You might recall the disheartening comments about the ROTC program from a student at Brown University which we wrote about here.
This misguided fella actually referred to ROTC as a program that trains “criminals” who go out and engage in violent actions for the United States with some warped ideal of imperialism. This somewhat relates to the NBC reporter, who on MSNBC asserted that U.S. Navy SEAL Sniper Chris Kyle was going out on “killing sprees.”
What has become of our culture that we allow such disdainful and disrespectful comments of our honored warriors? How did we come to this point where these supposed elitists see themselves above those who stand guard on freedom’s ramparts bequeathing them the right to castigate those who protect in such a derisive manner?
Well, perhaps we’ve been looking at this the wrong way. Maybe that Brown University student and the NBC reporter aren’t the real American elites. I would propose it is the Warrior caste which is the exclusive 1 percent in America.
Folks, I can prove it. On Friday afternoon I had the distinct pleasure and honor to spend some time with the Soldiers and civilian men and women of the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion “Dallas Rangers” under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Robert S. Patton.
We had a great sit-down and went through a command brief that laid out the mission and organization of the unit that spreads from the Texas-Louisiana border up into Oklahoma and over to the New Mexico border and down encompassing Ft. Hood to College Station, covered by his 349 member strength battalion.
But it was the statistics he shared with me defining the Army recruiting demographic that were most distressing — and alarming about our culture. But reflective of whom the true elites are in our Republic.
The recruiting pool for the U.S. Army is individuals between 17 and 24 years old. But get this, 71 percent would not qualify to join the Army. Let me repeat that, 71 percent of 17-24 year olds in America would not qualify for our oldest branch on the Armed Services.
What are the major disqualifiers? First, some 31 percent cannot join because of multiple felonies and other moral issues such as drug use or other law violations. Yep, that is correct, the days of old where kids were told jail or the Army are no more. There’s actually still a place where moral character means something.
So these states which are legalizing marijuana use – that’s fine, but these kids will not enter into our military service. After all, who wants a drug user on the rifle range? Is this a reflection of a lack of moral character in our American society as a whole?
The other major category that disqualifies 17 to 24-year-olds is lack of fitness/obesity and other medical issues. You see the kids in America today have really strong thumbs from texting and video games, but are hard pressed to run around the block.
I remember the days of old when our parents had to yell and scream — sometimes threaten us — to make us come into the house. We didn’t want to be relegated to the four walls of confinement, and on my street of Kennesaw Avenue several of us asked for bench press sets for Christmas. You see, back in the day girls didn’t like boys who wore “skinny jeans.” We’d race up and down the street to prove the fastest fella on Kennesaw Avenue.
And I saw the witnessed new Soldiers’ decreasing level of fitness as I progressed during my years in the military. Back when I entered and my first assignment was an Airborne Battalion in Vicenza Italy, six-mile runs with 35 pound rucksack in boots was the norm. Now of course, folks will say that’s detrimental to the body — yep, and so is humping mountains with 70-80 pound rucksacks. It’s about a physical toughness, and sadly our culture seems to minimize that quality in favor of social egalitarianism.
Only two percent can’t qualify for the Army now due to aptitude/academic issues, so the major disqualifying points have to do with moral and physical standards.
Now understand, of the 29 percent who could qualify, here is the breakdown that LTC Patton and his staff shared with me. Only 15 percent of individuals age 17 to 24 have any interest in joining the military. Only one percent is serious enough to speak with a recruiter, and only half of a percent join. I just have to wonder what the recruiting statistics for Islamic terrorists and jihadists are? Yep, we’re cutting back on our military, and as LTC Patton expressed, that 71 percent unqualified number is on a glide path to reach 80 percent by 2020, just five years from now.
So you want to talk about the elite? They’re the ones wearing the uniform of the United States. As I sat there listening to the staff briefing me on the challenges they face — being rejected and the push back in the community — I thought of the fella the state of Texas produced. He ended up being the most decorated Soldier of World War II, Audie Murphy. If you don’t know the story, well, read up on it yourself. This young man defied his mother and joined the Army under age. He was the embodiment of the “Dog-Faced Soldier,” a Marne Man of the US 3rd Infantry Division blessed to play himself in the movie “To Hell and Back.” As I thought of Murphy, I reflected on the sons of Texas Chris Kyle and Marcus Luttrell.
These are the real elites in America who answer a call unlike any other — the call to serve, sacrifice, and commit to something greater than themselves. And so LTC Patton and his battalion seek not only to find those who are willing to respond as it says in Isaiah 6:8, responding “Here am I, send Me,” they seek to rectify the cultural demise they witness daily. They get involved in PT fitness programs for elementary school-aged kids. And check out the March2Success program, www.march2success.com.
You see, not everyone can measure up to the standard of being a Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, or Coast Guardsman — but we all can strive to restore our basic and fundamental moral and cultural values. Hat tip and salute to the men and women of the Dallas Rangers Battalion.
Army Strong! And this ol’ Soldier is doggone proud of y’all.