The duty of an ‘influencer’

When students asked his advice about military service advice about military service, The Ed Wonk, a veteran himself, used to encourage them to enlist. Now he’s not so sure.

. . . to advise students to enlist in order to go into battle and possibly be injured or killed when our own government doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do over there would be disingenuous on my part.

So… for the time being, I’m sad to say that I’ll no longer be able to say, “yes!” without hesitation when asked by students about serving in our military.

From this point forward, I’ll have to say, “I don’t know. Please talk it over with your parents.”

Being an “influencer” is a heavy responsibility.

The Army missed its recruiting goals for May and June but remains ahead of its targets for the year. Recruiters report parents are less likely to let their 17-year-olds enlist. Recruiters also are spending more time trying to slim down overweight youths who want to enlist.

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  1. Even when I DO recommend the military to one of my students, I’m careful to tell them the pros (Anyone says “chickenhawk,” you can spit in his eye) and cons (You could get killed, or worse yet, passed over for promotion). This goes double for the ones who are already in ROTC; not every 2nd lieutenant needs to start from zero. The single most important advice: joining the armed forces is utterly serious; there are NO do-overs, and major mistakes have major consequences.

  2. mike from oregon says:

    Actually it is a VERY viable option. When you sign up you sign up for your CHOICE of what career path you want to take. Infantry is one of the options but not the ONLY one by any stretch of the imagination. My daughter came to me and asked if she could join. While I didn’t relish the thought of having her in any kind of war, it was one of the few times that SHE had come up with the idea totally on her own. I was amazed at all the career paths that there are in the Army. Well over 100 that will keep you out of harm’s way while still teaching you skills. My daughter will be a Human Resources Specialist. If she doesn’t make it through her AIT (advanced individual training) she will have the choice of either leaving the Army or choosing another career within the Army. The old days of “You flunked, here is a rifle, there is the front” are gone. She is presently in Basic training and I’m proud as proud can be of her.

    She is doing something and learning things that would do many (a majority) of young people good to learn. Mike Anderson IS correct when he says that major mistakes have major consequences – but that is another thing that far too many of our young don’t have a clue about. She will come out (if she wishes) at the end of four years with experience under her belt which will put her into a job starting at $40K a year, no problem. She will also have the GI Bill and an educational fund (for college) of over $70K.

    We are presently looking at the service as an option for my older daughter who is basically just wasting time and space at this point in her life (GED and nothing more, no desire, no ambition, no ideas).

    The service is a great place to get your head on straight and get prepared for life. As for do-overs, not necessarily true. I personally know of one recruit that got to boot camp and within 5 hours said “I quit” and was on a plane home and out of the Army by the next day. It’s not like the old days.

  3. BadaBing says:

    You don’t have to answer yes or no. I tell them that enlisting in the US Air Force was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and leave it at that. Considering all the bad decisions I’ve made, having signed up keeps looking better and better as the years roll by.