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The military is full of stereotypes. Contemporary perceptions of the average soldier or veteran often focus too much on one characteristic or miss the mark entirely. Whether it’s interbranch conflict, marriage woes, or political viewpoints, there are very few all-encompassing tropes that fit all members of the military.
Here are six military stereotypes debunked.
They love war.
World War II veteran-turned-President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.” The stereotype of the hyper-masculine soldier is not an accurate depiction of most service members. In fact, because they’ve seen combat firsthand, they are much less likely to suggest warfare as a primary means of resolving conflict. According to a report from the Daily Beast, “Civilian elites were more supportive of using military force, and for a wider range of scenarios, than were military elites.”
They joined the military as a last resort.
There are any number of reasons why a person joins the military. People often believe that someone joins only because her or she flunked out of high school. However, reasons can be as far reaching as love of country, to familial history, to educational incentives. According to Blue Star Families 2014 survey, however, “The reason for joining the military reported by the highest percentage of respondents (96%) was to serve their country. Additionally, 74% of respondents said they joined to ‘improve their life circumstances.’” Regardless of why people choose to join, they put themselves in harm’s way to protect American interests.
They can’t think for themselves.
It’s a common misconception that service members only know how to give and take orders — nothing else. Many people perceive veterans as drones with rigid, set functions. However, they are often put into situations where they must think and respond quickly to unpredictable situations. The Business Journals, among various employment sites, cite the ability to think on their feet as major advantage when hiring veterans.
They all marry dependapotamuses.
It is a widely circulated rumor that service members marry and have kids to take advantage of military benefits — like more basic allowance for housing. An even worse stereotype: Spouses marry service members to steal their benefits. The few that do this sadly give the rest a bad name among both service members and civilians. The assumption that military marriages are a sham for benefits is starkly contrasted by the overall low divorce rates among military members. In 2015, the Pentagon stated divorce rates in 2015 were the lowest in a decade. Military.com also reported divorce rates among both officer and enlisted men and women across 2014 was only 3.1 percent.
The services don’t work together.
Though the rivalries are alive and well, they don’t detract from mission success. Even though there is branch competition, in the form of Army-Navy football and an endless slew of jokes about opposing services, at the end of the day, they know operational success always comes first. The Department of Defense says in its doctrine that joint or “team” operations are to serve as the overriding action across the services. This means that any mission that requires joint action comes first.
Service members are all extremely organized.
This one swings to both extremes. While some service members and veterans are organized down to the way they roll their socks, others are messy as can be. In response to a previous Task & Purpose article, a majority of our readers suggested that messiness was a popular form of rebellion against the rigidity within the military.
CAMP PENDLETON — The military prosecution of a Coast Guardsman accused of murder began Wednesday with a preliminary hearing at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Seaman Ethan W. Tucker, 21, was arrested August 28 after a seven-month Coast Guard investigation into the January death of Seaman Ethan Kelch, 19, who served on the same ship as Tucker— the Kodiak, Alaska-based high endurance cutter Douglas Munro.
ANKARA (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday Turkey would press on with its offensive into northeastern Syria and "crush the heads of terrorists" if a deal with Washington on the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from the area were not fully implemented.
Erdogan agreed on Thursday in talks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence a five-day pause in the offensive to allow time for the Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a "safe zone" Turkey aims to establish in northeast Syria near the Turkish border.
President Trump stoked confusion Friday by declaring the U.S. has "secured the Oil" in the Middle East amid continued fallout from the Turkish invasion of northern Syria that he enabled by pulling American troops out of the region.
It wasn't immediately clear what the president was talking about, as there were no publicly known developments in Syria or elsewhere in the Middle East relating to oil. White House aides did not return requests for comment.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. State Department investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state has found no evidence of deliberate mishandling of classified information by department employees.
The investigation, the results of which were released on Friday by Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley's office, centered on whether Clinton, who served as the top U.S. diplomat from 2009 to 2013, jeopardized classified information by using a private email server rather than a government one.
BYESVILLE — A Meadowbrook High School student removed from class last Friday for being intoxicated is now facing a felony charge after allegedly threatening to shoot people if the previous incident harmed his chances to join a branch of the United States military.
Gabriel D. Blackledge, 18, of Cambridge, is facing one count of making terrorist threats, a third-degree felony, filed by the Guernsey County Sheriff's Office on Thursday. Blackledge remained incarcerated in the county jail on a $250,000 bond with no 10 percent allowed, according to the sheriff's office's website.