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When Rural Schools Partner with Military Recruitment Programs, It’s Above All Pragmatic

Photo by Benjamin Faust on UnsplashFebruary 1, 2024 / Janie Ekere /  The Daily Yonder - Center for Rural Strategies - Activists remain concerned about the costs and ethics of school military recruitment, despite the potential educational and career opportunities it can offer, said Scott Harding and Seth Kershner, co-authors of “Contested Terrain: School Militarism and the Battle for Hearts and Minds.”

But in response to funding challenges, some rural schools have allowed military recruiters to assist with coaching sports or classroom instruction, said Kershner, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of History. 

According to a 2023 article from TIME Magazine, the military has had varying degrees of difficulty recruiting since the abolition of the draft in 1973. The story attributed the most recent recruitment slump to several factors like low unemployment, lack of eligible recruits, and a growing cultural divide between civilians and the military. 

A 2017 report from The RAND Corporation proposed extending military recruitment efforts to more rural schools to reach more eligible young people. The RAND Corporation report primarily focused on the JROTC program, which is the military’s most common method of youth recruitment. 

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DoD STARBASE: Early Grooming for Military Recruitment

 

 January-March 2024 / Seth Kershner / Draft NOtices - Beginning in 2022 the New York Times began publishing an astonishing series of investigative articles on Junior ROTC -- the most sustained and critical coverage of high school militarism in recent memory. As this issue of Draft NOtices points out, the articles led to congressional action to ensure much needed oversight of high school military training. Since Junior ROTC is the crown jewel of the Pentagon’s school militarism apparatus, it’s understandable that counter-recruiters concentrate their limited resources on combating it. But a narrow focus on JROTC overlooks the many other ways the Dept. of Defense plants its flag in schools. Draft NOtices last reported on DoD STARBASE in 2015, and this article attempts to reacquaint readers with the program that annually brings militarism to nearly 80,000 elementary school students.

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Army recruiters tell deadly lies

November 11, 2023 / David Hollar -  John Hoff was a reporter for the Minneapolis Daily Newspaper. He joined the army in September 1989 which was several months before anyone would know how the First Gulf War would turn out. There were estimates of massive American casualties in the first few days of the anticipated ground war, worries that Saddam would use nerve gas.


 

Soldiers are put at risk of dying in combat, but did not really volunteer for the job they are doing.


/ John Hoff / Minneapolis Daily Newspaper - Along a short stretch of Washington Avenue Southeast, you can join the army, the navy, and the Minnesota Army National Guard. It is amazing to walk into a recruiter's office with thoughts of joining the military. It is like bravely stepping through a portal in time and space, not knowing where you might end up. The recruiters are near campus because we are their logical market, just as we are a target demographic for goods and services like affordably priced Chinese meals and free pregnancy tests.

I am regular, full-time army to my bones. Still, I will not speak ill of other military branches, or part-time "weekend warriors" who, quite often these days, are called up to become full-time soldiers. But, for me, there was never any real choice except being regular army like my father. Cut me open with a bayonet, in just the right spot over my gall bladder, and I will bleed green. During a time of war, serving in the military can lay a foundation for a life in politics, public service or even be the beginning of bohemian world adventures. If I would criticize the army, it would be out of love.

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