T Nation

Getting 7th Graders Ready for the Military


"You will find that establishing trust and credibility with students, even seventh and eighth graders, has a strong impact on your high school and post-secondary school recruiting efforts."



I think this can be good or bad. Teaching patriotism and showing kids how the military can benefit their lives can be great. But trying to just get bodies in is not cool in my book.


Here is the link to the actual recruiting manual:


Page Chapter 3, page 5, paragraph 3-17 is the portion causing so much alarm.
Holy crap! Recruiters are talking to kids! Thats more dangerous than the sexually transmitted disease, drugs, drinking, pregnancies, school massacres, bullies, abusive parents, kidnappers, pedophiles, drunk drivers, incompetent teachers, under-resourced education systems, poorly maintained buses, and pandemic influenza that they are exposed to every day.
I'd be worried if you were a cancer-ridden single parent with 4 children who can't help their son or daughter make an informed choice about joining the military, other than that I think it will be OK.


Yeah I think it's good and bad to. It is a myth that the military is a last resort of the poor and uneducated.

On average the military person makes more and is better educated that the average civilian.

In addition in terms of background, the poor are actually underrepresented as a % of the military. The poor man forced to fight a rich mans war is a myth. The wealthy constitute are more heavily represented in the military than the poor.

But, if the laws are repealed, how young of people can they approach? And what kind of propaganda will they spread?


After reading the comments, I am absolutely flabbergasted that Anonymous went several comments without referring to gay sex, racial epithets, or rule #34.


Link to the Navy recruiting manual.



Link the Air Force recruiting manual



Link to the Marine Corps recruiting manual



Who is talking to kids at what age about any topic should be up to the parents. But then again, we don't have to take much interest in our kids these days. The state will raise them for us.

I will definately encourage my son to serve his country. It's something I regret not doing. Mostly for the training that may come in handy.

I would encourage my daughters as well, but some of the stories I hear of sexual abuse have me a bit worried.


who do you think those commercials have been aimed at for the last several years? the ones with soldiers emerging from swamps, guys jumping out of planes, zooming along in zodiac rafts...
I'm sure the 18-24 year old target audience was a little less impressed than the younger kids.


That's a good point. The commercials are glamourized. Driving along a goat trail dodging RPGs in Afghanistan didn't make the cut.

I want to point out that I am very pro-military. Hell, my son starts the USNA this 1 July. But I have thoroughly grilled him and made sure this is what he wants to do.


while I am against the idea of a standing military force, I think it's great that you took the initiative to make sure your son had thoroughly thought out his decision (serious).


Thanks. He's a great young man, brilliant and athletic, most of which he got from his mom. :>

I can't imagine sitting across from the mother of a young Marine and telling her why her 19 year old son died, especially if I fucked up and got the boy killed. He's pretty rock solid that he'd do it.


They want to influence the young developing and naive mind as early as possible. Young people think of fun, adventure and just overall coolness when it comes to the military. Even their commercials specifically appeal to a young demographic. They always portray action, excitement and adventure.

On top of that, the young mind has a "it won't happen to me" type of thinking.

But young people should be told the truth, the whole truth. Show them dead soldiers. Bodies mangles and cut in half. Show them VA hospitals where young people are recovering from life changing injuries. Burned bodies, missing limbs, eyes, lower jaws etc etc... See the shit for what it's really like.

Then see those who carry life long scars in their minds from all the horrors of war.

After all the "glory" settles down, you realize, you're going there to die. There is a reason why people in their 30's, 40's look at it in a different light. You see things more clearly as you age.

And just when you're at the age of thinking and seeing clearly for what they really are, you're no longer eligible. lol.

Keep them away from my kids. Don't let them plan any seeds of coolness about the military. An 18 year old is not old enough to make such important decisions.


I personally know two young men who joined the army at the age of 17 over the last year. This was a good move for both of them. The army mandates that they finish their education before fulling becoming a member and seems to be very supportive. I watched one's graduation from Ft. Benning's boot camp in GA.

Two or three lifetimes ago when I was that age I was annoyed by army recruiters persistent calls...but I was enough of a man to simply say, "thanks but no thanks." ... 'course, had they been smarter they'd've probably tried to sign me up for ROTC at my undergrad uni... but that wasn't what they were going for.


Funny, the only think I've learned in the 10 years since I enlisted was that America is full of a bunch of socialists and cowards that aren't worth dying for. The only part of being in the Corps that had any value was the fact that I was around 1) the only Americans worth a shit and 2) getting to fight for people overseas who were more receptive to liberty than most Americans.

I'll admit, I wasn't in too many harrowing firefights. I wasn't kicking doors down in Fallujah. That said, I have lost friends in the war and have been scared for my life on multiple occasions. I've done my share of exciting stuff and had it tempered with things like burning shit in drums in the jungle. What I'm getting at is something that most military folks are too full of fake humility to admit: I loved being at war. It was the happiest time in my life. In war, actions have consequences, both good and bad. Civilian life has been a watered down joke.

And as far as seeing things different in your 30's and 40's, it has less to do with wisdom and more to do with the cowardice that comes with having something to lose. On a daily basis you can see stories of men failing to take a stand for what's right over things as truly trivial as protecting "property values".

That said, I agree with you in large part. I wish we could hold enlistment back until a kid reaches 20. In this way you'll avoid picking up people who are joining simply because they have nothing better to do. You'll also get fewer people joining so they can pay for college since many will have already started college. But we can't just wait until you get to be middle aged. A bunch of 30 year old men will be less receptive to orders, more softened up by life and in far worse shape. The military needs fewer bodies and more warfighters.

It is a fallacy to think that most kids only get this picture of military life being all action anyways. Talk to your average Marine and you'll get a half dozen stories of people who told him not to join.

I also don't think it's fair to speak of the countless people messed up by the military without mentioning those whose characters were saved by it.

I'm not being combative here, but I'm curious. How would you go about filling the ranks without recruiters going to high schools?



I would like to add that I honestly can't think of anyone who has told me they wished they hadn't joined. It seems to be a possitive experience for most. What's the problem?


Me either. The only people I remember regretting were the fuck ups I knew while I was enlisted and were trying to get kicked out.


Do you have a link to these stats?

I remember discussing this years ago, and, if I remember correctly, the only information I found supporting your statement, included officers in the statistics.

Like I said this is all from memory, but I think I found it to be around 55% of enlistees coming from households with an income below the US median. Of course, being below the the median doesn't necessarily mean poor. And even if it did mean they were all poor, it's close enough to 50/50 and a far cry from a poor man's military.


This is written after I've stayed up past 5 am. I hope it is presentable.

People gotta have more kids. If I had a couple brothers I'd have joined the military already. Kids gotta be cheaper

30 and 40? You begin to lack in physical prowess. And perhaps, god forbid, fearlessness and ferocity. I am hardly of that age so I cannot speak of these weaknesses myself. Also, by that time you should be getting on with your life, if you have any soldiering genes worth reproducing.

A nation needs fearless and ferocious men in order to preserve its life. Handwringing emonicity will only get you killed, conquered and enslaved. Your troubles will be over for sure. New men will take over, coming in to fill the void.

The military has an iq cutoff precluding the lowest of the low from joining, although in order to meet recruitment goals under an all volunteer army those limits have been relaxed in recent years. If one wishes primarily the elites to fight, we could always go back to the days of a nobility. A military aristocracy.