who were traditionally more patriotic. Other communities that were more affluent and white tended not to support the war and not to send as many soldiers to the war.