Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Analysis: Study shows 41% drop in number of black Army recruits since 2000
Stars and Stripes ^ | , March 4, 2005 | By Tom Philpott, Special to Stars and Stripes

Posted on 03/04/2005 3:17:23 PM PST by Flavius

The Army’s wartime recruiting challenge is aggravated by a sharp drop in black enlistments over the last four years, which internal Army and Defense Department polls trace to an unpopular war in Iraq and concerns among blacks with Bush administration policies.

The Army is straining to meet recruiting goals in part because the number of black volunteers has fallen 41 percent — from 23.5 percent of recruits in fiscal 2000 down steadily to 13.9 percent in the first four months of fiscal 2005.

“It’s alarming,” said Maj. Gen. Michael D. Rochelle, commanding general of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Fort Knox, Ky.

No single factor explains the drop, Rochelle said, but clearly the propensity of black youth to enlist is impacted by the war and increasingly by views of parents, teachers, coaches, clergy and other “influencers.”

“The influencers of these youth are causing them to be less inclined to listen to what good the Army could do for them in the long run,” said Rochelle, one of the Army’s most senior black officers.

Officer recruiting is hit, too. Black enrollment in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program is down 36 percent since 2001.

The Marine Corps also reports a drop in black recruits but its racial data on recruits is now suspect due to a government policy, effective Jan. 1, 2003, that allows recruits and all new federal workers to decline to identify their race. The Army has found a way to continue to track accurately its racial data, said S. Douglas Smith, spokesman for the recruiting command.

Rep. Charles B. Rangel, a Democrat whose New York City district includes Harlem, said he isn’t too surprised by the Army recruiting data.

“I have not found a black person in support of this war in my district,” he said. “The fact that every member of the Congressional Black Caucus emotionally, politically and vigorously opposes this war is an indication of what black folks think throughout this country.”

Rangel also said there was “overwhelming disappointment” among blacks after Bush, in a disputed election, became president in 2001, and the disappointment “plummeted after he declared war in Iraq.”

Results of the Defense Department’s own Youth and Influencer Polls, conducted last May, affirm that administration policies and the Iraq war have lowered the propensity of black youth to enlist, particularly in the Army and Marine Corps, the ground forces taking most of the casualties.

While the war reduced the likelihood of youth in general to join the military, says the Youth Poll report, “Black youth reported being more negatively affected … . Black youth were less supportive of U.S. troops’ presence in Iraq, less likely to feel the war was justified, more disapproving of the Bush administration’s handling of foreign affairs and more disapproving of its use of U.S. military forces than were whites or Hispanics.”

Black youth unemployment remains above 10 percent, higher than for Hispanics and double that of whites. Blacks also tend to view military pay as more attractive than do other racial groups.

In years past, such factors enticed a disproportionate number of African-American youth to see opportunity in the Army. In some years since the draft ended in 1973, the percentage of blacks among Army volunteers approached 30 percent.

In fiscal 2000, blacks still represented almost a quarter of Army recruits. That percentage fell to 22.7 in 2001, 19.9 in ’02, 16.4 in ’03, 15.9 in ’04, and now to 13.9 percent through four months of fiscal 2005. No such decline has been seen among Hispanics or white recruits. Indeed, their percentages among Army recruits grew during the first Bush administration.

Because blacks are 14 percent of all recruit-age youth, their recruiting numbers remain “acceptable,” said Rochelle, proportional to blacks in society. But the steep drop in black recruits overall does hurt plans “to grow the Army,” he conceded. Congress has ordered a 30,000 increase in the number of active-duty soldiers by October 2007.

Rangel said many blacks still are enticed into service by benefits and cash incentives, which are rising sharply.

“It has amazed me that, not withstanding the general feeling of the community, they still have enlisted and fought. When my [Guard and Reserve] outfits come home, these guys get their medals and they’re proud. But when I’m called up [to speak], they cheer and stomp their feet, knowing that I fought against the war. It’s inconsistent as hell.”

Another Army-directed poll, the U.S. Military Image Study, is posted on a Defense Contracting Command Web site, likely by mistake. Based on interviews with 3,236 youth ages 16 to 24, this study says, “Recruiting an all-volunteer Army in times of war is increasingly difficult.”

While money for college remains a major motivator to enlist, the Iraq war leaves youth, particularly blacks, conflicted.

“More African-Americans identify having to fight for a cause they don’t support as a barrier to military service,” the study found.

Fear of being killed or injured was the top reason to avoid service for 26 percent of youth in 2004, almost double the 14 percent reported in 2000.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: army; blacks; recruitment; us
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-80 next last

1 posted on 03/04/2005 3:17:24 PM PST by Flavius
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Flavius

It is sad that we are losing recruits, mainly due to the misrepresentations of the leftists, who view the small number of casualties we have had as "horrendous".

This shows the damage the leftist press and the other commie wackos are doing to our war effort. We lost more people in one battle in Nam than we have this whole war.

WWII was a bloodbath of unbelieveable proportions. WWI was worse than WWII.

What will be funny is when the draft becomes necessary to fill the military and we start drafting leftists.


2 posted on 03/04/2005 3:21:40 PM PST by shubi (Peace through superior firepower.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Flavius
Analysis: Study shows 41% drop in number of black Army recruits since 2000 .....

?......due to infiltration by American 'gangs'?

3 posted on 03/04/2005 3:21:49 PM PST by maestro
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Flavius
Many of the finest African-American folks I've ever met have been in the U.S. Army. Meeting high-caliber folks (of all races) is one of the real pleasures of military service in this country.

I hope that this article doesn't describe the start of a long-term trend -- that may be good for private businesses who want to hire some of the best of the black community, but it would be a loss for the country.

4 posted on 03/04/2005 3:22:17 PM PST by 68skylark
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Flavius
This has been known for quite a while. The white enlistment bell curve trends more toward patriotism, The black enlistment bell curve trends toward education/opportunity.
5 posted on 03/04/2005 3:23:11 PM PST by D Rider
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: maestro

I've known several at workplaces that flat out said they would go to jail instead of the army if there was a draft.


6 posted on 03/04/2005 3:24:01 PM PST by G32
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: G32
Fear of being killed or injured was the top reason to avoid service for 26 percent of youth in 2004, almost double the 14 percent reported in 2000
7 posted on 03/04/2005 3:28:25 PM PST by Eva
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: G32

That speaks volumes...


8 posted on 03/04/2005 3:28:30 PM PST by Lurking2Long
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: G32
Yep....

I've known several at workplaces that flat out said they would go to jail instead of the army if there was a draft.

They know they are NOT ISSUED automatic weapons and ammo in ...'jail'?

What would happen if Automatic Weapons and Ammo WERE to be 'issued' in jail-prisons?

9 posted on 03/04/2005 3:28:37 PM PST by maestro
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: shubi
It is sad that we are losing recruits, mainly due to the misrepresentations of the leftists, who view the small number of casualties we have had as "horrendous". . . . WWII was a bloodbath of unbelieveable proportions.

Thank God they were not among Ernie Pyle's peers when Mark Clark virtually sacrificed two regiments in two days in a foolish attempt to cross the Rapido River.  (Italy)  Just like Gallipoli during WWI, the 36th ID knew it was suicidal, and they went anyway, and kept going, till higher headquarters forced Clark to call it off. . After the war, the division association succeeded in forcing Congressional hearings.  Clark got a whitewash.

10 posted on 03/04/2005 3:34:49 PM PST by Racehorse (Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Flavius

I haven't followed recent percentages, but when I last looked the percentage of blacks in the military was considerably higher than the percentage of blacks in the general population. There was no discrimination that I could see when I was in the service.

Obviously blacks are listening to their politicians, and their politicians have been viciously partisan against the war. Too bad, because as usual these politicians putting short-term political motives against the welfare of their own people.


11 posted on 03/04/2005 3:35:16 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Flavius

Funny...I've been hearing for years that minorities were forced into the military because of rampant racism in the economy.

Lefty sez minority youts' can't get a job because of the honky domination of the means of production. Lefty sez minority youts' hardest hit in combat duty, injuries and death because lack of educational assests makes 'em too ignorant for anything but the infantry.

I guess lefty is wrong, eh?


12 posted on 03/04/2005 3:37:15 PM PST by telebob
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Flavius
More opportunities for those who enlist.

To bad we just couldn't judge recruits by the content of their character ...
13 posted on 03/04/2005 3:40:23 PM PST by Mark was here (My tag line was about to be censored.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Racehorse

Until recently, there was little concern for the lives of our men by several generals in each war. In Nam Westmoreland was a nut. The body count nonsense and the various administrations' inability to fight a all out war, doomed us to many casualties.

The rules for engagement for pilots sacrificed many of them. The silly idea we needed to capture jungle to win, also cost thousands. Perhaps it was the disregard for the value of draftees lives that led to this.

Personally, I think the hippy types did a lot of damage to our ability to defend ourselves, by making the military too self-conscious and public relations oriented.

But we must have generals and admirals that understand how to conduct operations without doing stupid things that waste highly trained troops.


14 posted on 03/04/2005 3:42:25 PM PST by shubi (Peace through superior firepower.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Cicero

I can tell you that a black inner city kid has more chance of getting shot there than in battle.

Unfortunately, most of the inner city black men have felony records and are disqualified from service, anyway.


15 posted on 03/04/2005 3:44:41 PM PST by shubi (Peace through superior firepower.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Cicero
In Memphis if you are a Black youth you are 1000 times likely to be shot to death just walking down the street.

Charlie Rangle needs to be tried and shot for treason. He is aiding and abetting the enemy.
16 posted on 03/04/2005 3:46:58 PM PST by Coldwater Creek ('We voted like we prayed")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: D Rider
"The white enlistment bell curve trends more toward patriotism, The black enlistment bell curve trends toward education/opportunity."

That's one of the truths not to be spoken of, if you know what I mean. In addition, combat troops remain overwhelmingly white.

17 posted on 03/04/2005 3:49:02 PM PST by Truthsayer20
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Flavius
Rep. Charles B. Rangel, a Democrat whose New York City district includes Harlem, said he isn’t too surprised by the Army recruiting data.

“I have not found a black person in support of this war in my district,” he said. “The fact that every member of the Congressional Black Caucus emotionally, politically and vigorously opposes this war is an indication of what black folks think throughout this country

It's an indication of what liberal black CongressCritters think that's true, but otherwise it doesn't mean much

Historically southerners, both black and white, have been over-represented in the military. Inner city recruits, of whatever ethnicity, don't tend to stick around as long as suburban and rural ones. They also tend to be harder to train and create more discipline problems.

18 posted on 03/04/2005 3:56:02 PM PST by El Gato (Activist Judges can twist the Constitution into anything they want ... or so they think.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Flavius
Analysis: Study shows 41% drop in number of black Army recruits since 2000

In a few years Charlie Rangle will be complaining about the many folks getting GI money for school and so little for the blacks.

19 posted on 03/04/2005 3:56:53 PM PST by RJL
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: shubi
What will be funny is when the draft becomes necessary to fill the military and we start drafting leftists.

The last thing the Army needs is bunch of stinking leftists. What we need is a bigger army, which would reduce the deployement burden on individual soldiers somewhat, and thus inrease retention. Plus it would give us more surge and backup capability in times of real crisis.

20 posted on 03/04/2005 3:57:59 PM PST by El Gato (Activist Judges can twist the Constitution into anything they want ... or so they think.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: D Rider

actually, it largely seems a contrast of adventure/machoism(in lieu of patriotism) and education.


21 posted on 03/04/2005 3:59:29 PM PST by paulmartin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: G32

They would find themselves even more "inconvenienced" being sent to jail than drafted.


22 posted on 03/04/2005 4:00:31 PM PST by Let's Roll ("Congressmen who ... undermine the military ... should be arrested, exiled or hanged" - A. Lincoln)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Let's Roll

Do draft dodgers get worse prison treatment than your ordinary prisoner?


23 posted on 03/04/2005 4:01:28 PM PST by G32
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: El Gato
Historically southerners, both black and white, have been over-represented in the military.

Here's my analysis of the problem. Unless you are already a patriotic person with an interest in the military, the prospect of Iraq & elsewhere doesn't look too great right now. Instead of black and white, let's look at in terms of Democrats and Republicans. Dems aren't as patriotic. I bet the rate of black enlistment tracks closely to Democrats in general. Once people get in, regardless of background, I think they become patriotic and like the services.

24 posted on 03/04/2005 4:02:26 PM PST by NutCrackerBoy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: D Rider
I grew up when it was UNDERSTOOD you would serve your country. I never looked at the DRAFT as enforced servitude but....... MY DUTY to my Country........ as it was my Father's before me.

I firmly believe that if we ever do have a Congressionally declared WAR, that it will be of sufficient magnitude that the DRAFT will become necessary and we will have MASS defections to Canada and Europe

If we as a nation can suffer the attack of 911 and NOT have the RECRUITERS OFFICES FULL of volunteers then when will WE?

25 posted on 03/04/2005 4:03:24 PM PST by PISANO (We will not tire......We will not falter.......We will NOT FAIL!!! .........GW Bush [Oct 2001])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Flavius
"Fear of being killed or injured was the top reason to avoid service for 26 percent of youth in 2004, almost double the 14 percent reported in 2000."

Does this mean that 26 percent are pansies?

26 posted on 03/04/2005 4:04:29 PM PST by verity (The Liberal Media is America's Enemy)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: El Gato

I didn't say it would make for a strong Army. I said it would be funny. ;-) They could put them in pink body bags when they threw their grenades and ran under them in training.


27 posted on 03/04/2005 4:06:32 PM PST by shubi (Peace through superior firepower.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: verity

Yes, we have too many weenies and pansies in the U.S. today.

That is because, like in France, most of the brave genes die in wars.


28 posted on 03/04/2005 4:07:25 PM PST by shubi (Peace through superior firepower.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: PISANO

Amen! 911 was the worst attack we have ever suffered since the Civil War. I can't believe the press and the leftists have conspired to mimimize its import.


29 posted on 03/04/2005 4:09:04 PM PST by shubi (Peace through superior firepower.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: G32

We don't know. Our government has been to wimpy to prosecute draft dodgers.


30 posted on 03/04/2005 4:10:43 PM PST by shubi (Peace through superior firepower.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Flavius

I think the recruits that are not signing on are not the recruits you would want anyways. Could it be those are the recruits who want only benefits but not any obligations?

Could it be that some of those potential recruits are some of the infamous "gang cliques" that have been commented upon from time to time?

I also wonder how many of those 41% are of the black moslems? I don't know.


31 posted on 03/04/2005 4:11:00 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Truthsayer20

the reason is socioeconomic. poor people would go for money, wealthier ones for the experience. sadly, few today seem to actually simply go to form a defense for the country.


32 posted on 03/04/2005 4:19:33 PM PST by paulmartin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: D Rider

I hope that this works out well.


33 posted on 03/04/2005 4:22:47 PM PST by brooklin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Flavius

I think there is a big reduction because we are at war and before those signing up didn't figure to really be in one.


34 posted on 03/04/2005 4:27:22 PM PST by A CA Guy (God Bless America, God bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Flavius

"The Army is straining to meet recruiting goals in part because the number of black volunteers has fallen 41 percent — from 23.5 percent of recruits in fiscal 2000 down steadily to 13.9 percent in the first four months of fiscal 2005. "

Is this because the number of black volunteers has fallen or the number of non-black volunteers has risen? It's probably a combination of both, but the author should tell us.

I thought the war was being fought by minorities.


35 posted on 03/04/2005 4:28:12 PM PST by Tymesup
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: shubi

"What will be funny is when the draft becomes necessary to fill the military..."

Don't forget, it was Charles Rangel himself who introduced this.

He should really, really, really be ashamed of himself. From his official bio "Congressman Rangel served in the U.S. Army from 1948-52, during which time he fought in Korea and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star."

These powerlusting dems have really gone over to the dark side since Bill Clinton occaisioned them to sell their souls. It is sad, but more than that, it is dangerous. I feel like we've got to vote every single one of them out of office.


36 posted on 03/04/2005 4:43:54 PM PST by jocon307 (Vote George Washington for the #1 spot)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Flavius

I guess we are going to have to start drafting blacks into the military to fill all the affimative action minority personnel quotas.


37 posted on 03/04/2005 4:52:25 PM PST by Chewbacca (When it comes to Social Security, I'm Pro-Choice. I want to be able to opt-out.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: shubi

For a generation the over-representation of Blacks in the military was interpreted as a reflection of limited alternatives in a White-dominated economy.

Now, under the GOP and President Bush, Blacks have more alternatives than at any time in American history. It is fully predictable that, if we are doing right by Black America, their membership in the military should shrink to about the 12-13% level of the proportion of Blacks in the overall population.

I consider this finding to be EXCELLENT NEWS for a racially just America.

(GOP and Bush to Black America: "C'Mon in, the water's fine!")


38 posted on 03/04/2005 4:54:55 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: shubi

"The silly idea we needed to capture jungle to win, also cost thousands. Perhaps it was the disregard for the value of draftees lives that led to this."

All through the 60's and 70's I heard a lot about "hearts and minds," but I never heard anyone in authority say we "needed to capture jungle to win" in VietNam. And the majority of ground troops in VN were volunteers, not draftees.

Just keeping the record straight.


39 posted on 03/04/2005 5:02:29 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Tymesup

"I thought the war was being fought by minorities."

When I first read this, I thought, "You have to be kidding me." Then I thought, "Well, maybe this person doesn't know how things actually laid out in Viet Nam, that Blacks were not overrepresented. On the news, currently, you also get an image of the military that makes it seem as though the White guy is staying away."

It's not true. It is NOT true.

Myth: A disproportionate number of blacks were killed in the Vietnam War.

86% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasians, 12.5% were black, 1.2% were other races. (CACF and Westmoreland)

See "Statistics about the Viet Nam War" at http://www.vhfcn.org/stat.html

Joining the military for the opportunities, training and education, not to mention the benefits, is one thing, but it's not a side gig for many; it's an honor, and, a duty.


40 posted on 03/04/2005 5:13:17 PM PST by combat_boots (Dug in and not budging an inch.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: hinckley buzzard

I am a Navy Nam combat vet. I think it depends what years you are talking about as far as proportion of volunteers is concerned. When I went in, they were drafting Marines.

The hearts and minds thing was not well executed. We were restricted from mining harbors, shutting off supplies to NVN from the USSR and going into the areas where they were staging in Laos and Cambodia.

We also kept letting them up after we bombed them effectively. We took hills and jungle for no real reason at the cost of many lives. But we won every military battle. OUr politicians betrayed us, with the coercion of the commies in this country. Now, many of them are professors teaching our kids to be wimps.


41 posted on 03/04/2005 5:17:20 PM PST by shubi (Peace through superior firepower.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: hinckley buzzard

I don't think blacks have ever been over represented in the military.


42 posted on 03/04/2005 5:19:20 PM PST by shubi (Peace through superior firepower.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: jocon307

They just can't stand being out of power. Of course, they corrupted everything while they were in power.

Now, if we could just get the Republicans to exercise power, things would get better.


43 posted on 03/04/2005 5:22:48 PM PST by shubi (Peace through superior firepower.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: shubi

"Now, if we could just get the Republicans to exercise power, things would get better."

Agreed, I like your formulation!


44 posted on 03/04/2005 5:26:10 PM PST by jocon307 (Vote George Washington for the #1 spot)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: shubi

Could it be that the economy has improved so much that the black men who might have looked at the military as a job opportunity, have found other, more lucrative possibilities?


45 posted on 03/04/2005 5:30:32 PM PST by SuziQ
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Tymesup

"Is this because the number of black volunteers has fallen or the number of non-black volunteers has risen?"

Oh gosh, that's a good point, isn't it!

They didn't meet their numbers for February, that I know. But it is a horrible thing the way the left-wing mainstrean media is turning the public against military service. They are making this war into some kind of a blood bath, when actually it is basically a miracle, we over threw a government of a big country and, to date, have only lost 1500 soliders. I don't know how many people have been maimed, but I do know this is a very low casualty level for what has been achieved.


46 posted on 03/04/2005 5:33:29 PM PST by jocon307 (Vote George Washington for the #1 spot)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: Flavius
The Army is straining to meet recruiting goals in part because the number of black volunteers has fallen 41 percent — from 23.5 percent of recruits in fiscal 2000 down steadily to 13.9 percent in the first four months of fiscal 2005.

I lament the drop in new recruits, but I don't see how it is a problem that the number of black enlistee's is roughly proportional to the percentage that blacks make up in the American population. Must be some kind of racial bean counter thing.

47 posted on 03/04/2005 5:34:53 PM PST by EricT. (Join the Soylent Green Party...We recycle dead environmentalists.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Truthsayer20; rdb3

No what do you mean? I live in a predominantly black and hispanic area and the recruiters push the college money thing a lot and downplay the whole "God and country" angle almost down to nothing.


48 posted on 03/04/2005 5:39:05 PM PST by cyborg (http://mentalmumblings.blogspot.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: jocon307

Charlie Rangel wanted the draft back in an attempt to help Kerry win. There's also a concerted effort to keep recruiters OUT of public high schools as well. I wonder what effect on enrollments does that have.


49 posted on 03/04/2005 5:41:22 PM PST by cyborg (http://mentalmumblings.blogspot.com/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: shubi

No question the VN ground war was poorly executed, and politically hamstrung; but the military strategies were not bad. The "strategic hamlet" concept was the closest we really came to thinking territorily, and that was abandoned by the late 60's.

Taking hills and then walking down off them was exactly the kind of thing which I would cite as evidence we did NOT think about conquering territory (jungle or otherwise) as a key to victory. The idea was, you held key terrain features in order to disrupt the operations of a foot-bound enemy force. When the enemy no longer operated in the area, you no longer needed to hold Hill 880.

Under McNamara we embarked on a war of attrition against the VC, in which we would grind them up and sustain whatever casualties we had to, indefinitely, while the South somehow forged a viable noncommunist government.

Clearly we bollixed it up, with a little help form our "friends" like Walter "the chickenshit liar" Cronkite.

In VietNam, consistently AFAIK, the combat ground troops were about 30% Black, a clear over-representation by a factor of three. Even so, most volunteered to go there.

While we did indeed draft Marines for awhile, the troops who went to VN were largely volunteers. Most troops who served during the VN era never went to SE Asia; and of those who did, only about one out of seven ground troops in theater ever saw combat action.

If you separate out the last few years, say 1970-74, then I couldn't say. But we were well into withdrawal by then too, and the game was up for all intents. Casualty rates had dropped dramatically, the cliche being that "search and destroy" had been replaced by "search and avoid."

Although that wasn't fair to many valiant troops, the idea was alive and well that nobody wanted to be the last man to die for a mistake.

I am not that familiar with naval personnel and would not want to try to apply the Army parameters to the Navy (or USAF.) In any case, Thanks to You for your service. All the greatest respect to combat vets.


50 posted on 03/04/2005 5:48:25 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-80 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson