A friend of mine forwarded me this email he received from a recruiter at UT. I found one claim the guy makes particularly interesting:
From: "XXXXX, XXXXXX SSG USAREC"Non-deployable? Really? Or just non-deployable while one is enrolled in school? Count me a skeptic.
Date: October 19, 2004 7:53:47 PM CDT
To: Subject: Army Reserves
Hello my name is SSG XXXXX, and I am an Army Reserve Recruiter located in the Dobie Mall. I wanted to share some great information with you about the Army Reserve Officer Training Program/ SMP. Basically you will simultaneously train with a reserve unit while taking ROTC on campus.
Upon completion of college you will become a commissioned officer on active duty full-time or in a local reserve unit part-time. While you are in college we will pay 100% of your tuition and you can earn up to $800.00 a month by working 16 hours a month. This is a non-deployable position.
You can contact me by phone at toll free 1-877-XXX-XXXX or by email.
you for your time
I personally find this guy's claims a bit disconcerting. There's ample documentation of recruiters using misleading information about duty station assignments and educational benefits to convince people to enlist (i.e. this or this for starters). A few other considerations:
- Our military forces are currently stretched so thin by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan that we're enforcing a "stop-loss" policy that involuntarily extends the enlistments of service men and women.
- There are reports of soldiers being coerced to re-enlist.
- The number of people enlisting in the military is reportedly down.
Clearly, we can't sustain our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan if the number of recruits and the number of people reenlisting declines without instituting a politically unpopular draft - something both presidential candidates have promised not to do. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Army's greatest area of need is on the front lines, not here at home. The Armed Services Vocational Aptitutude Battery has a funny way of redirecting would-be chaplains and military journalists into more mission-valuable assignments.
A few more things that potential recruits should be aware of:
- Recruiters have quotas they need to meet each month. Considering the fact that poor performance may lead to reassignment in a less cozy duty, they have an incentive to stretch the truth.
- It's very difficult to obtain conscientious objector status. Going into the military under the assumption that one will not be asked to serve in combat is risky business.
I'm concerned that we may begin to see an increase in unscrupulous recruiting practices as we struggle to maintain sizable "all volunteer" forces for the war on terror. That's completely unethical and must be stopped.
Here's the bottom line as far as I'm concerned: It's disrespectful to our service men and women to ask them to risk their lives serving the United States if we're not giving them an opportunity to make informed decisions. That's the same reason I oppose military recruiting in high schools. SSG XXXX may very well be an honest recruiter who is recruiting for positions (like, say, military recruiters) that don't involve deployment. Nevertheless, I think it's worth questioning the forthrightness of that claim given the military's history of deceptive recruiting and the fact that our armed forces clearly need to step up recruitment to support combat operations. I also think it's important that we raise these questions publicly so that kids considering enrollment can make informed decisions.
I'm going to email the Staff Sergeant and ask for more details about this non-deployable position. I'll keep you posted if I receive a response.
-----Original Message-----Hmm. I wonder if said information would have been equally forthcoming if I hadn't thought to ask?
Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 2004 11:42 AM
Subject: Army Reserves
Are you really able to guarantee that this position is non-deployable? Does it continue to be non-deployable once a student graduates?
Thanks for your help.
From: "XXXXX, XXX SSG USAREC"
Subject: RE: Army Reserves
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2004 13:07:28 -0400
I can guarantee you to be non-deployable while your in school. When would be a good time for you to come in so we can go over this program.
UPDATE II: Here's a cool site with information on the connection between military recruiting in high schools and the No Child Left Behind Act as well as suggestions for what to do about it.
UPDATE III: BoingBoing has more on practices at UT and elsewhere.Posted by sarah at October 20, 2004 11:40 AM | TrackBack