The “Best and Brightest”

I realized I should give some background on the Army Security Agency and how one became a member.

One article I read postulated that the creation of the Army Security Agency was an experiment, and probably the only Army-initiated program that was remarkably successful. When formed, in 1945, it was put under the direct supervision of the National Security Agency. Recruiters were instructed to cull out the “best and the brightest” who were encouraged to join up with the Agency. Once in, they were required to qualify for a top secret/crypto clearance and often spent well over a year in training for their particular mission.

In the early years, a hitch in the Army Security Agency was three years. However, as the Vietnam war heated up and the need for cannon fodder increased, the number of men joining the Agency went up significantly as it was seen as a way to avoid dying in Vietnam. The Army used this as an opportunity to hike the term of enlistment to four years and get more out of its investment – in my case, for example, I was in school for almost two years before getting on site.

The draft was eliminated in 1973 – and with that end one saw the type of ASA enlistee change dramatically.

Keep in mind the directive to recruiters to cull out the “best and the brightest.” These enlistees during the Vietnam era were highly educated (by Army standards) and not particularly motivated to follow orders of their often incompetent superiors. Thus, you can expect this blog to provide a closer look at the escapades of the soldiers of Teufelsberg combined with the kind of humor that only the Army can provide.

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1 Comment

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One response to “The “Best and Brightest”

  1. Rick Byrnes

    Thank you for your Best & Brightest posting. I was one of the last of the draftees. i went into the Army in October ’72 and got selected for ASA in basic training, probably due to my 4-year degree and aptitude scores. I spent 18 months in Field Station Berlin as a bright young personnel records clerk in the Personnel Records office before discharge in October ’74. Go figure.

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