Ethics of Military Recruitment on SMC Campus

In light of the current economic crisis, military enlistments have remained steady.

Yet some local recruiters say they are seeing
increasing interest.

Despite the upswing, there are numerous reasons why people continue to steer away from the military, no matter how bleak the job market seems.

Sgt. Anthony Torres has encountered many people in his role as Station Commander at the US Army Recruiting Station in Santa Monica.

A common reason for rebuffing is the myriad of long-standing, yet erroneous notions that many people tend to have about the military.

"One of the biggest misconceptions is someone walks into a recruiting station, and they're in," Torres said. "You can't sign anything in a recruiting station to have you join the military."

While this may be true, various recruiting tactics continue to deter people from enlisting.

Santa Monica College student Kevin Marroquin was once highly intrigued by the military. He
considered following in his brother's
footsteps and joining the Marines, but
eventually chose college.

Marroquin's decision was influenced by stories from his brother, as well as his own experience with recruiters on campus.

"They just give you the good side of things. They offer to pay for school but don't include the rigors of training," said Marroquin.

Another reason for snubbing the military is the perception that the military preys on ignorant, underprivileged youth while sparing
those of affluent backgrounds. Torres,
however, refutes this claim.

"I don't try to talk someone out of what their goals are," Torres said. "We just talk to them about how we can help them with whatever goals they have."

Torres said that there really is no difference between recruiting at community colleges such as SMC, and four-year universities.

"We just gear our programs to suit the needs of the students, Torres says. "If we're on the campus for a fouryear university, we're going to talk to them about our part-time programs because they're in school for four
years. There's no reason to tell a
four -year student whose goal is to graduate to drop everything and join the Army. Whereas if we're talking to community college students, we may talk to them more about full-time options because they may not plan to go to college afterwards."

Torres also says he does not see President Obama's plan to exit Iraq by 2010 influencing recruitment. "We have pretty much the same mission regardless of who the Commander-in-Chief is," Torres says.

Part of that mission is meeting yearly recruitment quotas. According to the Department of Defense's website, every branch of the military met or exceeded its enlistment goals for the fiscal year of 2008.

While the U.S. military may have many detractors due to its involvement in the war in Iraq, it still has supporters.

Ron Brewington is a professor of Broadcasting at SMC. He also served in the U.S. Navy for 20 years. Brewington cites the Navy with providing him with discipline, and
says the military can do the same for others.
"One of the things that helps a lot of young people who come into the military is they get an opportunity to get their first exposure to discipline," Brewington said. "You get an opportunity in the military to get that needed exposure to make a better adult out of you, to make a better
American out of you."

In his support, Brewington often disagrees with critics of military recruiting.
Brewington said, "From what I can see, a lot of challenges are from parents, educators and uninformed people who don't realize or don't appreciate what freedom is all