Jan 6, 2009
Military Recruiting Today
Lost in the noise of the football games this weekend was an announcement that the Marine Corps is three (3 !!) years ahead of its recruiting schedule.
When President Bush announced “the Surge” two years ago, he also ordered the four services to increase their manpower, with the Marine Corps growing from 177,000 to 202,000. The Pentagon estimated that it would take the Marines 5 years to do so, at an unheard of rate of finding 5,000 recruits annually. The Army (told to increase their size by 65,000) and other services were also tasked to increase, but warned gloomily that “wartime conditions” would make meeting even their old recruiting standards impossible. Well, recruiting in the same ugly 'wartime conditions', the Marine Corps hit 200,000 last month.
Perhaps it’s not the “wartime conditions” that makes young American men and women reluctant to join the other services, but what those services offer?
Look at the recruiting advertisements on television. When was the last time you even saw a Navy or Air Force advertisement? Only recently did the Army even drop their “an Army of one” campaign…when I’m embedded, the last thing I want to be out there is alone…maybe our young 17-18 year olds feel the same? And accepting felons ? And forget a high school diploma or even a G.E.D…now the Army will take kids without even a GED…they refer to these dropouts as having an “alternative education.” Who’d want to go out into combat with them?
All four services offer the same bonus plans, the same pay scales. Yet as the Marine Corps gets the dirty jobs (winning Anbar Province) as Air Farce deployments only last three months - Marine recruiting still sets records monthly.
Let’s look at the Marine Corps advertisements…over the years, they don’t change. It’s “Honor – Courage – Commitment” – if you’re good enough to be accepted. Forget the Army promising to teach you how to drive a truck, or the Navy teaching you repair skills….Marine ads show old photos of Iwo Jima, Chosin Reservoir, and Vietnam…now here is something of which a young man can be proud.
Maybe thats the message for which these young men and women are searching; life is too easy these days – what does one do to differentiate him-or-herself from the boring pack? The Marine Corps has an answer: stretch yourself…become a part of something larger and more important than yourself…be part of a tradition of fierce excellence that earns you worldwide respect for the rest of your life.
It's like Brig Gen Robert Milstead, head of Marine Corps Recruiting Command said this weekend “kids don’t join the Marines because they’re tired of flipping burgers; they join because they want to be Marines.”
Well done, Gentlemen, and Semper Fi.