A Familiar Song

That it remains relevant is, I suppose, why I keep hearing it decade after decade.
The vast majority of service members are male, the South is overrepresented, and perhaps most worrisome, military service has increasingly become a family affair....

Families also carry the costs of military service, and surveys indicate military spouses are as likely to have a parent who served as service members today, many of whom already have a child serving as well. This used to be far closer to the norm – with 77% of adults over 50 indicating they had an immediate family member who served, as compared to only 33% of those ages 18–29. These surveys echo the Department of Defense’s own findings that approximately 80% of enlisted recruits have a family member who served, with over 25% noting they had a parent who served. Though it varies from service to service, the trendline in American society is stark.
The most current figures are that the military is 65% white, 80% male, and 44% Southern. When we discussed it nine years ago, the only other region that was over-represented was the Mountain West, and I'll bet that remains true.

1 comment:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

The 77% over 50 likely included WWII and Korea vets in the generation older than them. Fathers and uncles. Those wars still drew from the general population (though the south was over-represented then as well, just less so). Vietnam still had a draft, and while there were also volunteers, there was a better distribution then as well. The all-volunteer army changed everything, and created something of a warrior class.

New Hampshire still has more people in the military than do the other NE states, but the difference is slight, and the region in general has had low military participation for decades. (Three of the states have low populations anyways, so it would be hard to tell without looking at the whole picture.) When I went to basic training graduations at Parris Island and Ft Leonard Wood, New England home towns were thin on the ground.

I am recalling James Webb's Born Fighting. It's not just the South, it's the Highland South and the places they settled out to Texas, I'll bet. More Gatlinburg than Myrtle Beach.