Flying back home after six months in Afghanistan, Col. Stephanie Gradford said she had a conversation with a man who had no idea there were U.S. troops still there; she said it showed her the disconnect between the general public and the military.
Speaking at William and Mary for a Symposium on the All-Volunteer Force, Gradford said she supports a form of "universal service" where every citizen would serve in the military.
She doesn't spend much time trying to figure out why volunteers choose the military.
"I don't really think it matters," she said. "It's kind of like church. As long as you get there, that's the end goal."