Yesterday’s Soldier, A Passage from Prayer to the Vietnam War, by Tom Keating
Apr 14, 2020 12:00 PM
Tom Keating - Author - Yesterday's Soldier
Yesterday’s Soldier, A Passage from Prayer to the Vietnam War, by Tom Keating

Yesterday's Soldier chronicles the author's journey as a young man, thrust from the world of religious life in a Massachusetts Roman Catholic seminary to the US Army, training to be an Infantry Officer during the Vietnam War.

He entered religious life in the Congregation of Holy Cross in Massachusetts in 1963 with the intent of being ordained a priest and teacher. He lived in a strict male religious community very much like a monastery. Upon graduating from college while at the seminary, He was released from his vows and further advancement to ordination. This memoir shares his experiences in the US Army, from Basic Combat Training to infantry advanced training to Infantry Officer Candidate school.

It was at Officers Candidate School where he faced the hardest decision of his life to make—to become a non-combatant conscientious objector, risking the Army’s punishment and imprisonment for that decision. Surviving the Army’s systematic punishment (“the Treatment”) during the long months of waiting for a decision in his case, he defied the will of his family, the demands of his church, and faced criminal charges by the US Army.

Eventually, he was sent to Vietnam as a Conscientious Objector, where he dealt with more Army discrimination, the hazards of war, and found ways to connect with the Vietnamese people.