I haven't served myself, but there's a story about my grandfather that makes me appreciate random people. He was standing in the landing boat for the first (or second?) wave on D-Day along with the US troops. Suddenly an US army private next to him said "Hey! You! They just called your name on the loud speaker, you're going back". The commanders had decided to pull back most higher ranking officers. He was a colonel and was among those called back.
Him and his 7 brothers were all involved in resistance activity in Norway during the war. They were tipped off that the Germans were coming for them, so they started rowing towards Britain. Those who decided to leave the country were picked up by a British navy cruiser, brought back to the UK and enlisted in the first class of Norwegian soldiers to receive further training by the UK army in London. Those who decided not to were for the most part captured and sent to concentration camps. One of them was sent to Auschwitz and spent 4 years there, sharing bed with a famous Norwegian author who later wrote about his experiences in Auschwitz.
Oh, and fun notes: during the 1980s (I think it was?) they found a buried Colt M1911 right by our house. It had belonged to a Norwegian resistance fighter and had been delivered as part of supply drops by British troops during the early years of the occupation of Norway to keep the resistance going. Also, the corner of our roof was shot off when a Messerschmitt ME-109 opened fire on a Norwegian army patrol on the local road during the invasion of Norway.
My other grandfather also served in the Norwegian army, though a little later as he was 11 years old when WW2 started. He served in the Berlin-battalion (a battalion to garrison West-Berlin as it was surrounded by the Soviet) for a couple of years. On one occasion he was being transported back to Frankfurt airport in order to be flown back into West-Berlin when they received an emergency radio call from American troops in the vicinity. They had been spotted entering an artillery target practice area, and their current location was designated for .105 Howitzers precision training at the time of them passing through. The drill was aborted just before they started dropping .105 shells on my second grandfather.
There were in other words two occasions where the intervention of "a random guy" saved my grandfather's life and therefore made it so that I am here today.
Today 3 of my cousins are enlisted in the Norwegian forces. One of them is a paratrooper, the other is a stormtrooper teamed up with APCs in order to protect them by "being a meat shield" as he explains it. My last cousin has recently been the captain of a submarine but has recently been promoted to navigator of the Norwegian King's ship, in addition to being his personal escort by driving the King's 2-man vacation boat when he wishes to drive around the bay outside Norway's capitol.
In other words; there's a lot of military history running through my veins. I did however decide not to enlist into the armed forces personally.
You smell that? Napalm, son. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It smells like... victory!
- Colonel Kilgore (1st Air Cavalry), 'Apocalypse Now!'