Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Aim High? But that's too hard.

The services spend lots of money marketing themselves to attract quality recruits, and part of that effort is the slogan.  My Navy has had mixed reviews with its campaign of a few years ago:

It reflects more of the humanitarian assistance role the Navy took after the tsunami in Indonesia, the earthquake in Pakistan and several other incidents.  That slogan followed several others including, “Accelerate Your Life” (2001-2009), “It’s Not Just a Job, It’s An Adventure” (1976-1986), “You Are Tomorrow; You Are The Navy” (1988-1990) and “Let the Journey Begin” (1996-2000).  

The Marine Corps on the other hand has stuck with their tried and true slogan:

That one is really just a slight modification from "The Few. The Proud. The Marines," although they use both of these regularly, which are variations on a theme from the 70's and 80's:

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a picture of the poster I remember with that slogan- one with an incredibly bad-ass looking Force Recon Marine in full camo-paint, some rope coiled around his shoulder, and M-16 at the ready.

The Air Force has had a couple recruiting slogans as well, including “Aim High,” "Above All," "Cross into the blue," “A great way of life,” and “We do the impossible everyday.”  The above motto adds Fly-Fight-Win to their current one. The flying is obvious.  Fight?  Same thing, we're in the military, and fighting our nation's wars is our primary duty.  What about "Win" though?  To most, it means the same as fight- we fight to win our nation's wars.  

The Army however, might have a different view of winning.  You see, they've had a rather bad run as of late in regards to wins versus Navy in football.  It's been a looooong time since they've put anything in the win column against the middies from Annapolis, 12 years to be exact.  This probably hurts them greatly, enough for some to actually lose sight on the end-game- fielding quality Officers for the Army.  So much so that it led to an article in the Washington Post titled:  

West Point is placing too much emphasis on football

I remember how disgusted I felt after I first learned that the service academies recruit athletes, athletes that don't have to meet the same rigorous standards that the rest of the Cadets and Midshipmen have to meet.  I had 3 nominations to the USNA, but was unable to get an appointment due to only 20% of each entering class allowed to have corrected vision.  It turned out to be a blessing though, as regular college Calculus and Physics just about kicked my butt, and I'm not sure I would have survived the academic rigor that the academy demands.  Because of that, I believed that a person getting an athletic scholarship to the the academy, if not held to the same academic standards, was taking a slot from a more deserving nominee.  

I'm thinking the Army should co-opt the Air Force slogan, but modify it slightly:

An excerpt from the article:

On Dec. 15, shortly after Army football’s 12th consecutive loss to the U.S. Naval Academy, the superintendent of West Point, Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen , announced that he was considering institutional changes to build a winning program. “When America puts its sons and daughters in harm’s way, they do not expect us to just ‘do our best’ . . . but to win,” he wrote. “Nothing short of victory is acceptable. . . . Our core values are Duty, Honor, Country. Winning makes them real.”
Soon after, Army Athletic Director Boo Corrigan argued that West Point ought to take “an educated risk” by relaxing admission requirements in favor of superior football recruits. The superintendent has said that he does not intend to relax standards, but Corrigan’s views are backed by powerful alumni, including retired Brig. Gen. Pete Dawkins, a Heisman Trophy winner who has participated in three study groups assessing Army football. “I think it’s crucial that West Point stand out as a place of winners,” Dawkins recently said. Thus his view that it’s “entirely fair to accept some risks” in the admission of football recruits.
It's just an editorial, but if the Army actually goes through with anything like this, they're just completely forgetting what they stand for.  West Point's home page states that it has been educating, training, and inspiring leaders of character for our US Army and the nation for more than 200 years.  It goes on to say that the school provides a leader-development program steeped in academic rigor, military discipline, and physical challenges, all built upon a moral-ethical foundation.  Nothing in that statement says anything about beating Navy, and lowering standards to achieve that directly conflicts with the academic rigor and ethics points that the statement makes.  Read the whole article and let me know if it disgusts you.

Aim Low Army, Aim Low.


  1. West Point is merely stating their desire to do what Annapolis is already doing. Overemphasizing football at the expense of kids who are might be more qualified to be at West Point. I can't believe they're saying it out loud. (I have no idea what the Air Force Academy does. I'm sure it's similar. But instead of making stupid statements about football, the Air Force does other stupid things. At least that's how it feels lately!)

    Get the academies out of Division I. That would help.

  2. This one?

    1. Hmm. Not quite, but close. It was more dark and green. Thanks for digging though.

  3. "Get the academies out of Division I"

    That wouldn't be fair to the other schools who aren't in Division I.

  4. "So easy a caveman can do it." I'm laughing out loud at that one; got some funny looks from folks in the hall. :)

  5. This is why long years ago I adopted my current avatar. I could see this one coming from a light year away. It was interesting reading Anton Myer's book Once An Eagle just as the Army was tearing itself apart in the post Vietnam draw down. I lived at most of the places mentioned in the book and watched as the Army closed ranks. It became painfully clear though as the years went by that the Army is an incredibly insular organization and the vast majority of Americans have no idea what is happening behind the wire at the arsenals, forts, camps and posts that remain.


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