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"Military intelligence" - volunteer vs. draft.......a couple of comments

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karlrschneider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-15-04 03:20 PM
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"Military intelligence" - volunteer vs. draft.......a couple of comments
This seems obvious to me, but I haven't noticed any discussion about it:
When the military is all volunteer, as it is now, there surely is a much higher percentage of enlistees who tend toward the lower intellectual levels (and of course many of them want to get the educational opportunities supposedly afforded) than there would be in a fairly-administered draft.

When I got into the ANG in the mid 60s (after a very long and worrisome wait in a long line...and for the same reasons Chimp did but lacking powerful friends in high places, I freely confess), a high percentage of us were already college educated. But I had many friends who weren't as lucky as I was...they ran out of deferments and went to Viet Nam as highly-educated grunts. Several came home lacking whatever it is that differentiates 'alive' from 'dead.'

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aden_nak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-15-04 03:23 PM
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1. That's the concept behind the Skills Draft.
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Dzimbowicz Donating Member (911 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-15-04 04:00 PM
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2. I had a conversation with an Army recruiter last Wednesday
Edited on Fri Oct-15-04 04:03 PM by Dzimbowicz
I am a high school teacher and our guidance department administered the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery in conjunction with the local military recruiters. The reason given was that it was a "free of cost" assessment battery of one's skills which could be used by the counselors. Well, to make everything as brief as possible, this is a valid reason. However, I noticed that the recruiters from the various branches ran the entire operation.

In my class I was scheduled to have twenty eleventh-graders, but only ten arrived (this was optional for the students). I was also assigned an Army recruiter to my room to help. During the test I asked him a few questions like, "So, how does it look, making your quota for new enlistees?" His answer was that his office received enough young people whom they did not have to turn away for various reasons. Many were enlisting for the educational opportunities: to learn a skill (they could not afford a tech school, etc., or for the GI Bill). I then asked him how many were actually asking for assignment to the Combat Arms so they could go to Iraq. He told me that although not many asked for this, they did encounter them.

The students from my school who enlist choose to do so for basically the same reasons as mentioned above. I know many of these young people and they are intelligent, hard-working and generally all-around good people. Although they are right out of high school, they do not have the college educations as per your experience, but they are well educated for their age group. There were those from our school who actually wanted to go to Iraq and chose the Marines; and came to talk to me because I have been a Marine. So, in summary, most of the people I have encountered who enter the military are not toward the lower intellectual end of the spectrum, but more from the lower economic end of the spectrum. However, each branch of the service does require a high school diploma to even be considered for eligibility for enlistment. But, then again, not all high school diplomas are the same.

I served in the Marines during the 1970s for the GI Bill and I am sure many things have changed since then. However, the intellectual levels of the volunteers with whom I served spanned the range from top to bottom. Once again, the primary reason for their volunteering was economic.
I do recall one guy who had a degree from Tulane (or at least he claimed) who was serving because he could not find a job. Could have been so? There was also the twenty-seven year old with a wife and three kids who had been a New Jersey longshoreman, but had been laid off. He said he needed a way to support his family and the military was the only option which presented itself with an immediate income. For the most part, we were mostly eighteen to twenty-two year olds from a variety of places (many from the rust belt: PA-IL were the most common places) who needed the financial opportunities provided by the military.
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