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Army Bob: Shrinking warrior class is 1/2% of U.S. population

An offshoot of the “All VArmy Bob Salutesolunteer Force” is a growing warrior class; our military is currently composed of one half of one percent of our population according to Military Times.

Military Times reports that 80 percent of those serving come from a family where a parent or sibling is or was in the military. I am totally supportive of the volunteer force, having served in the draft and volunteer Army; the volunteer force is far superior, but it brings some baggage.

Our military strength in basic numbers is lower than it was before World War II and as a percent of the population close to the smallest it has ever been since we established a viable standing Army. Our spending on defense is lower as a percent of the gross national product that it has been since years before WWII as well. More Americans by far work for Wal-Mart and Hewlett-Packard than are in the uniformed US military. Yum Brands Inc. employs more people in the United States than are in the active United States Army.

Our warrior class is increasingly geographically segregated, 50% coming from five states: California, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia, with 28% of the US population. A study of the map of military installations shows a direct correlation between the numbers of enlistees and large military installations in those states.

In the last two conflicts in which our forces fought, the vast majority oBob Traxler_0f the nation was not affected in any way. The military, especially the Army and Marine Corps, suffered greatly with multiple deployments and long forced absences from home and family, but the average American gave little or no thought to the sacrifice.

The overwhelming majority of Americans know no one currently serving in the Military and do not give service to our nation any thought at all. Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) units numbered more than 420 in the 1980s; today the number is around 275. The population of our colleges and universities has increased dramatically since the 1980s, but those even exploring the possibility of military service have shrunk by 34 percent.

Sacrificing for our nation is a concept unknown to most; a small corps, one half of one percent, are bearing the burden of our defense and these selfless few are more and more coming from a small pool of a warrior class.

The majority of Americans in most of the country have little or no desire to serve the nation. President Kennedy’s words “Ask not what the country can do for you but what you can do for the country” are no longer words to live by. As a percent of the population Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Idaho and South Carolina are the most accepting of military service with the District of Columbia being the worst. In the southern states military service is honored, not so much in the rest of our nation.

The old saying I learned as a young soldier is true and getting more sage every day: “The f***ing civilians only care about us when we are stopping bullets meant for them.”

Those of us in Southwest Michigan are so tied up in our own everyday lives we have little interest in life outside of our area, and certainly not in what those people in the military are doing. The President cuts the military in pay, benefits, size, equipment and training; the attitude is who cares, we spend too much on the military anyway, why should I care no one is attacking me, and I don’t know anyone in the military. If the military is ill-equipped, poorly trained and understrength, that’s their problem; I have my own worries.

Islamic terrorists will attack our homeland again, as they have for over 214 years, and we will all ask why we were not prepared. It is what we always have said after being attacked and the few in the military service as before will pay a high price for our dammed near criminal apathy.

Never forget that our President maintains that global climate change is a more immediate threat than Islamic terrorists, Russian expansion or Iran with a nuclear weapon. God love the brave few who serve, because our nation doesn’t.

A warrior will say if not me, who? Most Americans will answer: I don’t give a damn as long as it is not me.

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