The US Army's New Recruiting Commercial Is So Bad It's Great

Entertainment
Screenshot via YouTube | GoArmy

What can be said about the Army’s sleek new marketing campaign that isn’t glaringly obvious?


I assume that by this point we all know that we’re not "winning" the War on Terror. And that running full speed through an insurgent-infested village is pretty much a guaranteed way to get blown up by an IED. And that not everyone in the Army is “capable of split-second decisions, extreme focus, and superhuman endurance.”

And that if a private first class in the 101st Airborne Division refers to himself as “elite” within earshot of another soldier he will be belly-slapped like a bongo drum until his belly button falls off. These are the facts, of course, in spite of the Army's latest and greatest recruiting commercial and "Warriors Wanted" campaign.

Last month, the U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) revealed that it fell short of its recruiting goal for fiscal year 2018 by 6,500 new soldiers. It wasn’t for lack of trying. Recruiters have been working overtime to beef up the ranks since President Barack Obama left office.

As usual, Army leadership highlighted the low unemployment rate in its explanation for failing to meet its quotas. Recruiting success largely depends on the health of the economy. But there isn’t a shortage of young, able-bodied Americans eager to serve.

It’s just that the Army doesn’t want to be a repository for people who can’t find civilian jobs, as it was at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It wants access to the same hot talent pool as, say, Facebook and Google. Diversity is also a big priority. Which is why USAREC now plans to ramp up recruiting efforts in major cities across the country, including liberal strongholds, like New York and Los Angeles, where recruiters have historically struggled.

That is how we ended up with #WarriorsWanted, a marketing strategy designed to appeal to risk takers and adventure-seekers — in other words, people who wouldn’t necessarily be drawn to military service for the steady paycheck and benefits.

And nothing says the world is your oyster quite like a 30-second video featuring heavily-armed commandos laying waste to a town in the Middle East. Or at least that appears to be the setting for the Army’s “Who We Are” commercial, which debuted on Oct. 18 as part of the campaign.

It’s hard to say for sure where our fictional heroes are doing all of this ass-kicking. Who or what they are shooting at is also mystery. And what the fuck happened to the rules of engagement?

The point is, what you’re about to see is a grossly inaccurate depiction of what it’s like to go to war with the United States Army.

Enjoy.

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Marine Maj. Jose J. Anzaldua Jr. spent more than three years during the height of the Vietnam War. Now, more than 45 years after his release, Sig Sauer is paying tribute to his service with a special gift.

Sig Sauer on Friday unveiled a unique 1911 pistol engraved with Anzaldua's name, the details of his imprisonment in Vietnam, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" accompanied by the POW-MIA flag on the grip to commemorate POW-MIA Recognition Day.

The gunmaker also released a short documentary entitled "Once A Marine, Always A Marine" — a fitting title given Anzaldua's courageous actions in the line of duty

Marine Maj. Jose Anzaldua's commemorative 1911 pistol

(Sig Sauer)

Born in Texas in 1950, Anzaldua enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1968 and deployed to Vietnam as an intelligence scout assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

On Jan. 23, 1970, he was captured during a foot patrol and spent 1,160 days in captivity in various locations across North Vietnam — including he infamous Hỏa Lò Prison known among American POWs as the "Hanoi Hilton" — before he was freed during Operation Homecoming on March 27, 1973.

Anzaldua may have been a prisoner, but he never stopped fighting. After his release, he received two Bronze Stars with combat "V" valor devices and a Prisoner of War Medal for displaying "extraordinary leadership and devotion to his companions" during his time in captivity. From one of his Bronze Star citations:

Using his knowledge of the Vietnamese language, he was diligent, resourceful, and invaluable as a collector of intelligence information for the senior officer interned in the prison camp.

In addition, while performing as interpreter for other United States prisoners making known their needs to their captors, [Anzaldua] regularly, at the grave risk of sever retaliation to himself, delivered and received messages for the senior officer.

On one occasion, when detected, he refused to implicate any of his fellow prisoners, even though severe punitive action was expected.

Anzaldua also received a Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroism in December 1969, when he entered the flaming wreckage of a U.S. helicopter that crashed nearr his battalion command post in the country's Quang Nam Province and rescued the crew chief and a Vietnamese civilian "although painfully burned himself," according to his citation.

After a brief stay at Camp Pendleton following his 1973 release, Anzaldua attended Officer Candidate School at MCB Quantico, Virginia, earning his commission in 1974. He retired from the Corps in 1992 after 24 years of service.

Sig Sauer presented the commemorative 1911 pistol to Anzaldua in a private ceremony at the gunmaker's headquarters in Newington, New Hampshire. The pistol's unique features include:

  • 1911 Pistol: the 1911 pistol was carried by U.S. forces throughout the Vietnam War, and by Major Anzaldua throughout his service. The commemorative 1911 POW pistol features a high-polish DLC finish on both the frame and slide, and is chambered in.45 AUTO with an SAO trigger. All pistol engravings are done in 24k gold;
  • Right Slide Engraving: the Prisoner of War ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor and "Major Jose Anzaldua" engravings;
  • Top Slide Engraving: engraved oak leaf insignia representing the Major's rank at the time of retirement and a pair of dog tags inscribed with the date, latitude and longitude of the location where Major Anzaldua was taken as a prisoner, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" taken from the POW-MIA flag;
  • Left Side Engraving: the Vietnam War service ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor engraving;
  • Pistol Grips: anodized aluminum grips with POW-MIA flag.

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