Where’s The Dune Buggy From My Recruitment Video?
When I was 17 years old I walked into my recruiter’s office and was shown a series of recruitment videos that could have only been made by Michael Bay.
Before I go any further, let me be clear- one’s reasoning for joining the Army shouldn’t be for wanting to look like a badass or because the video your recruiter did dupe you with looked cool. That said, if you show a 17 year old a video of a dune buggy jumping a dirt pile with an M2 on top, he’s going to be pretty pissed off when he realizes they’re not in his unit’s motor pool.
Conversely, it would be pretty off putting to show potential recruits what garrison life really is- police calls, motor pool Mondays, standing around waiting for close out for way too long, but hey, that comes with the job.
All of that said, most of us can agree, at some point in our military careers, while doing something absolutely absurd we’ve damned our recruiter to hell. While there certainly wasn’t a gun to any of our heads when we signed, it’s a safe bet that not all military recruiters were completely truthful in their tales of life in the service.
And here within lies the problem- yes, you joined to do a job, so do it to the best of your ability, but that actual job may be vastly different than the one you get send to. Maybe if we focused less on Hollywood theatrics in videos and numbers and more on really trying to get our future warfighters to understand what they’re about to undertake, we wouldn’t have a military hemorrhaging soldiers.
Consider this, watching the video for MOS 68W (healthcare specialist) you see a clean emergency room with medics taking the pulse of a patient. The 2-minute video deems it important enough to state that “you’ll be trained in the sterilization and disposal of needles”. Sterilize needles. Because in choosing a job where you’re tasked with plugging the gunshot wound in a teammate’s chest and stabilizing him under fire, knowing you’ll learn how to sterilize a needle some day was the most important thing to mention.
We’re only hurting ourselves by maybe not lying, but not being completely truthful. If you’ve got a kid who wants to work in the medical field but knows he doesn’t have it in him to work in the field, guess what- that kid becomes (at least initially) pretty fucking useless to the unit he just got sent to who’s already downrange and on an OP.
Again I get it, and I do agree- you swore to protect America and to do a job so at the end of the day you’ve got to get it done, but sending a bunch of disillusioned teenagers to fight a war (I’ve heard stories of recruiters using “the war’s over there’s no way you’re going over there’” as a line) isn’t helping our cause, and it certainly won’t help with retention.
About the author: Andrew Farquharson is an Iraq Campaign veteran and an ex-cavalry scout currently living the dream in Newport, Rhode Island as a college student. Aside from writing for 11Bravos his hobbies include mountain climbing, shooting guns and convincing women they should date him. Comments or hate mail can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or, follow him on Instagram @Lord_Farquharson