McClatchy; Is the no-draft military creating a warrior class?

| January 2, 2013 | 86 Comments

McClatchy writer, Matthew Schofield, in a hand wringing piece in the Stars & Stripes, contemplates the all-volunteer military and worries that we’re creating a warrior class and a government which doesn’t feel repercussions from sending warriors to the field.

In the wide halls of the Pentagon, the military often is referred to as “the world’s largest family business.” The fear among some military leaders, politicians and experts begins with the belief that as fewer segments of society have family or friends in uniform, others become desensitized to the risks and stresses of military service. The feared risks range from a reluctance to fully support those who serve to an almost cavalier willingness to wage war, reasoning, “That’s what THEY signed up for.”

Historically, problems with such classes have ranged from the military having too much influence in all walks of society — Prussian officers collected taxes — to being marginalized, as with the so-called “barbarization” of the Roman military, which relied heavily on non-Romans.

Yeah, well, we don’t collect taxes and we’re Americans fighting for our country, so your historical references are empty. The real problem isn’t us. It’s the same problem the rest of the country has – it’s the culture. Teachers in schools tell their students that somehow military service isn’t a way forward in their lives. They demean the life, mostly because they don’t understand it either. That educator class which has no experience outside of academia, never worked during summer months, but act like they know everything.

Journalists and politicians like John Kerry (Halp us John Cary) have no problem propagating the myth that the folks who join the military are taking the only route available to them because we’re all miserable failures. And in a culture which touts success, somehow that doesn’t resonate with today’s youths.

Yeah, military service is a “family business” because most of us have parents and grandparents who have served and we can filter out the cultural bullshit. On another forum which I participated years ago, I had some bonehead hippie turd try to convince me that because he was so smart, recruiters didn’t want to even talk to him, let alone recruit him. Such are the misconceptions of the types of people who join the military.

One of my workmates complained that he’d been beat out of a government job because of a “10-point” veteran and he couldn’t figure out why employers put such a heavy significance on military service. Probably because folks who are hiring are learning the value of hiring vets despite the cultural bullshit.

Maybe it’s because “the best and the brightest” join the military and it’s society’s dregs who spend their hours figuring out who they should vote for in the latest “American Idol” competition and can’t get out of their own way. Maybe it’s not the military service that makes us better people, maybe it’s the other way around.

Category: Military issues

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Comments (87)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. If All You See… » Pirate's Cove | January 3, 2013
  1. TheDot says:

    Why do civilians with no connection to the military feel the need to EVER attempt to weigh in on anything military at all? Personally I think it’s because they realize they’re kept in a safe, bubble-wrapped society protected by much better men than they. They feel inferior. As the Ultimate Warrior would say, they’re “normals” and they know it.

  2. TheDot says:

    And what’s this guy’s plan? Reinstate the draft? I don’t want the guy next to me to be some bitter draftee who’s going to get me killed, and I DEFINITELY don’t want to listen to all the incessant whining that would come from the liberals used to unearned handouts.

  3. Jonn Lilyea says:

    I probably should have added a disclaimer; not all journalists are shitbags – some of them who haven’t served honestly do their best to understand us, some of them lurk here at TAH. And I can probably name a half dozen or so other writers who do good work for us.

  4. Virtual Insanity says:

    Grandpa Insanity made it to E-7 and retired.

    Papa Insanity to E-9 and retired. 2 of his 4 siblings served briefly.

    I made it to O-4 and retired. None of my 3 siblings served.

    Insanity Jr. is in law school and wants to be Army JAG. His sister works for the police department.

    What’s the problem with any of this? It’s not like we’re Spartans, creating some warrior caste to the exclusion of all other options from within or newcomers from without.

    All four of us (the Insanity men) married strong-willed women who were not in any way affiliated with the military. They were drawn to us, I suspect, by our natures.

    We are the ones who fight against the wussification of the American Male.

  5. OIF2 Vet says:

    @ Jonn, Too bad they aren’t the rank and file. Instead we have to put up with the sensationalist, agenda pushing, lack of integrity muck rakers like the ones who published the gun owner information.

  6. mike says:

    Actually I think the writer has a valid point. The problem is that they come up with ridiculous ways to solve it such as reinstating the draft.

  7. Virtual Insanity says:

    Mike–Doesn’t the increasing number of politicians with servie backgrounds take care of much of that problem, though?

  8. Virtual Insanity says:

    service. fat fingers.

  9. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    @7 Great idea, the only concern I have is that folks with no attachment to the military tend to pay lip service and not much else to the experienced service members.

    When we re-elect 95% of the turds in Congress that we claim to disapprove of by 90% to 10%…..well it doesn’t lend itself to getting a lot of new blood, military or otherwise, into the fairly shallow political gene pool…

    I sure would like to see more folks with service backgrounds replacing incumbents…and maybe the next mid-term elections will help me see that happen.

  10. mike says:

    I hope the increasing number of Vets moving into public office will help. I hope their example will lead others who consider themselves the “best and brightest” to give military or at least some form of non elected service a try. Hopefully the ones serving in public office with such experience (military, police, fire or hell even health and human services) will use their boots on the ground experience in actually carrying out politicians rules to make some that make sense. From the military perspective, hopefully they’ll make missions and training and funding match. But as long as people sit back and whine instead of doing anything, those of us who choose public/military service will become more and more isolated from the rest of society, especially the military branch of that service.

  11. Common Sense says:

    Schools are a bit hypocritical. On the one hand, they celebrate those who choose military service at graduation (or at least our local schools do) but most of the teachers desperately try to talk those same kids out of it in favor of college, any college. Most of my sons teachers reaction when he told them he was joining the Air Guard was “Why would you do that?”. They don’t have a clue about any other path other than school to college and back to school as teachers.

    And why would the left want a draft? They themselves are contemptuous of military service, just like the ski-bum type who spit on my son at Denver’s Parade of Lights. Fortunately for my son, and unfortunately for the creep, the cop nearby was prior Navy. Needless to say, said creep didn’t have a good weekend. Any lefties that claim to support the troops and not the war are full of sh*t.

    Oh, one more… my sister-in-law’s reaction to my daughter also joining the Guard was “why would you do that, you known they rape all the women”. An Obama support of course.

  12. AW1 Tim says:

    My family has always considered it an honor to serve. It stems from being raised in values that allow us to look around at our nation, at our community, and especially at our Constitution and say to ourselves “There is something here that is worth risking my life to protect, to defend.”

    For many, however, they never have that epiphany. Either because their family had no connection to the military, or, more likely, they attended public schools where civics, American history, honor, value and the foundations of our society and country are diminished, replaced by the ideals of victimhood, of repression, suppression, and regression.

  13. AW1 Tim says:

    FWIW, my teenage daughter has already made the decision to apply for the Army when she graduates from High School. She wants to be a Forensic Scientist, so her plan, as she told me, was to join the Army and become an MP. That would help her learn some of the judicial/police stuff, and then afterward, she’d have her GI Bill to pay for college to get that Forensics degree.

  14. JA says:

    Depending on location, some people never even SEE a Servicemember from one year to the next. We are concentrated in a few states and in remote corners of those often. Civil society is increasingly ignorant of anything to do with the Military. Will this turn us into tax-collecting Prussians or Barbarian Romans? Probably not. I think those are not the greatest historical examples. But it WILL have negative impacts. Including POSSIBLY:
    1) Leaders who don’t know about or care about Soldiers. Result: Mogadishu.
    2) Semi-permament Officer Class. Result: Balaclava
    3) A perception that Soldiers are (Duke of Wellingtonesque) Scum. Result: Read Kipling and/or Vietnam Homefront.

    The problem is that the cure can be worse than the disease. Except for rare exceptions, Conscript Armies suck. Professional Armies tend to win wars.

    I am not sure how to fix the problem. Possible solutions include a REVERSE BRAC program where we reopen bases where we don’t have many now. For example, New England has no Army or Marine bases and only very small Navy and Airforce Bases. I think CA only has one Marine base and that is in the middle of the desert. Basically the Military is based (like 75%) in Virginia, Georgia, Texas and North Carolina. This would also assist the National Guard.

    I think a military out of touch with society and a society out of touch with the military is a bad thing. If you go to an elite university and go into its “Memorial Hall” and most have one. You will see names listed on the wall of that university’s war dead. You will find (depending on geography and age) a huge number of names for the Civil War, about 1/3 as many for WWI, another really big chunk for World War II, and then just a smattering for everything after that. Vietnam will be maybe 5% of what WWII was and far less than even the Spanish American War. Everything else (GWOT, Dominica, Desert Storm, etc.) might be one or two names.

  15. Civilwarrior says:

    I don’t have time to read all of the comments on this story, but I have to throw my…five or six cents in. First off, I have been a teacher for 12 years; I served two enlistments on active duty in the 1980’s, but ETS’d to come home and be a father after a divorce. I then spent 21 years in the ARNG because I didn’t really want to get out, so I figured I’d continue to serve anyway I could. Just retired from that “experience” two years ago. Whe kids ask me about military service, I am very blunt and share with them the realities, yet more than once I have had kids ask me to accompnay them to see a recruiter, which I am proud to do. Incidentally, both of my sons are serving, one enlisted, one officr. The author of that article is an effing moron.

  16. Virtual Insanity says:

    Even if it is, to some extent, creating a Warrior Class,the military is still ultimately controlled by the civilians, and swears allegiance to the Constitution that sez it’s so.

    Are they worried about something like Starship Troopers (the book, not the crappy movie(s)), where the military takes over the governement and the only people who get to vote are those who have served?

  17. 77 11C20 says:

    Another problem also is the fact that as our country’s population increases the number of slots available for the military service has steadily decreased and the retention rate has also increased. This is allowing the military in theory get the more qualified person who wants to be there.

    As for the draft there is hope by some with it will increase the disgruntled person who did not want to be there in the first place. They want to have the optics of the demos of the Viet Nam era. It has not materialized as they had hoped over the last ten years.

    The difficulty with persons entering politics is that the pool is getting smaller for electing politicians who have served as the percentage with combat time has increased. Plus the costs stack against a returning vet.

    I agree for most the military is a family affair, I and my brother were third generation soldiers. The family goes farther back with the military but he received the Eisernes Kreuz on the Western Front.

    As for the next generation, my daughter was thinking of it, as well as going into law enforcement, also following the family, but she got her mother’s eyes and is officially blind as a bat without glasses. This makes her mother, being a mom, whose father passed away on leave while serving in the Navy through WW2, Korea and Viet Nam, very happy.

  18. Trent says:

    I lost some brain cells reading this tripe.

    First the elected officials worried that middle and lower income classes were dying in too great a number because of the draft for some land over in Southeast Asia. So they created the all volunteer Army. And after some growing pains and congressional inflicted wounds prior to going all volunteer (Project 100,000), it has become arguably one of the most successful programs ever.

    Now they worry that not enough people know the sacrifice of military service and that we will have a warrior caste. I have words for them. Shut the fuck up!

    Our entire military (active and reserves) are so diverse, much more so than ever in the history of this country. Sure maybe we don’t have Trump’s kid serving but virtually every other segment of society is represented somewhere in the military.

    Perhaps we should be wary of the political class that is currently being perpetuated. The Bushs’, the Clintons, the Gores just to name a few.

  19. Doc says:

    The author isn’t a moron… he is an employee of the stars and stripes… you are insulting morons… Teehee, I even heard a tale from a friend of a strips reporter being busted in Afghanistan with drugs within 9 hours of landing. I don’t know why DoD continues that farce of a paper like anyone even reads it. They should just take the Early Bird, throw a masthead on it and BAM, money saved.

  20. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    Today’s military is the best educated the country has ever had. You guys know your way around a library as well as a rifle range. I guess that means trouble.

  21. DaveO says:

    The article as a meme falls has a long history. Every generation sees this meme – do we have a Warrior Class – usually to upset the jack and jill garden-growers and get them to take away the Federal academies, strip the military, and so on.

    The answer is yes, Virginia, we do have a warrior class. We also have a class of officers that come from America’s Ruling Class (refer to Codevilla).

    The draft has not a damned thing to do with a Warrior Class. Ever since the Continental Army was disbanded and the militias dismissed, we have had a professional, standing Army. Starting first with the Regiment of Artillery and Engineers, which we later added infantry since the Queens always bitch.

    The draft is an ancient form of servitude/slavery, which is why Democrats and Prognazis love it so much. In the era when single shot/spear thrust/sword slash (pre-1860) required large levies to counteract marksmanship/superior fighting skills, the draft made sense.

    Occasionally, draftees do good things. When the Revolutionary French Army under later-Marshal Kellerman defeated the Prussian/Habsburg army at Valmy in 1792, folks got to thinking that draftees were great (in this case, Prussian canoneers just sucked).

    Sylvanus Thayer brought the intellectual justification to the US of A through his annual summer maneuvers, in which West Point cadets re-created the battles of Napoleon. Those same cadets, now generals in the Armies of Northern Virginia and of the Potomoc, convinced their prospectice politicos to go with drafts.

    I worked with draftees in Afghanistan – Afghani, American (VN vets) and European. Draftees suck. They are resentful. They take very short views on life. The Americans went from the slavery of the draft to the enjoying the free will of free men and enlisted or were commissioned. I have no love for the draft, and I understand its purpose is to reintroduce slavery in America.

  22. OWB says:

    One of the biggest problems that most of us normal people find when attempting to deal with libs is that when they learn something, they assume that no one else in the world has ever known it and it is their duty to educate the rest of us on their discovery.

    A lib has discovered that there is a “warrior class” and that the military contributes to it. Are you kidding me??

    Anyone here not understand that concept without additional schooling on it? Not to belabor the obvious, but the entire purpose of the military is to protect us. To do that you train warriors to do the job. The result is a group of people who can protect us. In other words, every society with an expectation of surviving more than 24 hours, purposely develops a warrior class to protect itself.

    Yeah, libtards, we kinda sorta knew that. But be all shocked, even outraged, if you must, that not everyone has any desire to whimper helplessly in mommy’s closet when life gets tough. There are quite a few of us willing to protect your ass while we are protecting our own. (As long as you stay out of the line of fire. If you don’t have sense enough to keep your head down, we can’t help you much.)

  23. kp32 says:

    The reason there is a Navy Operational Support Center (formerly Navy Reserve Center) in all 50 states and PR and Guam, is so that there is a connection maintained between the Citizens and the Sailors. The obvious alternative would be that the Navy Reserve would be isolated to the coasts (on the Navy Bases).

  24. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    Nicely said, OWB.

    I wonder if Scoop Schofield ever heard of WWII and the millions of draftees who served during that lttle conflict.

  25. MAJMike says:

    I taught high school for a total of 16 years. I always encouraged any of my student who were interested in a military career to explore every facet and be knowledgable before they visited a recruiter. I was a sponsor/booster of my school’s JROTC and had a most enjoyable time with the best and brightest kids on campus.

    Unfortunately, too many of my Lib-Cong collegues discouraged any interest in a military career.

  26. martinjmpr says:

    To be honest I didn’t find the article objectionable at all. I first read of this phenomenon in the 1980s in a book whose title I forget, but his term for the growing separate-ness and insularity of the military and civilians was “the great divorce.”

    I think the article raises some worthy issues but of course reinstating the draft (which we could never do even if we wanted to) is not a solution.

    For that matter, I think the thesis (which is that governments will be more likely to send soldiers off to war if they have little personal connection to them) has actually been shown to be false. Not only are countries with large conscript armies quite eager to send their sons off to die, but those who have a professional military actually appear to be much more reluctant to put those professionals into harms way (see, for example, Great Britain in the post-conscription era.)

    I think the primary reason for this is economic: Even with non-draftee professionals, wars and similar military operations are expensive and countries with small, professional militaries usually have lots of other things they’d rather spend their money on.

    Another point worth mentioning is that the current respected status of the military is pretty much a WWII phenomenon.

    Oh, sure there were brief interludes such as the Civil War and WWI when soldiers were hailed as heroes, but for most of the first century and a half of American history, the military was at best tolerated and at worst excoriated by polite society as the gutter dregs (enlisted) and/or small-minded, petty dictators (officers) and certainly not the proper career for a well bred young man from a good family.

  27. DaveO says:

    #26 martinjmpr,

    I disagree with one point: Americans did hail its military after Desert Storm.

    It ebbs and flows depending on a nation’s self-knowledge.

  28. Living in one of the more dense/intense Specop areas, (the Greater Eglin AFB area), I am quite insulated from those who would neuter the military. An added layer is that this is region is quite conservative, and all in all is very pro military. When I go in the Supermarket, the drug store, the big box stores, I can see duty uniforms in the aisles, as well as the wives and children of military who stand out from those who are not mil connected. We, as a Community, even have an annual event on Armed Forces Day called, MARC, (Military Appeciation Recognition Celebration), where every thing offered, cold drinks, BBQ dinners, even Boy Scout produced Fudge Brownies, are free to all. On the other hand, my state of birth Michigan has no active duty military installation. That is the sad opposite. We do have a Warrior Class,and I see it on the Right Shoulder Patches, on the CIBs on the uniforms, and on the “High and tight” haircuts in the local businesses. GOD bless our Warriors.

  29. Rabak Kabar says:

    Sadly with such a small percentage of Americans serving and the threat of the forces being cut even smaller, we can’t help but be a warrior class. However with all the social engineering going on to make room for someones next project the curerent military may have reached its zenith having to have so many billets for social experiments.
    If you follow Tuesdays with Claymore it’s easy to pick up on the other 51% that thinks the military is somehow neanderthal and less than cerebral. We are in for some tough years ahead.

  30. UpNorth says:

    @#14. “Professional Armies tend to win wars”. That accounts for a lot of the disconnect, JA. There are some in this country who don’t mind using the military, as long as no one really gets hurt and the U.S. doesn’t “win”. Witness “nation building” and “humanitarian missions”. As long as it’s just handing out food, helping to rebuild places, inoculations and free milk, it’s OK.
    Once the guns, jets, tanks and the like come out, it’s “baby killer”, “no blood for oil” and the rest of the garbage that a certain segment of the population is hung up on.

  31. fatcircles0311 says:

    Well he is correct. Less than 1% serves. Government does everything they can to marginalize the rights of our military or deny them their rights such as voting. We’ve been at war for over a decade and the average citizen isn’t invested nor impacted the least bit by it. “support the troops” has turned into frivolous bumper stickers and feel good gestures by civilians while they simultaneously vote for an administration that’s been taking a crap on the military, veterans, and their lives for 4 years.

    When politicians are literally criminally negligent when it deals with our law enforcement and military nobody holds them accountable because they don’t give a shit. Benghazi, Afghanistan going to hell right when Obama came in with his absurd roe’s, and the administration’s targeting of veterans as a threat to national security.

  32. Devtun says:

    @14

    Kalifornia has a dominant position in raw number of military installations…Yeah the state is a Democrat stronghold and maybe not the most hospitable to the military, but politicians know it brings in the federal $$$.

    Air Force Bases

    Beale Air Force Base
    Edwards Air Force Base
    Los Angeles Air Force Base
    March Air Reserve Base
    Travis Air Force Base
    Vandenberg Air Force Base

    Army Posts
    Fort Hunter Liggett – near Jolon
    Fort Irwin – north of Barstow
    Presidio of Monterey
    Sierra Army Depot – Herlong – closed Dec 2010

    Marine Bases
    Camp Pendleton Marine Base – north of Oceanside
    Miramar Air Station – San DIego
    Barstow Logistics Base
    Mountain Warfare Training Center – Pickel Meadow
    San Diego Recruit Depot
    Twentynine Palms Air Ground Combat Center

    Navy Bases
    China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station
    China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division
    Coronado Naval Amphibious Base – San Diego
    Coronado Naval Base – San Diego
    El Centro Naval Air Facility – west of El Centro
    Lemoore Naval Air Station – west of Lemoore
    Naval Postgraduate School – Monterey
    Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona Divison – Corona
    North Island Naval Air Station – San Diego
    Port Hueneme Construction Battalion Center
    Point Loma Naval Base – San Diego
    Point Mugu Naval Air Station – southeast of Port Hueneme
    San Diego Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center
    San Diego Naval Base
    Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station
    Ventura County Naval Base – south of Oxnard

  33. BooRadley says:

    Jonn- Quote in the first paragraph was stolen from the time magazine article from oct 2011- you wrote about it then- and I was reading it when Ethan left in November 2011. I don’t know who said it- but he said “it’s the family business and business is booming”. It’s a recycled story.

  34. Frank Golubski says:

    What? Not one mention in the S&S article of our 100+ year policy of overseas foreign interventionism? Should we simply continue to assume that WHENEVER US forces march across the globe, the cause is justified — i.e., that it ALWAYS entails actual defense against an actual aggressor? Or have we quit pretending that that’s even the case anymore?

    I will never see it in my lifetime, but America must adopt the Swiss system of armed neutrality. A large citizen militia — say 90% of able-bodied males (with pacifists/objectors serving in the medical corps) — with a small corp (i.e., the other 10%) of full-time professionals, all backed up by an official foreign policy of non-intervention.

    Otherwise, you get two choices: A warrior class, or conscription. And I don’t like the idea of either.

    (BTW, I am a vet: USAF jet engine mechanic, 1980-1984. And I once wanted my three sons to join “the real military” — i.e., the Army or the Marines. But our invasion of Iraq following 9/11, as well as our seemingly endless occupation of Afghanistan, have caused me to wise up. It truly saddens me that I had to counsel my sons AGAINST enlisting.)

  35. Dick says:

    My son, the one who graduated with a degree in accounting, decided the nation would be better served if he did his part for the country before he took a normal job. Now, I can’t see him ever taking a normal job as he’s grown to love the sea and intensity of the CIC. Meh… not bad coming from an old grunt.

  36. BooRadley says:

    I will add this- the “regular” world has changed so much that some of us want our kids to serve to learn a little “honor, courage and commitment”.

  37. USMCE8Ret says:

    The “Warrior Class”, I believe, stems in part from the nation’s youth who are brought up with strong values and emulate the men and women from our collective military histories – others out of necessity (better living, income, etc.). While on recruiting, I always made it a point to have the applicant take the DD Form 4 with him/her and read the back, because what’s on the back is VERY relavent and not too many youngsters understand it, let alone even read it. Most of the ones I dealt with were bright, articulate, had little or no history of service in their family background.

    I’ve seen some of the best and brightest young adults go on and do great things. Hell – we have young NCO’s in AFG making decisions that can have a strategic impact, and can garner either positive or negative world opinion, whereas a majority of their peers don’t know what it’s really like to work for a living, commit to something, and eek by day to day wondering what they’ve accomplished in life. I, for one, am a better person for having witnessed the caliber of youth I’ve seen today, their achievements, and having had the opportunity to serve with them.

    Matthew Schofield doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about – plain and simple.

  38. B Woodman says:

    #16 VI,
    I STILL think that Heinlein’s concept of the ultimate soldier-citizen is one of the best ideas for bringing this country back around to it’s former greatness.
    If you want to vote, you have to serve at least one term of (military) service, with an honorable discharge.
    And to all the trolls lurking out there who want to pounce and whimper about the “why” and “what about the handicapped” and “war and violence never solved anything” – – all I have to say is READ THE EFFIN’ BOOK. All your dummy questions will be answered within the covers of “Starship Troopers”

  39. Yep, I joined up to go to war and kill assholes in other countries…
    (no, not really.). We do need a professional Military and those with the balls to go kick ass once in awhile…

  40. Frank Golubski says:

    Yup, loots high talk about “honor” and “service” and “sacrifice.” Oh, and Heinlein, of course — “you don’t get to be a citizen unless you serve!”

    But not one word about considering the moral legitimacy of the wars they WILL send you to fight. About demanding a just foreign policy.

    “Ooo-RAH.” :eyeroll:

  41. teddy996 says:

    @40- Moral legitimacy means fuckall. Legality is what controls the “lawful orders” doctrine. If congress approves of the war, we fight it, because if it is approved by congress, it is therefore lawful.

    As far as establishing a “moraly legitimate” foreign policy- that’s for you civilians to sort out, Frank. Military members go where we’re told, when we’re told, and do what we’re told. We are not allowed to question those orders unless they violate the aforementioned litmus test for being “lawful”.

    But civilians, especially morally superior, smug ones like yourself, should be able to direct the nation’s foreign policy through contact with your representative’s office. After all, what the fuck are you doing with your time?

  42. DFK says:

    I think that it’s a symptom of an increasingly insular military culture. Civilians don’t understand what military life is like, what it’s about, or the full breadth of service the military provides. What they do see is increasingly packaged through the eyes of Hollywood, and biased media institutions that know about as much about the military as the people they’re marketing to do.

    Too many of these grotesque stereotypes go unchallenged because the civilian population is less likely to know a veteran personally than any time in the nation’s history. As the military continues to shrink in size, and the civilian population continues to grow, the military is going to be increasingly misunderstood as it becomes a smaller and smaller segment of the population. We’re 7% of the population and shrinking.

    If we assume this to be a problem, then there are many ways to fix it. Mandatory service is one way, it artificially bloats bloats the number of veterans in the community. However, many of us have misgivings that such a policy would water down the quality of troops, and as such put troops at risk. Those are valid concerns.

    The other option is for we, as veterans, to take a more proactive role in how we’re presented. We need to be open about our service. We need to make it so that when some teacher is trying to convince a kid in high school that joining the military is the last refuge of the dumb, poor, and maladjusted, that they can point to the neighbor down the street who served in the Army, and still managed to have a family, a career, and in general a life worthy of emulation. The time of silent service is passing by the wayside. That’s not to say that we be obnoxious about it, but it needs to be something we’re open about.

  43. Beretverde says:

    I served with some of the most outstanding soldiers ever… and low and behold… some were draftees!

  44. Detn8r says:

    AW1 Tim , I did not read all of the posts so I am not sure if this has been said. If your Daughter wants to join the Army and knows what carreer field she wants out of life (Forensics) then have her also check out the Army National Guard. She will get the experience as well as having her college paid for at the same time. It is a somewhat more college friendly atmosphere than going active right out of High School. She can also get her commission and go active after. Either way, it is good to hear young people thinking about their future in the work force instead of getting handouts. Wish her luck from me.

  45. USMCE8Ret says:

    AW1 Tim – what Detn8r said. The MP field should be the place to start (or close to it), that, as I recall, offers training for forensic related jobs. They have some pretty good skills progression schools, up through the FBI National Academy. Just make sure she doesn’t get roped into Personnel Identification and Recovery (Mortuary Affairs, if that’s what they still call it).

  46. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    @43 — Two of my drill instructors at Ft. Dix started out as draftees and stayed on…..they had served in Vietnam during the late 60s….

    I understand, and I believe the article stated the same, that a draft is not feasible to resolve the issue. I am curious what the solution might be when 99.3% of the population is not really invested in the .7% serving? A grateful nation is only grateful while it is expedient to do so, a regular reading of this site indicates there are rampant misunderstandings and perceptions about veterans. I suspect much of that has to do with the fact most people don’t know a veteran and aren’t really going to take the time to meet any so they believe what the media tells them, which isn’t positive all the time. How does that perception change? Sites like this aren’t educating the masses, the appeal of this site is that you can discuss these issues with like minded veterans. A site like this has little appeal to the 99.3% of the public (no offense intended I love the site, and spend a fair amount of time here as you can see).

    What mechanism do we then use to educate the masses on issues of relevance? Most people today seem far more interested in the sexual activity of the children of OJ’s dead lawyer than they do about the daily living conditions, logistical concerns and benefit issues of their military.

    I think the value of an article like this, it’s publication aside, is that maybe enough of these articles will at a minimum start some dialogue about this topic. Since civilians will continue to be the overseers of the military, an understanding of the nature of service life, and a respect for those who serve along with a commitment to honor the promises made to service members would be a good start.

  47. NHSparky says:

    We’re 7% of the population and shrinking.

    And if you’re under the age of 60, it’s far less than that. Yet it amazes me how many of the old stereotype (Army or jail, etc.) still exist.

    Oh, the stories I could tell from my recruiting days. But to make a minor point of correction, Jonn–some recruiters WERE intimidated by smart kids, and told me exactly that when I went to talk to them.

    Needless to say, they were among the less successful recruiters. However, one thing I DID find is that if you got a reasonably intelligent kid with his shit somewhat squared away (as much as a 17- or 18-year old kid can be) they are actually much more successful than the kid with the 31 AFQT or one who needed a shitload of waivers just to enlist. (duh.) Once they commit, they STAY committed.

    I came from a pretty conservative area, and even 30 years ago, the only teachers I had who were positive on the idea of me enlisting versus attending college were those who had actually served. I can’t imagine what it would be like in some libtard enclave.

  48. BooRadley says:

    My daughter- with three siblings enlisted- is still being actively discouraged from shipping USMC because of her “potential”. She’s a smart kid, top athlete ( rugby) but she is committed to serve. She plans to use the benefits she earns- for sure- but it’s only part if the plan. People who haven’t served do not get it. And I don’t know if I care if they do

  49. Twist says:

    You got one 21 year old who makes life and death decisions. Then you got another whose biggest decision is what kind of beer to drink on the weekend. How do you overcome the disconnect between those two?

  50. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    @49 Twist, that’s the key, I don’t think you can fix the disconnect at that age. There is nothing to cross reference for the kid who parties and spends his weekends doing dumb 4ss kid stuff….but 10-12 years later, when that party kid becomes a husband, or parent….you might have a shot of getting them to connect the dots regarding responsibility, you might.

    I don’t think there is an easy, or expedient answer. I think it’s great that right now the public still speaks highly of veterans, keeping that moving forward when budget cuts and competing interests struggle for tax dollars will be important. The value of a highly trained, professional military is a tangible benefit in deterrence and application of force in the national interest. Keeping the public and their duly elected leadership aware of that point will help veterans and service members.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *