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Second thoughts... I'm a bit confused.

Guest $iLk

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I don't think you guys would expect this from me, and quite frankly I didn't expect it when I signed up. To put it short I'm having second thoughts about the military.

I want to explain my position and see what you guys think about it.

Back in high school, (not all that awful long ago was it? A couple years since I graduated.) I wanted nothing more than to go into the US Army and serve my country. I had 4 years of ROTC and my first stirrings of Nationalism pushing me forward. I was all ready to sign up as soon as I turned 18 - despite my parent's objections.

Then my girlfriend got pregnant.

Needless to say my Nationalism and gung-ho attitude was thrown on the backburner in favor of the stirrings of fatherhood and responsibility. It wasn't just about MY needs any longer, I felt the responsibility to care for my girlfriend (now my wife) and my unborn child (now my oldest son).

I got 2 jobs and worked my butt off, started college going for a Computer Science major - I took C++ classes and Visual Basic along with Computer Networking classes and my general studies.

Earlier this year my best friend signed up for the Marine Corps and wasn't due to ship out for a year. Around the same time I recieved joyous news that I was expecting a second child. My friend tried his best to talk me into going to the Marines with him, and despite several attempts getting me drunk as hell and agreeing to go, I never got around to it.

I was worried about providing for my family and had 3 jobs in addition to college to worry about.

He went off to boot camp and I started writing him on and off.

Then September 11 happened. Not to say that I hadn't been Patriotic before. I sympathized with many of the militias and survivalist groups throughout and after high school, and basically loathed the United States government until Bush came center stage as president.

But until September 11, I had trouble seeing the fine line between the American Government, and the American People. My patriotism was seething to be let loose after September 11, and after seeing the reaction of the American People to the tragedy, I realized that the loss of patriotism that drew me to Patriot groups wasn't the fault of the American people. It was the government that I was angry at, not the country.

Anyway I still didn't consider the military much, until president Bush started giving his speeches. Each speech made me feel proud to be an American, and made me want to pay something back to our country, and to teach those rotten bastards who attack us a lesson.

When my friend got back from basic training, I was prepared to ask him about it. He put me in touch with a recruiter and you know the rest of the story.

The more I see our military critisized and mismanaged by the Congress, the more that I am angered. I resent the political BS that has swept through the ranks of the military. I expected to be politically neutral in the military, but it seems that Liberals won't leave the military to it's own organization.

From forcing our military to use experimental medications not approved by the FDA, to critisizing them on National TV, to disenfranchising their right to vote, I have grown angry with the Congress, liberals in particular.

You guys know how hot headed I am and I don't think I could stay politically neutral in the military.

It wasn't just blind patriotism that made me join. I was expecting a second child and wanted to make sure he was taken care of. The military seemed my best option. Up until now it was. Despite my objections to the actions of our "leaders" I had leaned on the pillar of military benefits to justify my decision to myself in order to join.

This morning I have the possibility of a job with a sheriff's department in Mississippi. They will cover my insurance, and the pay is close to 1.5 times what I would make in the military. To top it off I would only need to work 3 to 4 days a week.

My dilemna is that I need to decide what is more important to me in regards to my beliefs. Either way my family will be taken care of, but by not going into the military, I will not be obligated to follow orders that I disagree with,or be put in a position to get in trouble over my politics and moral beliefs.

I agree with our military 100%. It's the decisions going on in Washington that anger me with our government. I can't exactly work for something I don't agree with can I?

"I love my country, I just don't like my government" is the motto I believe.

I haven't made my mind up yet, but I want to know what you guys think?

The upside to not going in I would be able to remain an active member here and in Orion fleet . But I don't consider that a factor. My family and my beliefs are the only factor in this equation. Since my family would be taken care of either way, I want to know what you guys think about me betraying my beliefs in order to care for them, or if I should take the job offered to me, and hope that I can better my life and theirs in the civilian world.

It's a tough decision for me, and I would appreciate your thoughts on it. I appreciated your supporting my decision to join, I just want to know if you believe I am justified in my decision to back out.

I'm not scared of basic, and I'm not scared of military life. The only thing scaring me is being put in a position to suspend my beliefs and believe what they want me to believe, or else be punished through discharge.

Comments? Any are welcome as I would like to mull over my decision more before I make it.

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What I think is if you have a way to provide for your family without going to military then do it. You will be at home more, and actually raise your children instead of seeing them between assignments. If you would join the military before you got married and had kids then it would be better to stay and maybe make a career out of it, but now, you have family, think of them first. That's why I never posted in the other thread, congradulating you about signing up. My opinion was and still is, family first, if you have a way to provide and be there as much as possible, then do that, military would be the last choice.

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By the way. You also need to balance out what is best for your family in the long run. If you know that when you get out of military you will make more money than you would be making if you got some civillian job and stayed there for 5 years and that joining right now will make things better 5 years down the line, then by all means do it, but if you can get in on some job, and in 5 years make more money then it's better to get that job, the plusses in this case are not only financial but you get to spend a lot time with your family and that's very important. The best time to join military is 18 to 22 and if you don't have any commitments in your civillian life (wife, kids, parents that rely on you for support... ect...) So that's my opinions.

[ 12-19-2001: Message edited by: Soback ]

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I have to go with Soback, if you have a civilian job that will pay you more, and give you the benefits you need, then I say forget the marines and go for the civilian job.

I would not normally say this, except that you are A: young B: married, and C: very politically incorrect.

If you were just A and C, I'd say go with the military, but because you have a family, it's just not what I think you should do.

I was thinking about joining the NG, but decided against it, there is no way that I want to give up the time with my family, my family is THE MOST important thing in my life, and to lose that time would not be acceptable.

I say go for that job with the police dept, and if you ever become single again, GOD FORBID, then maybe join the military. But with a family it will be SO tough it's unreal.

Again, this is my opinion, I wouldn't have even thought about signing up in your position in the first place. But that's just me.

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I myself have considered joining the Air Force when getting out of high school, but there's an important factor to consider...

At the point that the Congress (not going to say military since they are part of the government), is going to put the military on the backburner, you have no reason to join, and it's downright risky. When you join the military, your basically signing over your life to the military. If there's a war, your expected to fight in it. Doesn't matter if it's against Russians, British, Afgans, Iraqis, you gotta fight. Your personal beliefs seem like they would quite likely get in the way of doing that, and at the point that you aren't able to do your job, or your personal beliefs conflict, or your CO just doesn't like you, you can be court-martialled, locked up, and not see your family for a long time.

Until the military becomes more respected and supported by the legislature, there's a danger of the military being undersupplied, underequipped, and overdeployed, putting your life at risk. If I were you, i'd take the sheriff job, relax, serve your country in local law enforcement, support your family, and if you really want to become some government employee later, try to get into into the CIA or FBI. It's too risky, it's too much against your beliefs, and it'll hurt your family in the long run. Just my 2 cents....

(P.S. Also, you can't really change the government from in the military because your freedom in politics is drasically reduced. All you can really do is vote.)

(P.S.S. Don't hate the government. They may screw up sometimes, but in the end, our government is superior to any alternative currently in the world)

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"This morning I have the possibility of a job with a sheriff's department in Mississippi. They will cover my insurance, and the pay is close to 1.5 times what I would make in the military. To top it off I would only need to work 3 to 4 days a week."

This is enough to make me suggest you take this sherriff's dept. job. Dont miss the early years of your kids $ilk. And you WILL need the money. Plus you get to be with your family more often.

Besides, if the sherriff's job doesnt work or you dont like it (and I hope that dont happen), you can still fall back to the army option.

Home is where the heart is. That is what you'll have to decide... which home to put it in.

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I joined the navy to support my new wife. We were together for 4 years before we got maried, when we got maried I felt that by joining the navy, I would be doing the best thing for us. Well I made it through boot camp and on to dc school in San Fran. About 2 weeks into school, I found my wife wanting a divorce, she just needed time she said, then a month later it was we need a divorce now. She said there was no one else but finaly admited to being pregnant and meeting someone else she had fallen in love with. I new before joining the strain the military can put on a relationship, but I was certain it would never happen to me. Well guess what, it did.

So I guess what Im trying to convey is, I joined the military for the good of my family and it back fired on me. SO there I was in the navy no wife, and 3 1/2 years to go. I made it through it was hard...I would not go back and change a thing even if I could. I still cant help but think that if I had never had joined I might still be maried to the girl that I joined the military for in the first place.

I could add some more info such as I never went looking to join the military to begin with. I was looking for good job, ran across add read something like this: WANTED fire fighters, free training, free relocation, benifits, travel, etc.

No where in the add did it say anything about military. I called number and recruiter got me in for interview still not sying any thing about the military. When I got to the adress, I thought I was in the wrong place. Well once he had me there, he showed me some navy seal video and got me all fired up...2 days later I was swearing in the delayed entry program. I had 8 months to wait before I left. I spent them with my new wife. Well in 4 months I had changed my mind...I did not want to go...I talked with the recruiter and he basicly told me that there was no way I could get out (which later I found out was just plain old bs).

So I went, My wife left me.I tried to get out of the navy to try to make things work out, but they did not let me out, and even if they did, There is probably nothing I could have done. At least thats what I tell myself, for I will never know for sure.

Any who just something to ponder

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The military is better suited for single people.

Stay home and raise your kids $ilk.

FWIW: Recruiters are lifetime members of the Liars Club, so don't let their BS fool you.

All the ads that are run on TV depict the military as an exciting place to be. Again, don't let it fool you. See above comment regarding Recruiters.

In reality, the military consists of a great deal of dull, boring, and tedious hard work, no ifs, ands, or buts. Long hours and low pay for the enlisted personnel do not make it the most attractive choice of careers.

As for your beliefs, you're entitled to them. Even in the military. United States military personnel are not expected to blindly follow the orders of their commanders. If even one soldier feels that his orders go against morality, then the soldier can't be faulted for refusing to follow it. Quite the contrary as a matter of fact. Any soldier who blindly follows an immoral order will be just as liable as the commander who issued it.

Be warned my friend, you will face hardships unlike any you are accustomed to, and if you aren't prepared to kill other human beings, by all means stay home with your family.

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Thanks guys. I'm going to mull it over some more. The sheriff's dept. job is going to be about equal pay from what I found out today. About $1650 a month. Unfortunately I'm not guaranteed it yet. I'll be sending in an application in the next couple of weeks and hope they reply to me before hand. If they don't I'm probably going to look into other career options as well.

But for the moment I'm locked and loaded ready to go. Thinking of my family is making it harder and harder to stay with the indoctrinal motivation...

I'll think on it for a couple weeks before I decide.

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First talk to your wife. A very long talk.

If you don't do this will you always wonder about it?

I think you need to continue. After a long talk with the wife of course.

Seems like you have semi-wanted it for a long time and you are just looking at another excuse not to do it. Sorry if that sounds cruel.

Here's a thought and I hope I'm right. I'm sure the others will correct me. Do the four and come home. THEN get the sherriff job. I think military experience will give you an added benefit on that or any other civil service test. Do the Guard thing and go for two retirements.

Look at this would ya? The only non-military never wanted to be in the military guy advocating going into the military. When all the others are not. Bet that comes as a shock. It does to me.

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Listen to Aramike, he knows, just as I do. The militaryis a single man's fantasy, and a married man's nightmare, at least to this married man.

He didn't start a family until he got out, and there was NO way that I was going to.

Take it as given, we want to make sure that indeed you understand, as well as your family.

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My main problem at this second is - that I am a little short on money right now and will need a career change soon. I don't have the incentive to finish college right now. It's simply a waste of time until such point as I'm no longer burnt out over school. If I back out now, the sheriff's job isn't guaranteed right away, but should be sometime this year.

I understand the point you guys bring up about family, and I think about it every time I look at my kids sleeping, or when my oldest son comes up and hugs me when I get home from work.

It's also because of them I first made the decision to join. But perhaps although my reason's were good, my initial motivation was my personal feelings and wanting to go in throughout high school. I slept on it last night, and I'm going to at least consider putting back my ship date if I don't outright back out right now.

If I can get a job secured that can guarantee I'll have the money I need and the time to spend with them, I would rather take it. If I can get this job, I'll take it because alot of my plans in life will fall together a little sooner. I'd planned to save up money in the military and head over to Mississippi and buy a house. If I were to go now, I wouldn't be able to get a house, but I would be able to get a trailer or rent out a house and save up money while working there to build a house.

I'd prefer to be able to raise my kids, so I'll talk to my wife more about it later. It's also going to depend on what I can get guaranteed in the Marines.

And Charles, I wasn't looking for an excuse not to join, my problem I believe is I was looking for an excuse to join. My family, who could be taken care of through other means and have a more healthy relationship with them. I'm still not 100% decided on backing out, it's about 50/50 right now. But I'll get back to you guys when I decide. If you have anything else to add, feel free. Thank you all for your points of view to consider. I will most assuredly keep them in mind.

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I normally try to avoid giving advice on jobs as I'm not really the best example to follow. But $ilk listen to what your heart tells you. There's no point earning $100k a year (after graduating)if you are not happy or would've had some regrets of not following your ambitions.

I was exactly in your situation about 2 years ago. I may or may not have made the right decision now but I certainly don't regret it...sort of.

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And Charles, I wasn't looking for an excuse not to join, my problem I believe is I was looking for an excuse to join.

I knew it seemed to be one or the other. Once you figure it out you will have the problem 3/4 licked.

Best of luck either way.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay guys, to keep you updated, I have today requested an extension on my shipping date, at least one month or to the end of the summer.

Unfortunately I talked to my recruiter so he blew sunshine up my ass about how great the marines would be and why I shouldn't push it back any etc. etc. ad infinitum.

So my dilemna right now, I want to join, but I want my date pushed back so I can have time to get my personal affairs together. Let me tell you all a story.

I wanted to join the Marines, and if you read my first thread you know how I went up there just looking for a recruiter to point me in the right direction and I would join. Instead of simply taking a hands-off approach and guiding me, the son of a b*tch felt that it was more appropriate to fill my ears with BS and lie and lie and lie.

If for some reason I do separate, it's his fault for trying to lie. I wouldn't mind if they would simply do everything to help me and look out for MY interests instead of their quota.

So anyway where was I? Today I requested my extension and the first thing that I hear is "HELL NO!" "It's not possible" etc. etc.

So I pick up the trusty Marine Corps Recruiter Manual and start teaching him everthing that I am fully and completely aware of about his job and I don't appreciate being pushed into anything, especially by liars. So I deliver my ultimatum. If he can't grant me an extension, or his CO can't because that's who I'm talking to next, I will request separation from the DEP and the Marine Corps.

I wasn't there to be pushed around by half-wits who have less intelligence of what our Constitution means than I do. What could I have expected though? The recruiter ruined being a recruit for me.

My current date is Feb 11, 2002. Unfortunately due to physical reasons, an infected toe, and dependance upon antibiotics to get the infection out, I will be on medication throughout this period, and it may be March until I am able to go.

My personal feelings are another matter, which this thread started over, but I'd come to a conclusion that the means to an end would be worth it. The tricky part is that I'm worried that my family won't recieve adequate attention from me, as well as the financial support that is "promised" by my recruiter.

I'm not stupid, so I knew that much of what I've heard from the beginning would be and was, half-truths and lies.

I wanted an extension for a month at first due to my infection. I then wanted extension to the end of the summer to sort out my life and realize if I want a separation or if the USMC would be the best thing for me. The S.O.B. recruiter is going to make up my mind for me it looks like. This is more of a rant because I just got off the phone with the bastard and let him know how it was gonna be.

Toward the end of the call he even said, "Oh you can have your toe fixed in boot camp, the government will pay for it, blah blah"

I told him that I doubt it, and that as soon as I went to MEPS for my physical again, they would disqualify me temporarily.

I told him that if he's going to get me disqualified by trying to make me leave earlier, it's going to be my decision to QUIT instead. I'm not going to play games and let him get shit put on my record just because I'm hurting his quota.

So any thoughts?

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Silk listen to me and listen WELL

i was raised in a military, my father fought in ww2, braved the hardships of segregation and fought in korea, and earned the rank of lt cmdr, a very hard thing for a person of his race to do at that time...what he did alot of it is still classified

My grandfahter fought with my father in ww2

my brother joined the army too


The United States is at war every hour of every day of every week of every year. This is not to start a debate, and if you don't believe me you'll learn in the military. There is always a war to be fought, it just has to be found, instead of us havign o go look for one, it has been brought upon us. This war requires sacrifice, heroes are not specifically born, they are just ordinary men like youself, like me, like blades, like ep5 , like nova, like evrybody else put into unordinary situations, such as war....we cannot falter, we all must rise to the call, you ENLISTED, and if you drop out now, ru really able to give up your place, knowing that somebody else is replacing you, possibly dying for YOU...your kids...your wife...your mother , they will all thank you...people you don't know will all thank you. YOU MUST, WE MUST , RISE TO THE CALL! i know you shall, we must make sacrifices! FOR A WHILE you may be giving up your mother and father, wife and children, but what you are giving in return is immeasurable, you must be that soldier at the gate protecting the massess, allowing them to sleep in peace. You give peace to billions of innocent people when you sign on to fight...

Silk i'm not going to tell you what to do, you'll make the right choice

don't listen to recruiters, if you can when you sign up have a military officer/ ex-military officer or reserve come with you, they cut you through the bs.

[ 01-04-2002: Message edited by: JJ ]

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$ilk. I sort of understand what you're going through, although I am not a family man and never will be. I agree with everyone who has said, stay with you're family. If you go into the Marine Corps your wife will become your second spouse. You will go through the toughest training, get some of the longest, hardest deployements, and since you have a family, miss alot of birthdays, aniversaries, tucking your kids into bed at night and a host of other things.

You have to decide which is more important. You're country or your kids. I understand the reservations that were in your first post about the support the military gets from civilians and our government. And you're right sometimes that sucks. But if you work for any large corporation- or sheriffs department- that has any bureacracy you will see the same thing to a different extent.

I was in the Marine Corps when I was young and dumb and now- after Sept. 11- I'm going into the Army. I leave at the end of January. You also have another problem that could be a big one. It is unclear to me whether or not you have actually enlisted. If you have, have been sworn in, and signed a contract- then you are obligated to go. If you turn around and say you don't want to it's a little hard to get out of it. The Marine Corps has always been hard-assed sometimes to an etreme.

Technically if you're contracted and then say you don't want to go and don't you could be charged with desertion. They probably wouldn't send you to jail but it would make it hard to get some jobs- especially law enforcement.

So (and I'm sorry this post is so long) if you haven't contracted I'd say "see ya sucker" because it sounds like the recruiter is an ***hole. On the other hand, if you've contracted you need to have a long chat with you're wife and then the Station Commander- not an NCO recruiter.

Hopes this helps.

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Yeah I've already enlisted. To get out I simply have to write a letter to the Recruiting Station Commander, detailing my reasons, and he will fil out the necessary paperwork before the 10th of next month, and discharge me - leaving nothing on my record.

I get this information from the USMC recruiter manual, the same thing they learn from to recruit others.

It details everything I need to do. Also the CMC policy of the Marine Corps is to release everyone who wishes to voluntarily drop out of the DEP, within a month.

Of course the recruiter won't tell me this, but then again it seems I know alot more than he gives me credit for considering I have his job description and everything involved with recruiting/dismissing recruits at my fingertips.

JJ, I'm not going to argue with your position either because I love my country, and I want to serve my country. But there are other ways to serve besides the military, and I know that the USMC needs me less than my family. My dilemna is simply finding what is best for my family, the USMC will always survive, with or without me.

I want to join, but I want it to be on my terms, not the terms of a recruiter trying to meet his quota, someone who I scored at least 40 pts higher on the ASVAB than. I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but I am extrememly more intelligent than the average marine according to my scores. I'm not one to simply barge in and do what I'm told without question, unless I make that commitment beforehand. Until I go, I won't take their word as the gospel, because it's my choice.

I don't doubt my patriotism at all, because if it came down to it, I would die for this country, but I would also die for my family, and care more about their immediate concerns, than global concerns that are none of our business. This country is not threatened by any outside enemy as of now. Even the September 11th attacks showed how futile it is to antagonize us. My family has concerns that must be met as well. If the USMC can meet my requirements, I'll be happy. If they can't meet my family's requirements, I must find some other way to serve my country.

Police, firemen, doctors, etc. also contribute to our community. The military is important to me, but if I can't make that commitment because of family, what else can I do but find another way to serve?

In 1993, the CMC said that no married person would be allowed to serve in the military. Hours later, Clinton reversed this policy. After doing some reading today:


Military Too Fat, Female, Married, Old

NewsMax.com Wires

Friday, Jan. 4, 2002

Wars Are Best Fought by Young, Single Men

WASHINGTON ÔÇô As the drums beat louder for a war against Iraq, a look at our military personnel policies is in order, including a review of problems that cropped up when we fought Saddam Hussein in 1991 with a much larger force.

It's a bad sign when it's necessary to belabor the obvious: Wars are best fought by young, childless males. Societies deviate from this pattern at their peril.

During a midnight layover at a European airport about 18 months ago, something about the appearance of soldiers from a U.S. Army infantry unit made me uneasy. They were older, heavier, and (apparently) slower than their underappreciated Army and Marine Corps counterparts of the Vietnam era.

A recent study confirms those impressions. At a November meeting of the American Obesity Association, Richard Atkinson, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Wisconsin, reported that more than half of all service personnel are overweight according to the National Institute of Health standard, and the trend is increasing. The extra pounds increase the risk of becoming a heat casualty, the physician said, as well as injuring bones, joints and muscles. And, of course, heavier soldiers generally have less speed and endurance.

What does this have to do with public policy?

Atkinson tied the trend to the steadily increasing average age of the All Volunteer Force. Armies don't just "happen" but rather emerge from conscious and unconscious political decisions for which the citizens in free republics are ultimately responsible. When I took the enlistment oath in 1965, most of the enlisted force and almost all of the junior officers were young, single and childless.

The biggest demographic change in the All Volunteer Force is the rise of the "enlisted marrieds," said Charles Moskos, the eminent sociologist of the military, who teaches at Northwestern University. "The average age of marriage for a male in America is 27, and for a female it's 24 and a half," Moskos told United Press International in a phone interview. "In the military it's approximately 24 for a male and 22 for a female. So while the country is getting married older and older, the military is getting married younger and younger."

The sociologist recalled the adage he learned as a draftee in the 1950s: If the Army wanted you to have a wife, it would have issued you one. "Now, in a sense, it is," he remarked. A mass deployment would result in "more family separation than you might have had during World War II by far."

Sometimes we hear that in this high-tech age the retention of stable, long-service volunteers outweighs the disadvantages of an older, stouter, child-heavy military. But Moskos produced a shocking statistic that undercuts this assumption.

One-Third Fail to Complete Enlistments

Fully one-third of the members of the All Volunteer Force fail to complete their initial enlistments, he said, while 90 percent of draftees served their entire tours of duty. Although the enlistments of today's volunteers are longer than the draftees' two-year obligation, Moskos said that most volunteers who drop out do so during their first two years of service.

In an interview in his Capitol Hill office on Nov. 1, 2000, Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, foresaw the possibility of a war precipitated by a terrorist attack. The Medal of Honor winner, who lost his right arm fighting the Germans in Italy during World War II, expressed his concern about how the military had changed since his service days and said some members of Congress have at times "had difficulty in making judgments" about the armed forces "based on their backgrounds."

"Ninety-six percent of my regiment had no dependents," he said. "Only 4 percent had wives." Now 60 percent of active-duty military personnel are married, but single parenthood pushes the number with dependents higher.

Inouye recalled a "difficult personal assignment," that of censoring his men's letters, which revealed the special difficulties soldiers with families faced. The senator characterized the typical letter of a new father: "'Oh, I was so pleased to learn that our baby arrived healthy. And you pleased me so much by naming him after me. I can't wait to see him.'

"You are in no condition to go out on a tough assignment when blood might be the result," Inouye said. "You're going to be too careful for that moment."

Carl E. Mundy Jr., commandant of the Marine Corps from 1991 to 1995, followed his conscience in this matter but his commander in chief did not back him up.
On Aug. 11, 1993, the Marine Corps announced that it no longer would permit married persons to enlist.

Clinton's P.C. Policies

A few hours later, it renounced the planned policy. The Washington Post reported that Bill Clinton was "astonished" and that the general apologized for "blind-siding" the White House. Contrary to initial reports, the Sept. 11 attacks have not resulted in increased military recruitment. If President Bush's leadership can be faulted, it's in failing to call for personal sacrifice on the part of individual Americans. In the absence of conscription, the president must exhort young men to enlist. Every great leader is also an effective teacher.

To a large extent, women in uniform have filled in for the male no-shows, a development that presents special problems in combat strength and deployability. In 1970 women made up only 1.4 percent of the armed forces. Now they comprise 14.7 percent, serving in more than 9 out of 10 military occupational specialties, said Army Maj. P. James Cassella, a Department of Defense press officer. (As of April, 1999, 18 percent of the Air Force was women, with its enlisted ranks approaching 20 percent.)

Some 11.6 percent of the more than 200,000 women on active duty are single mothers, Cassella said.

All active-duty single parents and dual-career couples are required to maintain a "family care plan" as a condition for continued service, Cassella added. They must designate a trusted friend or family member to care for their children in case of deployment.

After the Persian Gulf War, the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces looked into the effects on children of separation from parents during Desert Shield-Desert Storm. Brenda Hunter, a clinical psychologist who specializes in infant attachment, testified that prolonged separation produces anguish for mothers and children. She quoted a female soldier who had to leave her 7-week-old daughter as having "built an ice wall around my heart to try to cool the pain."

Hunter cited a study of English children sent away to residential nurseries to keep them safe from World War II bombing. "The children initially went through a period of mourning, and when their mothers returned after weeks or months, some children acted as if they did not recognize them. This was not the case with fathers."

Tampering With Human Development

Human bonds are fragile, Hunter warned, and children often see separation from their mothers as rejection. "We are tampering with something profoundly elemental in human development when we think about separating mothers from their young children for any reason, and the cost of separation may be high not only for individuals but for society as well."

Bill Mattox of Family Research Council told the commission: "There is general agreement among psychologists that mother absence provides more serious emotional problems for children, particularly young children, than does father absence."

He noted that the children in Britain "who remained in their families in the bomb-riddled areas actually fared better emotionally than those who were shipped off to safer environments away from their parents."

Mattox called for policies to promote "the re-bachelorization of the active duty armed forces."

This was good advice in 1992. If we have to fight Iraq again, or engage in any large-scale overseas campaign, we will have cause to regret that we did not act on it then.

Analysis by Lou Marano, UPI.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

All rights reserved.

I have thought harder and harder about this issue. I love my country and my family, my family needs me more than the Marine Corps needs me. Until I am sure they are taken care of, I cannot jump blindly into the Marines.

I want to be a Marine, but wants and needs are two different things.

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If it would be as easy as writing a letter then if I were you it would get done in a heartbeat. Most people in my family thinks I'm nuts for going into the Army, especially when were at war. But that's the point, that's why I'm going in. I left a job at an e-commerce company with good benefits and am putting off finishing college until my enlistment is up (my recruiter told me that I would have time to study on the weekends but he also told me the sky isn't blue). When I was trying to make my decision one of my best friends told me some of the finest people who serve their country are not in the military. I think someone on this thread said something like that and I do believe it's true.

Good luck with what you decide.

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Looks like you have made the right decision.

The military is a single man's dream, and a married man's nightmare. Unless you got married while in the military, and even then it is TOUGH!!

Write that letter $iLk, your family will thank you, even though they may not know it yet!

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I considered joining the military, but decided to put it off as I simply do not want to sign away a big chunk of my life. The military will always be there, and even though when I'm in my late 20's I wont be a prime canidate, the military is so understaffed that I dont think they'll turn many people down.

I made the mistake of taking the ASVAD test, and as soon as I did...those recruitment calls kept pouring in! I would get on the average 10 calls a week, and this kept up for several months. First the Army kept trying to recruit me, but I told them I was interesting in being a pilot, but as I need glasses, they said I couldn't fly. The Air Force then told me the Army guy was completely wrong; as long as I had 20/20 vision (no matter how I got it) I could infact fly. Then the Navy tried briefly to recruit me as well.

The thing is, I scored so high on the ASVAD test that these recruiters were saying I could choose nearly any field in the military, though they were also trying to beat the other branches, and in the process, all of these recruiters turned into used car salemen promising me the sky if only I'd sign on the dotted line...

The last straw was when I got a call from the Army, then the Air Force, then the Navy, then the Navy again. All within a 30 minute period. At that point I just snapped and told them to not call back again. Damn...someone scores high on their evaluation tests and they jump all over them like pirahnas. Works great to scare people off.

So I now have no interest at all in the military, except perhaps a job in a missile silo or some other stationary job where I dont have to listen to some dumb jackass scream at me all day. I've got brains, and I'm going to go use them in the private sector.

That was my first and last experience with the military, though I might possibly join the national guard for that extra bit of money.

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