HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
January 1, 2007, Herald Journal

New recruiting strategies underway

By KRISTEN MILLER

For Christmas this year, my nephew asked Santa for an Army set, which Santa did grant him. There, under the tree Christmas morning, was an Army tower, helicopter, tank, and Army guys. He will spend hours pretending he is a soldier out to get the bad guys.

But why did a 4-year-old want an Army set?

Yes, I understand he’s a boy and likes to pretend to blow things up, but I can’t help to think it might have something to do with the war in Iraq and the military’s push for new recruits.

Aspects of the war and American soldiers fighting can be seen everywhere, even by preschoolers. He might have a classmate with a father or mother serving, or a brother or sister. He only has to turn the TV on to know there is a war going on and a military that is working on his behalf.

With the push for more troops and new recruiting efforts, we can only expect to see more.

Even before the talk of expanding the total number of troops hit the airwaves and newspapers, I noticed a jump in advertising for the military. It began with the campaign, “Army Strong.” A somewhat barbaric slogan to attract young men and women to the Army National Guard, explaining there is a difference between “strong” and “Army strong.”

The campaign was developed “to specifically address the interests and motivations of those considering a career in the US military. The campaign also speaks to those who understand and support the decision of a family member, friend or employee to serve,” according to a US Army press release.

Recently, I have also noticed another TV ad for the military asking parents to know the facts. I am unaware of whether or not this is related to the “Army Strong” campaign, but nevertheless, it is a new tool.

One day, I was driving down Main Street in Hutchinson and noticed a Marine Corp recruiting office that I had never seen in town before.

On another day, I went to the gas station for a cup of coffee and noticed business cards on the counter for an Army National Guard recruiter. No doubt, they are working hard to expand the military.

Soon, recruiters will again be visiting the graduating students explaining the benefits of joining the military, including earning money for college and job opportunities.

With a war that seems far from over, more troops might be the best option. It’s time to give the troops who are currently serving, and those serving second or third tours, a break.

Also, what if something were to happen here in our own country? Would we have the troops and supplies to even have a chance to defend ourselves?

The push to expand the military has no doubt already begun. It is even attracting 4-year-olds, which is fine. I just hope I don’t have to, someday, send him off to war.