Army & Navy: Plucking the Eagles

Many a leather-faced wartime ranker figured that it would be more profitable, in the long run, to become an enlisted man again when the shooting was over. Few had to drop as far back as Ralph T. Shannon, who had spent 19 years as an enlisted man when the Army called him to duty as a reserve officer.

Nearing 45, Soldier Shannon figured the alternatives closely: to stay an officer, he; would have to be broken to major. Also, he could never accumulate enough years of commissioned service to qualify for an officer's top retirement pay. But as an enlisted man, he...

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