One of these two men barreled into life a national servicemen, the other was more hesitant. Six decades later, they both call it an experience that defined them.
GETTING drafted into the national service came at a bad time for Ron Martin, he says as Australia prepares to mark a day devoted to remembering him and his fellow servicemen's contribution.
"I was called up in late October 1957 and I was married the next year on the eighth of February," he said.
"But anyhow, I got on the bus at the Bendigo Railway Station ... and from then on it started to come good."
Mr Martin was one of the many 18-year-old men who did compulsory military training in the 1950s as as Cold War tensions mounted and concerns grew about the Korean War.
These "Nashos" will be celebrated during National Servicemen's Day next week, along with a younger generation conscripted to fight in the Vietnam War.
From 1965 to 1972, 200 national servicemen were killed and 1279 wounded in Vietnam, triggering anti-conscription and anti-war demonstrations.
The National Service training of the 1950s also came with some controversy, even if those who took part were not sent to war.
The scheme was criticised by some at the time for being irrelevant to modern defence needs, since skills were becoming more important than numbers, according to the Australian War Memorial.
Some also argued the scheme diverted resources away from the regular army.
Jim Oliver remembers half the people he shared a tent with during training did not want to be there.
"One bloke about three tents up from me used to cry every night for the first two or three nights until he got used to it," Mr Oliver said.
"A lot of people came in who weren't prepared. Some had never been away from home."
Yet, Mr Oliver believes the experience shaped most of the boys who went for the better.
"I would think they all came out of it much more informed on life and what it was like," he said.
"They grew up. It was that old army saying that 'you go in as boys and come out as men'."
Many of those who served could not wait to join, including Mr Oliver.
"I was really keen because I was a Northcote High School lad. At the time it had a cadet unit and I loved that," he said.
Both he and Mr Martin went on to serve in the Citizens Military Force and would likely have kept going if not for mortgages and family life, which they wanted to prioritise.
"I might have felt a bit differently about it (national service) if we'd been sent to a war, but then again, I was trained for it and would have been ready to go," Mr Martin said.
Mr Oliver said the national service of the 1950s was preparing people for the real prospect of entering a war zone.
"Had the Korean War lasted any longer than it did, we would certainly have been involved," he said.
"It (experiencing training) straightened me out. I was pretty easy-going and it gave me a bit of an idea of what life was about.
"Those Pommy sergeants who were with us were strict but really good guys."
Mr Martin remembers being put on all-night duty after being caught having a pillow fight.
"I was out on guard duty all night. Gee, that guard duty was tough. It was out in the cold. You couldn't go to bed once daylight came," he said.
"You had to go straight on to your duties like everyone else, though they'd had a good might's sleep.
"But like I said, I thoroughly enjoyed those months of training."
Mr Martin trained with the Citizens Military Force in Bendigo. Twice a year he would head east to the Puckapunyal military base for a fortnight of training.
"It was the real stuff. Tanks would be letting rounds off into the hill, we would be laying mines and building bridges over the Goulburn River," he said.
Mr Oliver said the thing he missed the most were the friendships he made with people from as far away as southern New South Wales.
"I have a book of photos I show people when they ask about national service. Unfortunately, 90 per cent of the blokes in those photos are now deceased," he said.
"We were a brotherhood but when we got out of it we often lost touch. I regret now that I didn't pursue the friendships I made in the army."
There have periodically been calls for some sort of national service from some politicians since the 1970s, most recently by independent federal senator Jacqui Lambie.
She called last year for a parliamentary inquiry into conscripting young people to serve in the emergency services, boosting numbers and respond to climate change.
But the idea has lacked support from other parliamentarians.
Mr Oliver believes drafting people into army units, at least, would be very different today.
"In the old days we could be punished by being put in the clink or on all-night duty. You couldn't do that to people nowadays, I don't think," he said.
"It probably could work but it would be very different to how we did it."
Compulsory national service is an idea that still resonates with many of those who did it in the 1950s, former national serviceman Alan Constable said.
He says it can help teach young people discipline, but he also believes Australia can never truly rule out needing conscription in a future military campaign.
"It could be that we need an enlistment like we had in the Second World War," Mr Constable said.
Conscription was used in World War Two after parliament passed a 1943 bill compelling people to serve in the "south-west zone" with the Citizens Military Forces, which covered Australia, all of New Guinea and its surrounding islands.
It was not used in World War One, despite referendums in 1916 and 1917.
"I might have felt a bit differently about it if we'd been sent to a war, but then again, I was trained for it and would have been ready to go."Ron Martin, former National Serviceman
That could come with its own risks, which militaries around the world had learned during both conflicts.
"In those days some people were only trained for three or four weeks before they were out at the front, which was not good," Mr Constable said.
The idea of a draft conflicted him to some extent.
He would not mind seeing a bigger army so that more boots could hit the ground in national emergencies like the current bushfire crisis, which has seen army reservists deployed to communities.
And Australia's standing military is now so small that it would need to rely on the United States for help if it ever needed to defend itself like it did in World War Two, Mr Constable said.
Yet the costs of military service could be high even for people who volunteered.
"I pity the younger ones who go off to war. The things they are fighting for now are, let's face it, bloody senseless, but we have got to support them," Mr Constable said.
"A lot of them are coming back traumatised and it's a shocking situation."