12. March 2006 · Comments Off on Harsh reality · Categories: General, GWOT

Sometimes we have parents who call into the recruiting station looking to get their children into the military. Sometimes the parents has a genuine concern for their child and feel that the military (Army in my case) will allow their child to better achieve their goals than any other option. Sometimes though you get the parents who just want their little demon to be someone elses problem. Those parents can make for some of the more… entertaining… moments in a recruiter’s day.

I mention this because of a story my lovely wife pointed out to me this morning. I can’t speak for the nation as a whole. For all I know once your cross into Pacific or Central time zones the 18-24 age group stops being a gaggle of fat, stupid, criminals, working on their GED with two too many children at home. I exagerate the problem, but not by much. For the recruiter on the street there are very slim, qualified, pickings. Prospects and their parents often don’t realize how tough it can be to get into the military.

It always rankles my chain when an applicant or an influencer remarks “What do you mean you can’t take Skippy (me)? We’re at war. Thought y’all were letting anyone in.” I think it’s remnant of the “Go to war, go to jail” era. For some reason the military has done a very, very poor job of communicating the concept that we are a very professional force. A professional force that only succeeds because we focus on accepting the best. Don’t get me wrong, the Army will take someone who is less than the best. Low ASVAB scores, law violations, etc. However they are few and far between, and do go through an involved screening process. I’m sure most of the writers on this blog can thing of plenty of people who made them wonder just what happened to procurement standards. Like a cover charge at a bar, the enlistment standards keep most of the trash out, not all of it.

By the way, those reading this should know that I’m a very stream-of-conscious writer. I do have a point, but I sometimes lose it and take a paragraph to find it again.

Anyways, this past week one of my fellow recruiters had to deliver some very harsh news to a mother. The news being that her sone was ineligible to enlist. Seems that Skippy had picked up a couple DUIs and assorted minor in possession of alcohol charges. By themselves these would have been problematic. However, Skippy had failed to pay some fines, missed some court dates, and actually had a warrant issued for his arrest. Mom knew none of this. So she wasn’t too happy that her couch-potato, booze-hound son was going to remain her problem for the forseeable future. We were also visited in the station by a father, with his sone, who wasn’t thrilled to learn that his son’s domestic violence charge, and irritable bowel syndrome, were going to keep him at home, and not in boots.

Thinking this over, and seeing the trends in numbers makes me curious. What will end the all-vounteer force first? The war or demographics?

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