Connections High School’s Peace Squad in Hilo
Sharing Alternatives to Military Enlistment at the 2014 College & Career Fair
“They’ll have to get through us before they can get to you”
“A force for good”
“Be all you can be”
All those TV commercials and all the bling those recruiters give out in your school are meant to make the military look like an adventure, with college money and job skills as an extra bonus. But before you sign up, here are some things you need to know…
First, take a hard look at the enlistment contract. Have someone you trust look at it with you. SOME FACTS: No matter what promises they make, the military can break all of them. You are committed for 8 years, at least. They can change your job, pay and benefits. They can send you to a war. Once you enlist, you can’t choose. Here’s some sound advice from Sargent Abe, The Honest Recruiter.
SEXUAL ABUSE is a serious problem in the military. Usually when a woman, or man, is raped the crime is not reported. If it is, the commanding officer may see the victim of the rape as a troublemaker, and may assign her a harder job or delay her promotion. Not only that, but her friends and coworkers may avoid contact with her. Here Gabriella of the Peace Squad talks about sexual abuse in the military.
MONEY FOR COLLEGE? The military isn’t a generous financial institution. Two-thirds of all recruits never get any college funding. The drop-out rate is over 80% of veterans who attend college.
Partly that’s because the military pays for 36 months maximum. Nine months of full time classes for four years equals 36 months. You must go to school full time, nine months out of the year, for four years to get your maximum benefit.
After discharge you may be married, you may have children, your parents may need assistance or you may have service-related problems (29% of veterans who served any time after 9/11/01 report having a service-connected disability), so maybe no can. And don’t expect your commanding officer to give you free time to take classes while you’re serving your commitment.
THEY DON’T TELL YOU until after discharge how much money they will give to you. The largest amounts they claim in the commercials, like $70,000, are offered only to those GI’s who take jobs the military has a hard time filling.
Ariel talks about building a movement for peace.
JOB SKILLS TRAINING? Some skills learned in the military may carry over into civilian life, but think about it: the purpose of the military is to fight wars. Many jobs with fancy sounding titles are low skill and non technical.
The military may not give you the job training you signed up for. It is not required to keep you full time in the job for which you trained, or for the entire time you are in the military. After discharge, men and women veterans are less likely to find a job than non veterans their same age.
YOUR RIGHT TO PRIVACY The law allows military recruiters to come into your schools and classrooms. It requires your school to give them your private information like your phone number, address and social security number. If you DO NOT want them calling you or coming to your house, you can use the Opt Out Form. Ask your school counselor, it’s easy to fill out.
The ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) may be offered at your school. It is supposed to predict likely career choices for you, but it may be used to target you for recruitment. Although the Hawai`i Department of Education has a rule saying recruiters cannot use information obtained from an ASVAB test, each high school may see the rule differently. You Don’t Have To take the ASVAB test if you don’t want to.
Finally, watch Faith’s plea to her cousin, “Don’t Enlist!”