Not Your Great Grand Dad’s Recruiter

“My recruiter lied to me!” 

This is the phrase heard up and down the halls of every barracks throughout the armed forces. Accusations range from recruiters offering occupational specialties which never came through to merely misrepresenting how awesome it is to be a grunt. I recall remarking time and again I had never been shown the bit about folding linen in a recruiting video. Everyone was led to believe they would be jumping out of airplanes and shooting phased plasma rifles in a 30 watt range. The sad reality descended when you were handed a mop and had to swab the deck for the first time.  

Whatever slight of hand was used to recruit troops during my lifetime pales in comparison to the story I heard recently. The following was related to me from a WWII Marine about her father, who served in the U.S. Army during WWI.

Her father was an European immigrant relatively fresh off the boat. On the street one day he was approached by a very attractive woman. She was carrying a clip board and said if he signed her roster she would give him a kiss. He promptly signed and received his reward. It turned out though the young lady was carrying a sign up roster for the U.S. Army. He served with honor but his family would always harass him for being such an easy mark.

So the next time you complain about the underhanded manner in which you were recruited, at least be comforted by the fact it took a little more work to reel you in than your great grand father. 

Semper Fidelis!
America’s SgtMaj  

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17 comments

  1. LL, chow has changed in a good way too. At least at the KBR chow halls.

    Well Seasoned Fool, that’s what happens when you answer questions like: “Who here as experience with…?” My own great grandfather spent WWI chasing Pancho Villa because he spoke Spanish.

  2. “Join the Navy, see the world…”

    An incomplete complete truth, that.

    3/4 of the world being water.

    Recruiter further sinned by ommission in failig to explain that ‘Navy’ is in truth an acrostic:

    N_ever
    A_gain
    V_olunteer
    Y_ourself.

    all in good fun, went in eyes wide open, gave it my all, got back 100 fold for every bit I gave.

  3. Yep.

    Joined the Corps to grow up and become a real man.

    No more being treated as a child. No more having to do chores around the house and all that nonsense.

    So, what happens?

    I became a glorious infantryman! and, spent lots of my time cleaning the barracks, mowing lawns, taking out trash, scrubbing the toilets and so forth and so on.

    Heck, whenever I got in trouble, they’d take away my allowance and ground me to my room.

    Some things never change no matter where you go.

    PS. It is hard to have any sympathy nowdays with boots making that ol’ whine. With all that’s available on the internet, and especially youtube, a person’d have to be seriously disciplined in his/her pursuit of willful ignorance to not have a fair good clue on what is and/or is not involved in the day to day of military life at all MOS and service branches.

    – Grimmy

  4. Substitute teacher in high school was from Alaska. He joined the Air Force at the height of the Vietnam conflict. He was posted to the air base at Thule, Greenland.

  5. 1. Recruiters don’t have to lie anymore. They have people waiting in line to enlist. They lie anyway.
    2. Thatz according to some of the young men I’m talking to.
    3. One lied to me -and I was a damned draftee.(Army, that one)
    4. Go back eighty odd years. A couple of young German sailors had a drink with a USMC recruiter in New Orleans.
    5. Fellows woke up aboard a train headed for Philadelphia -courtesy of friend Michael Finn.
    6. Following path of least resistance, both were sworn into the service and went to sea duty. Believe training and indoctrination took place aboard the ship they were assigned to. No boot camp in those days.
    7. The fellow I knew, name of Hoffman, fought on Guadalcanal. Do not know with which unit.
    8. Went to his reward just about the time I enlisted in the Corps.
    9. My recruiter: “You want infantry!?!” He wuz a wingwipe.
    V/R JWest

  6. be603, if you want to travel (by ship) sea duty has always been the way to go.

    Grimmy, classic, before the Corps it was: “My stupid parents grounded me.” After boot camp it’s: “Marine Corps screwed me.” I never looked at it like that before.

    Anonymous One, at least no one was in the wire in Greenland. I joined the Corps in Hawaii and 7 months later was stationed in Kaneohe Bay. Just what I didn’t want.

    JWest, my understanding is only 14% of applicants to the armed forces are actually qualified for service. Out of 50,000 people, one may be eligible for the Corps. I too marched right into the recruiting office demanding infantry.

  7. America’s SgtMaj. said…

    “My own great grandfather spent WWI chasing Pancho Villa because he spoke Spanish.”

    What does that mean?

    Did he go on a one man expedition?

  8. Ed, ha! No, I was trying to imply he was assigned to the border by the Army because he was dumb enough to reveal a language skill. Though, a one man expedition would fit into my preferred narrative of my family history.

  9. I actually volunteered after NOT talking to recruiters. I instead talked to veterans of all the branches to find out what things were actually like. Then I decided and talked to the recruiter.

  10. I’d heard way too many stories about recruiter promises and “needs of the corps” assignments so…

    I didn’t demand infantry. I got a bonus that demanded I go infantry. I figured if they put money on it, it might actually mean something.

    -Grimmy

  11. I work with Soldiers, mostly in El Paso, TX. One day, I asked a group of them why they joined the Army. Of the four I was working with that day, two said that they knew they were going to be Army since they were kids. It was their dream. The third was looking for stability. The fourth of these young fellows, a guy we called HoHo, stated, “My recruiter lied to me!” I inquired further. His recruiter told him to join and see the world. I asked why that was a lie. He was from San Antonio and the previous four years were in TX.

  12. Anonymous One, not a bad route to take.

    Grimmy, I have never heard of an infantry man getting a bonus. Madness!

    Anonymous One, I experienced a similar experience. I was recruited out of Hawaii and after SOI was sent to K-Bay. I was pissed as I had no joined to go right back to where I had already been.

  13. Well, it wasn’t exactly an infantry bonus.

    It was the combat arms bonus. 2.5k dollars, iirc.

    I crunched the numbers a bit, since the bonus demanded entry into either infantry, armor or artillery. Only one battalion of armor per div and only one regiment of arty per div, but three regiments of infantry per div. I figured the odds of me getting infantry were pretty dang good.

    So, I called it the infantry bonus. I’m creative like that.

    My senior drill instructor was a machine gunner. He told me he’d written up my performance record in such a way as to heavily suggest I’d be a good machine gunner.

    I got 0351. That was sweet. No limiting my hunting of bad guys to just soft targets.

    Never had to do it for real, though. When I was younger and stupider, I thought that was a horrible cheat. All that teasing.

    Now that I’m older and not quite as stupid, I feel almost like I pulled a sweet scam. I got to be a Marine grunt and never had to deal with the actual pain part.

    – Grimmy

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