Creative Destruction

December 12, 2006

Army Recruiting

Filed under: Content-lite,Personal Ramblings — Brutus @ 8:59 pm

I was at the mall earlier today and stopped by to speak with a couple Army recruiters. No one else was stepping up to speak with them, so I didn’t feel as though I would be intruding. The two fellows were young, probably late 20s, and quite respectful, calling me sir (though simultaneously scanning the crowd for eye contact or button-holing). Looking at me, I suspect they knew they would get no traction because I’m too old to enlist (I learned the cut-off age is 42, recently raised from 40).

They said they couldn’t speak for other branches of the military but insisted that in joining the Army, recruits could choose their own “jobs,” and as long as they passed through training without undue difficulty, would be happily ensconced in that role, presumably away from a vulnerable combat position. Helicopter pilot and military police were apparently the most sought after “jobs.” Interestingly, they reported that a fair number of interested young men couldn’t handle the skills necessary to obtain a fairly routine technical job, such as computer operator or aircraft maintenance specialist. At no point did they mention whether recruits who failed to qualify for safe “jobs” got recycled into the combat infantry pool, and I was too polite to ask the question directly.

I was also interested to learn that in the recruitment process, they have to be very clear that the Army isn’t like a video game where “players” get to go on a rampage and kill baddies. Apparently, there a fairly commonplace logical disconnect among a lot of young men that being in the Army gives you impunity to wreak mayhem and that that would be a cool thing to do.

I’m holding back on predictable (for me, anyway) spin and commentary and simply reporting what I learned in a brief encounter with Army recruiters. There was no controversy or rancor in my enchange with them, and I am not trolling for any now.

3 Comments »

  1. Very interesting. The Army promotional information I’ve seen does not reference fighting at all, as far as I can see. Rather they make it look like it’s all exciting helicopter flights, exciting driving down unmetaled tracks in four-by-fours, and hard but exciting physical training. It’s rough, tough be-a-man stuff, but above all, it’s exciting.

    I’ve also heard the following (don’t recall where). This comes under the category of “important if true”:

    In the US army, at a late point in their training, the recruits are all sat down, and told to think about honesty and integrity, and the need to answer truthfully. Then they are asked to put up their hands if they have ever taken illegal drugs.

    Any who answer yes are told that they have failed the training, but if they will accept the job they are given, the Army will allow them in anyway.

    Cool fraud, if it is true.

    Comment by Daran — December 12, 2006 @ 11:18 pm | Reply

  2. Good observations, Daran. My first question speaking with the recruiters was whether the have difficulty recruiting considering there is a war on and the likelihood of being deployed in a war zone is high. So some recruits want to be Duke Nuke ‘Em (that probably dates me), whereas the recruiters assiduously avoid mentioning fighting. That’s why I kept using the word “jobs” in quotes.

    Comment by Brutus — December 13, 2006 @ 2:46 am | Reply

  3. They said they couldn’t speak for other branches of the military but insisted that in joining the Army, recruits could choose their own “jobs,” and as long as they passed through training without undue difficulty, would be happily ensconced in that role, presumably away from a vulnerable combat position.

    Bollocks. Check this out, especially #1 and #3. http://usmilitary.about.com/od/joiningthemilitary/a/recruiterlies.htm

    Comment by ebbtide — December 13, 2006 @ 9:26 pm | Reply


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