Did The Us Force Military Recruitment For The Vietnam War – Sgt. First Class Dustin Comes, who directs a recruiting station in Colorado Springs, said the high schools with the most military families are the biggest producers of recruits.
COLORADO SPRINGS – The sergeant in charge of one of Colorado’s busiest military research centers, Sgt. First Class Dustin Comes, joined the Army, in part, because his father served. Now two of his four children say they want to serve too. And he wouldn’t be surprised if the other two made the same decision when they were a little older.
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Did The Us Force Military Recruitment For The Vietnam War
“Hey, if that’s your call, I’d definitely encourage it,” said Sergeant Comes, who wore a sword-shaped patch on his camouflage uniform, signifying that he was in combat.
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Enlisting, he said, allowed him to build a good life where, despite years of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, he was proud of his job, had great benefits, didn’t worry about being fired, and made money. enough for his wife to stay at home. raise their children.
Soldiers like him make the United States military a family business. The men and women who are enlisting are from the southern region and scattered communities at the gates of military bases such as Colorado Springs, which sits near Fort Carson and several Air Force installations. , and there is a tradition of military service. rooted.
More and more, the new baby is the baby of the old. In 2019, 79 percent of military personnel reported having a family member who served. For nearly 30 percent, it’s a parent – an alarming point in a country where less than 1 percent of the population serves in the military.
The Powers Recruiting Station in Colorado Springs. In 2019, 79 percent of new military recruits reported having a family member who served. Credit… Theo Stroomer for The New York Times
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For years, military leaders have sounded the alarm about the growing gap between communities that serve and those that don’t, warning that reliance on a few areas that produce reliable soldiers is not sustainable, especially now in the midst of tensions with Iran.
“The military-civilian divide continues to grow in our ability to recruit and sustain forces,” Anthony M. Kurta, under secretary of defense for manpower and readiness, told of the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service last year. “This determination is characterized by misconceptions, lack of knowledge and inability to communicate with those who serve. This threatens our ability to recruit quality young people with the skills needed to sustain our interests. “
It has certainly lost its luster in two decades of intense fighting. The patriotic urge to enlist waned after the terrorist attacks of 2001. For a generation, enlisting has been a sure-fire strain for troops and families, but nothing like victory. . But the military families who have borne almost all the burdens, and are most clear about the dangers of war, are still Americans who encourage their sons and daughters to join.
With a goal of recruiting about 68,000 soldiers by 2020, the Army is now trying to broaden its appeal beyond the traditional recruiting pool. New trades hold future jobs in medicine and technology, as well as generous tuition benefits for a generation saddled with student debt. The message often notes that most of the army’s work is not on the battlefield.
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But today, the rate of military service in the United States remains unequal, and the gap may continue to widen because a major determinant of enlistment is whether a young person knows someone who has served in the military. In popular communities, teachers, coaches, mothers, uncles and other mentors often steer young people into military service. In communities where veterans are scarce, influential adults are more cautious.
This created a large gap, easily visible on the map. The South, with its culture of military service and heavy military deployments, is producing 20 percent more workers than expected, based on its young population. States in the Northeast, which have fewer military bases and lower percentages of veterans, produce 20 percent less.
Big assumptions are not based on class or race. The Army’s data shows the service is broadly distributed through medium and “low” units. Youth unemployment appears not to be the primary cause. And the racial composition of the force is consistent with that of American youth in general, although African-Americans are more likely to serve. Instead, the best guess is that people know the military.
“Those who understand military life are more likely to consider it as a career option than those who don’t,” said Kelli Bland, a spokeswoman for the Army Personnel Command.
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This distinction has created glaring differences of opinion across the country. In 2019, Fayetteville, NC, home to Fort Bragg, awarded twice as many military contracts as Manhattan, even though Manhattan has eight times the population. Many of the new contracts in Fayetteville were enlisted soldiers for their second and third enlistments.
This was not always the case. Military service once spread gradually – at least geographically – throughout the country due to planning. But when the draft ended in 1973, enrollment moved south of the Mason-Dixon line. The military’s decision to close several bases in the Northern states where training takes place during the long winter has accelerated the trend.
Today, students growing up in the military community are increasingly exposed to service people. Mothers pick up their children from daycare in flight suits. The father attends the fourth grade party in camouflage. High schools often have a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program where students wear uniforms to class once a week and can earn credit for courses in science, leadership and health. through the military system.
Many schools encourage students to take the military aptitude test, the ASVAB, in the same way that students across the country are encouraged to take the SAT.
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That exposure during school is one of the strongest predictors of enrollment rates, according to a 2018 report by the Institute for Defense Analyses.
In Colorado Springs, high schools with the most military families are the biggest recruiters, Sergeant Comes said, adding that parents know about military camaraderie, stability and health, education and drinking. milk often brings the child to the child. office and encourage them to join.
“We just told them our story: ‘There I was, one of six kids living in a trailer. I’m here today.’ Good pay. It’s a big advantage,” he said, adding that even in economic times, sales are easy. Her workplace met her goal this month.
His biggest challenge is finding recruits before recruits from the Air Force, Navy and Marines, who work in the same fertile area, arrive.
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In Los Angeles, an area defined by liberal politics where many families are concerned about the military, the Army is struggling to gain admission to high schools. By law, schools must allow recruiters on campus once a semester, but administrators tightly control when and how recruiters can interact with students. “The access is very small,” said Lt. Col. Tameka Wilson, station commander of the Los Angeles Recruiting Battalion.
In 2019, the military stepped up recruitment efforts in 22 liberal-leaning cities like Los Angeles. In that, Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy visited officials from the Los Angeles Unified School District in December to push for more access.
“He went on a listening tour,” said Patricia Heideman, who oversees high school education for the school district and said there is a perception that troopers are targeting troubled students. “I told him from an educator’s perspective, sometimes we feel like we’re targeting black and brown students and students from poverty,” she said. And so they are less likely to push for registration.
Recognizing that it could not handle the number of recruits relying solely on the Southern community and the military, the Army tried to broaden its appeal. Social media ads offer less of the grunt and grunt messages of decades past. Instead, they benefit from college and job training in the fields of medicine and technology.
United States Army Basic Training
“I’ve always been itching to get into the military and be good,” said Brett Dollar, a Colorado police officer who is joining the force.
Even within the same state, there are huge differences in how society views military service. Colorado Springs produced 29 times more enrollment in 2019 than nearby Boulder, a liberal college town.
“I grew up in Boulder, and I was drawn to the military but it wasn’t just in the culture, or my family,” said Brett Dollar, who now lives in Fort Collins, Colo. “It wasn’t about ‘What do you want.’ done when high
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