Re: OT: Semper Fi
- From: Steve Irving <steve@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 13:03:15 -0700
Steve Irving wrote:
I've heard some of the same thing going on here in the southwest where the perception is that the military recruiters are "preying" on low income Latino kids to feed the meat grinder in Iraq.
And I'm a Bush-hating, left-wing, moderate-Democrat.........
I've been very uncomfortable that the vast majority of soldiers come from America's lower income families. After riding back and forth across America several times, I've had to modify my position a little. The families that have sons and daughters in uniform don't feel taken advantage of. They very much see the military as an opportunity for them to get ahead and get their slice of the American dream. This surprised me.
For many it is......
My son for example, spent so much time in high school chasing girls and playing football that his grades (no matter what I did) sucked badly. Beginning of his senior year we had a sit down and tried to work out a game plan for him that would open some opportunities for him and keep the rest of his life from sucking badly.
He enlisted in the Navy, got into the Seabees......enlisted early in his senior year and didn't leave until he graduated. This put him ahead of the curve for promotions through the 5 1/2 years he served...... he was guaranteed training and career field. He went to welding school down in Gulfport Miss. right after bootcamp.
He traveled a bunch (never on a ship), worked a variety of construction projects all over the world. Did a tour in Kuwait/Iraq and when his time was up in mid 2005 he got out. His unit lost guys in Iraq, as did other units based where he was, and he knew several of them.
His experience and training got him a job pretty quickly with a government agency here. He's on one of two, six man crews that maintain the aqueduct bringing water into Arizona from the Colorado River (Central Arizona Project). He's now gotten into a 3 year, union apprenticeship program (CAP isn't union) as a heavy equipment operator.
His high school buddies are still working the same (or nearly the same) crappy jobs they did back then (couple of them went to college and are doing well).
So, service in the military does offer opportunity that isn't always available elsewhere........
You might notice I said it's a perception that the military is full of low income Latinos....it really isn't. Staffing numbers actually show minorities in the military in about the same percentages as the general population.
But........kids with better opportunities (kid's who have college in their future, and not all kids do) tend to stay away from military service, although there are always exceptions people can point at.
I just hate to think that some people choose military service (especially now, with the BS Iraq Meatgrinder going) only because they don't have anything else.
Steve Irving - BS#237/SLOB#12
"A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding." Marshall McLuhan
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