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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.
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Defense Department's authority to prosecute retired service members for crimes they commit, even after retirement.
The court on Tuesday chose not to hear the case of a retired Marine who was court-martialed for a sexual assault he committed three months after leaving the service in August 2015. By not accepting the case, Larrabee v. the United States, the court upheld the status quo: that military retirees are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Soldiers and their spouses told Fort Hood brass and housing officials Thursday night about horrific conditions inside on-post housing, ranging from blooms of mold and lead paint to infestations of snakes and cockroaches and dangerously faulty window screens.
When President Trump spoke of Islamic State last week, he described the group as all but defeated, even in the digital realm.
"For a period of time, they used the internet better than we did. They used the internet brilliantly, but now it's not so brilliant," the president said. "And now the people on the internet that used to look up to them and say how wonderful and brilliant they are are not thinking of them as being so brilliant."
The U.S. Army has announced it will upgrade a former 3rd Infantry Division soldier's Silver Star to a Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery during the unit's "Thunder Run" attack on Baghdad, Iraq, in 2003.
Kim Jong-un reportedly told Pompeo he did not want his kids to live with the burden of nuclear weapons
HANOI (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told the U.S. secretary of state he did not want his children to live with the burden of nuclear weapons, a former CIA officer involved in high-level diplomacy over the North's weapons was quoted as saying on Saturday.