War movies are great to watch and keep us on the edge of our seats with each powerful explosion, hidden sniper attack and scandalous missions, but the US Military has been shrouded in myth for too long and it’s time civilians quit believing the silly hype and learn more about the protectors of this nation. It wouldn’t hurt to actually ASK a member of the military about the service instead of relying on multimillion dollar Hollywood productions and music videos.
1. You have to have perfect vision
Surprisingly enough, not every single member of the military has 20/20 vision. If you have ever seen the recruits at Basic Training you would think you walked into a Mr. Magoo cartoon. The official “BC glasses” or “birth control glasses” will make you wish you were blessed with the genes of perfect vision, although it’s definitely not required. The glasses sure would have added a more dramatic effect in Katy Perry’s music video!
2. You would NEVER survive boot camp
The truth is, more than 90% of recruits survive boot camp and they are normal people. Chances are you won’t be crying the first two weeks from the stress or ironing and folding your uniform. Boot camp is a glorified version of fat camp the government pays you to attend.
3. Soldiers get drunk and party when they aren’t out fighting
Drinking, fighting and partying in the barracks is prohibited. Soldiers don’t spend their time playing beer pong and taking shots, they are usually washing vehicles and maintaining equipment. It’s dangerous work and can cause a wicked case of tennis elbow.
4. Soldiers are secret assassins
Not every soldier who joins the US Military is recruited as a secret assassin in a foreign mission. Soldiers are attending college and maintaining military jobs similar to the rest of us.
5. Service members become robots with guns
Service members are taught discipline, uniformity and leadership. They can actually function in society outside the gates of the base and off the battlefield without wanting to explode or shoot something.
6. All service members go into combat
Not every single service member is initiated into the service with trips overseas to fight in the wars. We are surrounded by service members at home and abroad who play vital roles in supporting our troops and civilians without the use of guns, bombs and planes. Some members are armed with a computer mouse, a wrench or a spatula. For every single soldier in combat there are approximately 2.5 soldiers behind the scenes in supportive roles, but they don’t make movies about cooks and mechanics.
7. Vets are homeless, jobless and crazy
Vets returning home from the service are not all homeless and on the verge of mental disaster. Although the PTSD is very real, the likelihood of every vet you meet having a traumatizing war story is not exactly high. Veterans of past and current wars often survive the boring civilian lives we all must endure without a mental breakdown. Most vets maintain families, jobs and homes once they reach military retirement and leave the service without the use of stocked medicine cabinets and whiskey-filled glasses.
Hopefully people have learned it’s actually okay to approach a member or our military without being attacked or bombarded with war stories. Our military men and women are normal people with successful careers, families and scars from hot pans and childhood stunts, not necessarily always from roadside bombs and shrapnel.