I look at my 17-year-old brother and wonder what it was like for other 17-year-olds being shipped out in WWII,
Indeed. My late father was 20 in 1939. He joined the air force and flew reconaissance,as a navigator ,in Lancasters. (England Egypt, India) The war destroyed him.
Worth noting that the average age of the boys who died in WW2 and Vietnam was 19.
In war cynical old men send gormless young men to kill other gormless young men from foreign countries. ("gormless young men" is a redundant phrase)