Would You Join the Military Today?

The war in Iraq has hampered military recruiting efforts for men and women nationwide. The Army has fell short of it’s recruitment goal for 2005. Every time I turn on the TV there’s a recruitment commerical for the Army and what’s interesting is that many of them feature black and Hispanic young men trying to convince their mothers that joining the Army is good for them. The recruiters for the Army have targeted minorities heavily because there are less of them joining up. Support in the black communities for the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan is less supportive than other racial group. During the Vietnam Conflict (it was never a declared war), blacks outnumbered whites almost 2 to 1 (see update below). Many of those veterans have told the younger generation not to join the military because of the mistreratment of Vietnam Vets after the conflict. Another fact that needs consideration is that those who are joining are from areas where unemployment is above the national average and that the military is the only hope for them.

More parents are requesting their school districts to opt out of a provision in the “No Child Left Behind” Act which permits the military to recruit potential recruitees as young as eleven.

A Vietnam Vet from Duluth, Minnesota is doing his part in making those aware of the grim facts of the current conflict we are engaged in. Scott Cameron made a tally board which he keeps track of the days we have been in Iraq, the deaths and injures of our soldiers over in Iraq. What would happen if these tally boards were placed near recruiting stations across the country? Would recruiting decline even futher?

Lastly, Congressmen John Murtha, a decorated Vietnam Veteran. who orginially supported the military action in Iraq and now wants the troops home in six months has said that even he would not want to join the military today.

Knowing that I would more than likely be sent to Iraq is encouragement enough not to join!

Reader comment: A Vietnam Vet corrected the blacks outnumbering whites assertion (which is wrong). Here’s the statistics:

88.4% of the men who actually served in Vietnam were Caucasian, 10.6% (275,000) were black; 1% listed as others.
86.3% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasian (includes Hispanics); 12.5% (7,241) were black; 1.2% belonged to other races.

  1. I wonder if the statistics have changes (racially) over the last 30+ years? I bet it has… growing up in pre-dominantly minority based areas I remember plenty of recruiters. In this metropolitan area I do know that the majority of the recruitment centers are in less than “posh” areas…

  2. Living in Cleveland (one of the poorer cities in the U.S.) I am hesitant to say that those living in poverty are predominantly black. I think the misconception over the years has come from people’s view of the opposite end, where whites hold an inordinate percentage of wealth.

    As for recruiting in poorer neighborhoods, they may have more success there, but I do know there’s a USMC recruiting office across the street from Sony Pictures Studios in LA (Culver City).

  3. I personally know of someone who resigned his commission as an Army officer because he opposed this “war” in Iraq.

    If I was still active I would have suffered the consequences and opposed going to Iraq or anywhere else they decided to send me.

    Suffering the consequences… something the Bush administration has the luxury of ignoring. A soldier who breaks the rules… refuses to fight in a conflict said by many to be “unConstitutional” and he can be thrown in prison or booted with a dishonorable discharge.

    The upper ranks all they way to President break the rules and nothing happens. Some people even get awarded or promoted for their failures.

    I think I see why recruitment can be tough right now.

    If our freedom were ever really in jeopardy, I would bet that you would have to “take a number” and wait in line to sign-up… I’d do it for free.

  4. Having never served personally, I rely on stories from many family members who have. Among them are mixed feelings about our war on terror and our occupation of Iraq. Most have said that they would not go back in now and for this. It is clear, though, every single one of the former Marines in my family would re-enlist-for just cause- to defend America and her freedoms.
    It is funny that things have changed so much. It used to be a noble thing for the wealthy elite to join the military. You don’t see so much of that anymore. The elite now make wars for the other classes to fight. While they cloud our vision with doom and gloom, they chip away at our freedoms. I think that Madison summed it nicely, “Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged against provisions against danger, real or pretended from abroad.”

  5. As for recruiting in poorer neighborhoods, they may have more success there, but I do know there’s a USMC recruiting office across the street from Sony Pictures Studios in LA (Culver City).

    Gotta get them Democrat officers from somewhere to send to west point. :-b

  6. It seems funny, but the Army (and maybe Marine Corps) are suffering for a lack of recruitment, but the Navy and Air Force are actually trying to reduce the size of their forces, even though they are meeting recruitment goals. I think this is because the Navy and Air Force are seen as safe, modern serivces where as the Army and Marines are in the middle of the action.
    In my mind this is great opportunity for the military to really have to learn the price at which young men and women will enlist especially in a time of conflict. There is a price but I don’t think that its the Montgomery G.I. Bill (money for college) anymore. In fact, the Army doesn’t seem to have a good reputation for educating its troops with usable skills. It also has a look of living in the mud and dirt, not exactly the “clean” image that appeals to generation Y. While service to country is nice, the truth is in the opportunity costs. And while the action is scaring off some, image might be detering even more.

  7. Navy… on a boat way away from the action merely having to worry about mines? Perhaps bad weather at sea… The bermuda triangle… methan gas pockets… oh my!

    Air Force… no boats… no forward ground troups… airplanes… bombs… missiles… “on-base maintenance”… cool!

    I can see your point… the Air Force is also regarded as the cream of the crop at this point by many small business owners around here in terms of resume’s.

  8. Chris,

    If people placed such tally sheets near recruiting stations, they’d probably outlaw the practice. But what a great freaking idea!

    If I had it to do over, my first choice.
    Not too bad but hard to get a promotion because of the competition and longevity. High rate of re-enlistment.
    If the draft is ever cranked up again, join the navy. Chances of being in direct harms way very low. If on a ship, away from home more than any other branch of service.
    Mud and guts. During war, promotions thrown around like candy in a parade if one can avoid death or being wounded.
    What can one say? My favorite branch although I was army infantry. Nothing but mud, guts, wall to wall training, low pay and difficulty in getting promoted. I love those guys for their dedication.

    I salute all of them. They are all are a special breed of citizens.