Join the Army of Your Choice

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Willing military service, if that is your thing, most will have no problems with if that is your choice. The movement is all about INFORMED choice and the existence of a choice to begin with. The military has some good things, a lot of bad, and much misinformation. A bit of Yippie history is in order.

Abbie Hoffman was a big opponent towards military enlistment and either led or was in cahoots with many of the anti-draft movements of the day.. Back in his time, the kids of working class families who did not happen to be in school or have some bonafide medical excuse were shipped off to fight in the jungles of Vietnam against their will. There were underground movements dedicated to helping folks avoid the draft and many even left the country to avoid participating in a war they had no interest in. Some even injured themselves on purpose.

Times have changed much since then. There is no draft, though some of the more hard line war hawk politicians have tried in years past. However, the threat always looms as all male kids of a certain age still need to sign for Selective Service. With enlistment of willing folks to head off to the new conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan dwindling, this could happen again at some point. Unlikely, because of the extreme unpopularity of it, but possible.

However, the military recruiters still have promises and tools they use to lure folks into signing up willingly. They hang around malls, high school campuses, and other areas their target group hangs at. Knowing about the enlistment process is very helpful to informed decisions when dealing with recruiters. Some of what they say will be somewhat true, others half-truths, some outright lies. Once you get in, empty promises are just that. Still, this may be tempting for a poor kid with little hope for school and in a place with no jobs - enough to even risk getting blown up! Of course, rest assured the sons of CEOs and politicians are not going to that party! Actual fighting is only for CorpGov slaves, not the masters.

For today's time, a realistic talk on the military is in order.


Recruiter Promises[edit]

Armed with free T-shirts, pamphlets, and other goodies, you may either meet recruiters at your school or even decide to check it out at thier office. Here are the selling points they make along with the real scoop.

  • Enlistment promotes character and responsibility. Maybe, but many other things do as well. Truth is, not everyone is suited for military life nor needs to be in it. Just Boot Camp dropout rates range from 7% to 10% depending on branch of service. Most of the rate is from folks who cannot adjust well or lie about injuries - but still earns Entry Level Separation or Bad Conduct Discharge. Make this judgment yourself.
  • Enlistment can teach you marketable job skills. This is actually somewhat true. But NO recruiter can promise you the jobs that actually teach real skills with civilian value. The real person that places you is called a Classifier. You will not talk to this guy until far into the process, usually at the Entrance Processing Station. For the better jobs (called MOS), there are long waiting lists. Also know that bad ass things like SEAL, HALO, Green Beret, or other you must try out for in basic. If you do want to go the bad ass route, start training now as the physical requirements of those programs are quite hardcore. For things like Nuclear Propulsion you may also need to take an additional test AND have good ASVAB scores. Of course, to fly a plane or be a nurse or doctor you need the appropriate degree beforehand and go in.
  • Receive free money for school. The Montgomery GI Bill is what they refer to here. Amount covered depends on actual enlistment. Important thing to remember is the money goes upward based on time of enlistment. For someone signing up for 2 years of service plus some time in the reserves, this will be barely enough to pay for even a Community College. For those who sign longer, there will be a bit more.
  • See the world. You will see the world. You may also be in places of the world you will be shot at, depending on your MOS.
  • Earn a Paycheck. Enlisted pay is pretty low. True, you do get free medical care and have no housing or food expenses. But pretty low, none the less. However, your salary almost doubles if you are married or have kids. They also automatically send out extra for any child support owed. If you went to college, you may be able to get a higher pay grade to start even if you dropped out depending on number of credits. Certain MOSs also start at higher grades.

Enlistment Process[edit]

If you want to get in or make a great case to stay out if they start looking for folks here it is.

  • You cannot be overweight.
  • Can not have any mental or medical issues. Any previous injuries or illnesses, they are going to get a doctor to clear at their cost.
  • Air Force wants 20/20 vision and does not take folks with glasses or contacts. The other branches do not care as long as the vision is correctable. They issue glasses.
  • Be able to pass a urine drug test.
  • You must have a GED or High School diploma.
  • 18 or above, 17 with discretion or parent approval. Upper age limits vary greatly by branch. Oldest cut-off is 42 which is the Army's. Youngest is the Air Force at 27.
  • Have a fairly clean criminal record. No Felonies.
  • If you have a child, the either other parent must have custody or a grandparent.
  • Not claim to be a member of a religious organization that is well known to be pacifist Conscientious Objectors (C.O.). The best known are the Jehovah's Witness. If reading Watchtower tracts and the Bible obsessively and the somewhat strict rules of the JWs is not your trip, there are other organizations. The Society of Friends (the Quakers) have many branches - even nontheistic. And, they do not go around dressed like the guy on the oatmeal box.

If you pass all that, they will then make you take the ASVAB which is a standardized test like the ACT or SAT to rule you out of certain jobs.

The recruiters will then make you fill out many volumes of paperwork covering every minute detail of your life. Make sure not to admit to any drug use if you have never been convicted of drug use. It will disqualify you from better jobs.

You will then go to a processing station to take a physical exam and drug test. Here you will meet a Classifier that will give you a deployment date and you will be sworn in. Sometimes the deployment could be months or years down the road depending on where your classifier put you. If you did not choose a MOS, it could be the next week.

On your deployment date when you show up again at the processing station you will be sent on a plane to Basic Training where your ass is theirs. You will be sworn in yet again. This time for real. Did we mention your ass is now theirs? The plane leaves shortly after.

Basic lasts from 8 weeks to 12 weeks depending on branch of service. Expect to be treated like crap, yelled at, and exercised to death. Try to keep a low profile and go with the system and you should be okay.

After Basic, depending on your MOS, you may go to another training facility.

After that, wherever they send you. Prepare to live a life where they can tell you to pick up and leave to go somewhere with little notice.

Getting out of Delayed Entry Processing[edit]

One little known fact most recruiters do not advertise is that you can back out at any time before you actually get officially sworn in on the final visit to MEPS. Even if you are in a Delayed Entry Program. You will still be on the Individual Ready Reserve list for 8 years, but it is highly unlikely they will call you up. Just be sure to tell the recruiter. They will want to talk you out of it, but there is little they can actually do.

Dishonorable Discharge/ Entry Level Separation and Moving On[edit]

If they kick you out during boot camp, it's not the end of the world.Contrary to popular opinion, it is not life-ending or a permanent mark of being worthless or unemployable if for some reason you get kicked out or things do not work out.

If you mark 'No Military Service' on almost ALL applications, almost all employers will not check further. The great news is that not just anyone can go and ask the Department of Defense your service record (unlike criminal, credit), so why mark it? It's a pain in the ass, too with to get that paperwork with waits and releases to be obtained. Go through your social media and delete any comments about being in the military. Yeah, there are ways to get that, too. But few people are going to want to dig that far. Of course, they will give you that paperwork on the way out. But who wants to keep bullshit stuff around that serves no purpose but to be a liability. Unless you are applying for some high clearance stuff like being an astronaut, FBI/CIA, or want to be President, it should not ever come up. And, if it does in extremely rare circumstance, it is best to ask for forgiveness than permission. Who wants to work for prejudiced assholes?

Depending on how long you were in before being booted out, you may have questions come up with stricter HR departments and more selective interviewers due to a gap in employment on the application. Claiming you were taking some courses, freelancing, taking care of a sick relative, or similar will get you out of this until the gap was so long ago it does not matter.

Unfortunately, unemployment is not available to those kicked out of the military. But, at least you will usually have your last paycheck so you will not be completely destitute. You still can get Food Stamps, too. They will also give you a free, long bus ride to any place in the Empire - it does not have to be where you were shipped from on deployment to boot camp.

Nor would it be prudent to advertise being kicked out around die hard veterans. Burn the cool Navy coat and Army boots. Many times, it only brings about unfair assumptions about your character.

AWOL and Desertion[edit]

As mentioned above, once you are in, your ass is theirs. But, what if you leave? A distinction is made between AWOL and Desertion. AWOL (Away Without Leave) is defined as absent from unit with some intention to return. Desertion is a far more serious issue where there is no intent to return. AWOL can just be missing your plane to show up for an assignment. The going rate for desertion versus being AWOL is 30 days, but if permanently leaving can be proven the court martial may push for desertion anyways.

Military Law states the maximum punishment for desertion is death, but in reality, no one has been executed for desertion since Civil War times. More typically, it can be up to 18 months in a brig and losing all rank and pay. Sometimes the punishment can be less than that depending on circumstances and the people at the court martial hearing. If you find yourself in this position, a knowledgeable lawyer is highly recommended.

One good thing to know is that Canada, a haven for deserters and draft dodgers in Hoffman's era, is no longer the refuge of choice. All of the deserters and war objectors that went up there during the Empire's current conflicts are facing long deportation procedures as of this writing. Some have voluntarily returned to face whatever punishment awaits.

Benefits as a Veteran[edit]

If you make it out with your mind and body in one piece, the benefits can be nonexistent to quite substantial depending on circumstances.

  • You are hired before non-veterans for federal jobs. There are also many jobs that only hire vets. If you had a security clearance, you can transition over to a private sector job with a security clearance with ease. If you were some trade like mechanic, electrician, internet engineer, etc it does count as work experience. Be sure to work on any certificates or degrees private sector likes as well and you will be way ahead of folks that did not join.
  • You receive free socialized medicine from the VA system for anything remotely dealing with any injury - mental or physical acquired while in service. The VA process though can be quite obnoxious from reports, though.
  • You are part of a "club". Ex military tend to favor other ex military when it comes to hiring decisions, respect, socialization, etc. Indeed, there are VFW posts and all manner of stuff to get into only available to veterans.

Draft Dodging[edit]

The first rule of our new Nation prohibits any of us from serving in the army of a foreign power with which we do not have an alliance. Since we exist in a state of war with the Pig Empire, we all have a responsibility to beat the draft by any means necessary.

First check out your medical history. Review every chronic or long-term illness you ever had. Be sure to put down all the serious infections like mono or hep. Next, make note of your physical complications. When you have assembled a complete list, get a copy of Physical Deferments or one of the other draft counseling manuals and see if you qualify. If you have a legitimate deferment, document it with a letter from a doctor.

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The next best deal is a Conscientious Objection status (C.O.). The laws have been getting progressively broader in defining C.O. status during the past few years. The most recent being, "sincere moral objections to war," without necessarily a belief in a supreme being (but it does help if your part of a peace church). There are general guidelines sent out by the National Office of Selective Service that say it is a matter of conscience. The decision, however, is still pretty much in the hands of the local board. Visit a Draft Counseling Center if you feel you have a chance for this type of story. They will know how your local board tends to rule. There are still some more cases to be heard by the Supreme Court before objection to a particular war is allowed or disallowed. It is not grounds for deferment as of now.The Jehovah's Witnesses are such famous COs that they even outright turn you down on the application in the recruiter office for even mentioning you are one. Bring your Bible and a whole bunch of Watchtower tracts with you and claim Jehovah forbids taking up arms. Most of the time they will let you go rather than press the issue.

Act as effeminately gay as possible if the military in your country excludes homosexuals, turn up in full drag. This no longer applies in Amerika as of December 2010.

Put your name down as the carer of an infant and babysit a friends baby on the day of interview.

Apply for a job in an "essential" civilian occupation.

Become a missionary and get differed under divinity students, Buddhist monk is a good one as you get a free philosophical course and begging credentials.

Psychiatric deferment (psycho) is another possible deal. Psychos are our specialty. Chromosome damage has totally wiped out our minds when it comes to concentrating on killing innocent people in Asia. When you get your invite to join the army, there are lots of ways you can prepare yourself mentally. Begin by staggering up to a cop and telling him you don't know who you are or where you live. He'll arrange for you to be chauffeured to the nearest mental hospital. There you repeat your performance, dropping the clue that you have used LSD in the past, but you aren't sure if you're on it now or not. In due time, they'll put you up for the night. When morning comes, you bounce out of bed, remember who you are, swear you'll never drop acid again and thank everyone who took care of you. Within a few hours, you'll be discharged. Don't be uptight about thinking how they'll lock you up forever cause you really are nuts. The hospitals measure victories by how quickly they can throw you out the door. They are all overcrowded anyway.

In most areas, a one-night stand in a mental hospital is enough to convince the shrink at the induction center that you're capable of eating the flesh of a colonel. Just before you go, see a sympathetic psychiatrist and explain your sad mental shape. He'll get verification that you did time in a hospital and include it in his letter, that you'll take along to the induction center.

When you get to the physical examination, a high point in any young man's life, there are lots of things working in your favor. Here, long hair helps; the army doesn't want to bother with trouble-makers. Remember this even though a tough looking sergeant runs down bullshit about "how they're gonna fix your ass" and "anybody with a trigger finger gets passed." He's just auditioning for the Audie Murphy movies, so don't believe anything he lays down.

Talk to the other guys about how rotten the war in the Middle East is and how if you get forced to go, you'll end up shooting some officers. Tell them you'd like the training so you can come back and make like the Unabomber.

Check off as many items as can't be verified when given the forms. Suicide, dizzy spells, bed-wetting, dope addiction, etc. Be able to drop a few symptoms on the psychiatrist to back up your story of rejection by a cold and brutal society that was indifferent, from a domineering father that beat you, and mother that didn't understand anything. Be able to trace your history of bad family relationships, your taking to the streets at 15 and eventually your getting "hooked." Let him "pry" things out of you if possible. Show him your letter if you had the foresight to get one.

Practice a good story before you go for the physical with someone who has already beat the system. If your local board is fucked up, you can transfer to an area that disqualifies almost everyone who wants out, such as the New York City boards. If you can't think of anything you can always get FUCK ARMY tattooed on the outside of the baby finger of your right hand and give the tough sergeant a snappy salute and a hearty "yes sir!"*

In some countries it is often possible to evade military service by bribing corrupt draft officers, or by finding a doctor who will certify one as medically unfit. Finally as a last resort moving out of the country, to a country without an extradition policy if your country is really determined in making you serve.

If unfortunately you get hauled in. The Army gives you a life insurance policy. By making Dan Berrigan or Angela Davis the beneficiary you might avoid front-line duty.