Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History


This work focuses on several themes that deal with the idea of motivation in the military. The primary focus is to view the soldiers in the “all volunteer” force in order to examine their sources of motivation. The majority of sources came from interviews conducted with active duty, reservist, and retired soldiers who were deployed to Iraq and/or Afghanistan. The work examines how the evolution of the “all volunteer” force has changed since its inception in 1973, primarily focusing on the soldiers who were involved in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are several reasons for why a citizen decides to join the military; this work proves that a military family tradition exists in the United States. The military family tradition is a very strong motivating force that acts upon citizens that have family members in the military. The study also focuses on the idea of patriotism as a motivating factor on soldiers that were already in the military. This is examined through the experiences of soldiers during the attacks on September 11, 2001. The soldiers in the military did not use September 11th as their main motivation to fight; they believed that it was their job to fight. The experiences of these soldiers illustrated that September 11th propelled them from the peacetime military to a wartime military. The U.S. soldier and the military have changed in several areas since the development of the “all volunteer” force. This work examines how the soldiers in the “all volunteer” force have experienced the military and how the military as a whole has changed.

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