Serving America? Voices of Marines

In my Semper Fi US Marine Corps  LinkedIn Group, I asked the question if service to America should be a requirement of all citizens? Here are some responses from my fellow Marines
Tom DeRossett • I have often discussed and supported some type of community, state or national service criteria for high school or college graduation. Perhaps a minimum 90 days spread out over school career or credit for military commitment. The commitment by this generation of marines and other veterans to serve their country strongly reinforces the mutual benefit for the individual and the nation as a whole. I see the pride these marines and soldiers take in their commitment to serve and the benefit received by being a part of larger community of service to others.
Christopher Peil • I have often struggled with this question as one of the things that makes this country great is the fact that you do not have to conscript yourself to serve the federal government to be a part of it or successful in it. However, I do believe that service to ones country also builds stronger people who understand sacrifice, and the honor, courage and commitment it takes to make the hard choices many of our service men and women. This also makes those that serve a cut above their average ordinary citizen today. With that in mind, I joined at a time when service was voluntary, which, I feel my CHOICE in the matter gives me a greater appreciation for the fact that I served, and not because it was just another thing in life I was forced to do.
Al Bagocius • Hi Christopher- Thanks for posting and your service! I think community service should be a requirement for both HS & college degrees as well as some service- military or civilian…I also served…back in the Viet Nam era when we had the draft, I too volunteered…Semper fi!
Eric Woodie • To all who have posted thank you for your sacrifice to this wonderful country of ours. On the topic of mandatory service in the military I would say that would be a terrible step backwards from where we are today. I’m sure we have all served with that idiot who is the plaque of any unit who only joined for the college money. How bad this individual set back a already uncomfortable situation. Imagine a whole company or squadron with that mentality. It would be a cancer that would destroy our military. Semper Fi
Christopher Peil • Al, thanks for leading the way in your extraordinary service to our country. You’re truly a great example for future generations of Marines to come. I hesitate to make Military service a requirement because forcing it upon someone as a requirement lowers the standard and quality across the board. I came from a very liberal community in Boulder, CO when I joined up, and to be honest with you I would have hated serving with about 99% of the kids I graduated with. They were not the right people that are required to make up the ranks of the greatest military force to grace this planet. I know there are plenty of draftees from your era that made great Marines, but across the board, the quality of service was lacking. I’m not saying that our current Marine Corps isn’t ripe with its share of S-bags, but the fact that its 100% volunteer means that at some point 100% of those currently serving actually wanted to be Marines even if they don’t want to be Marines now. I guess requiring a year of Green Peace work is a little different then serving in the Marines, but I would cringe if any military service was made part of a college or high school graduation requirement.
Steve Ellicott • I seem to feel the same as everyone else on this one. I have thought that if we had some sort of required service it may have a postitve effect on the overall public. Now following that I can say that I have also not been able to think of a way to do this and have it be a positive or have it really work. Lets face it if most of the people out there where in your unit and you where stationed in combat FOB you would have a much higher number of friendly fire accidents. You have to be able to trust and rely on the Marines with you 1000% of the time it combat. There is no room for soft uncommitted individuals. They will just get you killed. I love the idea but it really is not for everyone.
David Munday • Not sure. I’ve seen to many nowadays that come straight out of high school and college that are not conducive to a team concept that the military requires.
Thomas Dirksen • I dont think it should be mandatory but what they should do is offer vets more incentives after getting out. I think they should be the first to be hired for all government jobs and should be able to get loans at the best interest rate. It seems like the general population thinks you only go to the military as a last resort. Why not make it one of the first choices you think of after high school.
Andrew Tucker • I don’t believe it should be mandatory, but I do believe that you should do some kind of public service, i.e. Peace Corps, military, community services such as garbage removal, firefighter, police officer, etc etc, before you are allowed to become a citizen of the USA. And you cannot vote or run for public office or get a decent job or go to college unless you were a citizen. Does that theory come straight out of a book? Yes it does, but it is nonetheless a valid thought process. I believe that this country and the peoples attitudes within this country would be tremendously improved if a system like this was implemented.
Barry Thompson• This is a great , thought provoking topic. For many years, I thought that mandatory service would benefit the average Joe. The state of education and civility in this country has eroded over time and this type of service could only better many of the people who go through. And Lord knows, we can use the improvement in our country great as it is…With this said however, the Marines that I know today and have had the honor to know through the years have always served for a purpose whether the service was for love for or duty to country, desire to be the best of the best or to test themselves in one of the harshest environments in the world – USMCRD. I just do not see how mandatory service would make our current Corps (or any branch) any better than it is now. As a matter of fact, I now believe it would probably create more problems than it is worth.
Greg Hull • This is a great conversation. I look at Military service just a little differently. While I belive it’s a great thing and would love all young men and women to serve, I can’t see making it mandatory or forcing them to do it. My perspective is that they should want to do it. I grew up with a father who was a WWII vet and while we didn’t really talk a lot about the Military, I knew that it was not only honorable, but had made a huge difference in my fathers life. When I turned 17, I started talking to recruiters, with no coaxing from family, or anyone else. It was just the thing to do. When the flag comes by, you stand, when the national anthem plays, you face the music and remove your hat, when you reach 18 and finish High School, you serve your country. I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to do it. I’d like to see us look at what factors in our society prevent people from looking forward to joining. I believe 2-4 years of service between High School and Collage would be the best thing for most people and think we need to look at why the majority of our youth don’t agree. The men and women who have volunteered and been serving the last decade are the future leaders of our country. I look at today’s Military and have great hope for our future. How do we get the rest of today’s youth to want to follow their
Thomas Dirksen • The problem that most people have is the attitude of “not my son or daughter”. The general public still has it in their minds that military service is a second option that is picked only after college. I was lucky enough to be able to work with computers while I was in the Marines. What we need is to make sure the armed forces train their military with on the job experience that they can take with them into the civilian world. We should automatically come out with an Associates or Bachelors degree in whatever MOS you chose. If we made it a stepping stone to a better civilian transition I think more kids would join.
Greg Hull • Thomas, I agree with you in several ways. As an only child, my folks had serious concerns with me joining but my Dad just smiled with pride and assured my mom it would be OK. I think what we need to do is get more veterans in positions to help each other. After I got out (AS degree in hand in electronics) it took a lot of effort to find a job, but once I did, we brought 2 more Marines on within just a few months. Their work ethics and loyalty was so far ahead of the norm it shocked many people. That time was the boom in telecom and while the norm was “job hopping” to the highest bidder, the Marines stayed put and wound up getting pay raises and promotions ahead of many based on their performance and loyalty. I think the main way I got hired on in the first place was that one of the 3 people interviewing me was a Marine Vet. Once the door was opened the rest was up to me, but we all need to do everything we can to open the doors. Getting civilians to see past the fact that we aren’t made from the same mold is a really difficult thing. How do we convince people that the Military is a viable (if not preferred) alternative to college upon leaving High School?
Jeff Lawrence • I, too, have often thought that mandatory service may be a better way to go, having seen other societies that require it (such as Israel). However, I have to agree with the general consensus that it would be very detrimental to our Armed Forces, specifically the Marines. The lifelong bond to the Brotherhood is second to none and understood by very few. Camaraderie is learned, not taught; nor does it come naturally to most. Any of us in business these days understand intimately that no success is achieved without Teamwork-the foundation of the Corps. Additionally, having worked with all of the other branches, the Corps is definitely not for everyone. Remember the acronym JJ DID TIE BUCKLE? I still know and live all of these attributes.
86-91 – Many of us did not want to be there. For some it was required as the only other option they had was prison time. I volunteered after High School and it was the best decision I could have made.
One of the things that is thought provoking is the concept of mandatory service to attain citizenship. I have been an Arizona resident for 6 years now. With all the controversy surrounding our SB1070, many do not understand the detrimental effects of illegal, key word here, illegal, immigration. We continue to ship non-US citizens back to their respective Countries, only to process them a second, third, or fourth time. Why not consider a mandatory second offense 90 day “boot camp” and let them decide if they want to serve in return for granting them the privilege of being a Unites States Citizen?
Semper Fi!
John Gora • Another great discussion.. Great job Al… After reading so much and admiring what everybody thinks, I would be of the opinion there should not be a mandatory service, especially for the Corps… Not everybody is cut out for the military yet alone the United States Marine Corps.. I considered going in the military right after high school.. I signed up for the Corps and had 10 months delayed entry. After high school I left that summer. It was my decision to join the Corps and not the other branches service. For me, another job or college would had been a waste of everybodies time. I think we all know what it feels like to say we were in the Corps and have a person look at us with the remark, “I was going to join the Marines…!” “I wanted to join the Marines, but started working at ——–!” They obviously didn’t want to leave for the military and that fine too… I’m humble to know that I was a Marine, and have been blessed by entire life for what it did for me….! Be safe out there…!
Al Bagocius
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