22 April 2009

Stuff White People Like #6,782: Getting a Commission

Here's a bit of news from Tom Ricks that sort of floored me. He just got done speaking at Princeton, and a lot of college kids from the Ivies are forgoing job opportunities in DC/NYC to enjoy a not-so-illustrious career as an O-1 in the military. He has posted an email from one motivated young woman:

I don't come from a military family (they are, in fact, fairly appalled at my decision), I don't have college loans to pay off (it's come to my attention that this is a motivator for a lot of people), and I haven't had trouble finding a job in the recent economic turmoil, I reached my decision long before Wall Street went to hell. Usually when I tell people what I am doing I get the usual looks: disbelief, skepticism, puzzlement, sometimes disgust. And I'm always asked "why?".
Considering that as a Naval officer for close to 7 years I never met an Ivy-league grad in uniform, I am quite surprised by this and ecstatic that well-to-do youngsters actually give a shit. Most officers come from the academies or a large state school, and it is predominantly a middle class association. Not that it's right, but it's the way it is. Why else would The Onion parody the very idea of the nation's elite rushing to either enlist or seek a commission? But, nonetheless, it gives some optimism for Generation Y (maybe I should rethink some of my previous posts).

One word of advice to these officer candidates, I understand that you were probably the President of your high school class, never got too mixed up in drugs/alcohol, and have spent the first 22 years of your life forgoing fun and building up an impressive resume. But remember, at OCS, it's like what R. Lee Ermey said: "You're all equally worthless". Best of luck!


subrookie said...

They were talking in the local media here that the Army may actually meet recruiting targets this year, especially the Reserves and Guard.

I don't have any soft spot in my heart for Ivy grads since I paid my own way through school, but I did consider joining the reserves as early as 2 years ago. Well, at least the Coast Guard Reserves ;) I could bike down there for my 2 weeks a year and throw out some oil booms.

Anyway, I can see why it's a little attractive to the large college grad, but not the ivy league grad. I hear the chicks dig guys in uniform, even if they have a degree in modern american basket weaving.

Joe said...

The Guard has more than met it's recruiting target. We're double slotted in every slot for NCOs and have to cut 30 men by September per every company in the BN or there will be (more) pay issues.

Also, I was pleased to recently learn that Cadets in OCS get smoked. That brought a smile to my face. I have newfound respect for officers than went through OCS.

Ms. Kiyum said...

You've never met an Ivy-league grad in uniform? I've met more in uniform than I have in my normal day-to-day life. That's why I don't understand the stereotype that all you guys come from the dregs of society.

olgreydog7 said...

Boston Consortium commissions several every year. Also, remember Zaracina? He taught ROTC at Cornell. Plus, you'd be surprised at the parties at the ivy league schools. Hell, I had such a great time at one that I wanted to transfer to Harvard. I had the same expectations as you when I first visited. But they were just normal people who are wicked smart (insert Boston accent). My buddy's dorm room, really a giant common room with 2 bathrooms and 6 individual little rooms for sleeping, had not one, but two keg-erators. Did you have that?

Lisa said...

Interesting news. . . is the economy that bad, perhaps?

Wek said...

Nice find. I'll do a post on OYE in regards to this. Now if only the Ivies all had ROTC......(I think it's only Penn and Dartmouth at this time)

NateSF said...

She listed several of the common reasons to join the military, but neglected to mention why she's doing it... I think she's either an upper class tourist or she's using military service as a stepping stone to a higher position in the government. Then again I'm a hopeless cynic.

Nixon said...


A tourist in the military? Is that a FIght Club reference? haha. Although, I'd signing a contract for 4-6 years is pretty serious for a tourist.

Nixon said...


Yeah, I heard that. Navy OCS is run by Marine Drill Instructors (at least it used to be), so it certainly wasn't a picnic.