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Supporting Materials for Sir! No Sir!

Life In The American Military

Today there is a great controversy over conscription and the American military. Only recently, the Navy has been embarrassed to a great degree by the Pueblo incident. Testimony from high ranking naval officers has shown that the men of the Pueblo were told that they had a backup force which, in reality, never existed. They were lied to so that they would do a hazardous job with fewer reservations. This situation is not unique with the Navy. Those sort of white lies are found throughout the military, and they are allowed to be perpetuated because ths civilian public does not know what goes on in the military. That is the purpose of this article; to give anyone who will read it a factual account of life in the American military.

Before I continue, let me say that I am not any type of anarchist, kook or wierdo. I was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps when I returned from Viet Nam last August. I am now a student at Old Dominion College, and I hope to become an English teacher. This article is not meant to be inflammatory; it merely points out the basic faults in the American military in the hope that people will think a little before plunging headlong into a despotic and unfair organization.

When you sign an enlistment contract, you are automatically relinquishing your right of assembly, free speech, and the pursuit of, happiness. In the military, once you make your feelings know, i.e., “I don't care for Gunny Jones,” you have made an enemy who will try to make life miserable for you. You will be given an unfair load of duties and work details. Your free time will be encroached upon, and you will be harrassed constantly, all in an effort to push you over the brink. After you reach the breaking point, good Old Gunny Jones is right there to railroad you to a courts-martial. There, you are automatically guilty. because someone of higher rank says you are. No one, with the exception of the legal officer, will speak in your behalf for fear of reprisal from higher up. After all, they don't want to be placed in the same position you were.

You are all ready for a big weekend. You called your girl in town and told her you would be there Friday night. You change into your civilian clothes and go to check out with the duty. “You're not going anywhere Smith. The gunny put your name on this Saturday morning working party.” Oh great! So you go to see the gunny to plead your case. But of course you don't find him. He's gone home for the weekend.

Twice a year everyone in the Marine Corps has to qualify, or shoot a certain score, with his rifle. You are down in the dirt, blasting away, when you notice the gunny standing there. You wonder when he is going to qualify. Of course, stupid, you know the gunny can't be bothered with that. He already filled out his own card with a damn good score. The captain will be proud.of the gunny and wonder why his troopers didn't do so well.

Have you ever written your congressman? If you choose to ignore this article and join the service, don't do it there. Your mail, everyones mail, is screened before it is sent. The gunny, or one of his stooges, will see that mailing address. They will brand you as a troublemaker, and you will be placed in the previously mentioned situation of trumped up charges and kangaroo courts.

I volunteered to go to Viet Nam to escape from an outfit where all these instances were everyday occurrences. My unit was not unique; there are many like it throughout the service. Once in the military you become a robot. Your mind stagnates and your speech becomes littered with foul words. You actually lose your ability to carry on an intelligent conversation. My mind is just now beginning to function as it once did. All the instances and situations mentioned here are true and occur many tines daily throughout the military. Benjamin Franklin said “Experience keeps a dear school, but a fool will learn in no other.” Don't be a fool. Take the advice a someone who has been the route. Stay out of the military and lead a useful life.
J. S.
Norfolk

Rough Draft, no. 1

 

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