Archive - September 24, 2021

Three years as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer

Three years as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer

  By Doug West (Jamaica 1968-71) September 22, 2021   I write this inspired by a New York Times op-ed earlier this year, “Should Young Americans be Required to Give a Year of Service?” I also note that this week marks the 60th anniversary of enactment of the legislation which created the Peace Corps. In 1968, my former wife and I were among 80 volunteers selected for two-year Peace Corps assignments in Jamaica, the fifth Peace Corps group to be sent to Jamaica following President Kennedy’s founding of the Peace Corps in 1961. Like many, I was inspired by JFK’s grand vision, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” (Dismissed by Richard Nixon as a refuge for draft dodgers, the Peace Corps created a deferment, but not an alternative to military service. When I returned in 1971, I narrowly missed the draft, . . .

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