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   xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Jan 11 01:17 AM

Jan 11, 2009: Uncle Sam Wants You

Close by Cellarland the U.S. Army has closed five small recruiting offices, because they have been replaced by a whopper.

At the Franklin Mills mall here, past the Gap Outlet and the China Buddha Express, is a $13 million video arcade that the Army hopes will become a model for recruitment in urban areas, where the armed services typically have a hard time attracting recruits.

The Army Experience Center is a fitting counterpart to the retail experience: 14,500 square feet of mostly shoot-’em-up video games and three full-scale simulators, including an AH-64 Apache Longbow helicopter, an armed Humvee and a Black Hawk copter with M4 carbine assault rifles. For those who want to take the experience deeper, the center has 22 recruiters. Or for more immediate full-contact mayhem, there are the outlet stores.

Wolf will be there, post haste.

The Army recruited 80,517 active personnel in the fiscal year that ended in October, slightly surpassing its goal of 80,000, though as in recent years it fell below its goal of having 90 percent of recruits be high school graduates.
This is going to be the new model for urban recruitment centers. They are looking for the games to draw them in, so they can tell them there can be more for them in the Army than just being the combat grunts that are in the news.

“We want to put people in the Army, but that’s about our third priority,” Sergeant Jennings said, gesturing to a kiosk with descriptions of 179 jobs in the Army, including details on salaries and benefits. “Most people think joining the Army means being a grunt, and that Iraq equals death. We try to show them that there’s more to the Army than carrying a gun. If people come in here and they learn that but they don’t join, that’s O.K.”
But if they do want to join up, there are 22 recruiters in casual dress.

But for the Army Experience Center, the results so far have been less than spectacular. Since it opened, about 35 visitors have enlisted. That is slightly below the previous recruitment rate at the five smaller stations, Sergeant Jennings said, at a time when the slumping economy would be expected to drive more people to enlist.

Wombat  Sunday Jan 11 05:20 PM

So they're selling it by making it look fun. When did war become fun?

xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Jan 11 05:43 PM

I think they're using the super-sized video games to draw a crowd, thinking if they can convince some people to sign up specifically for the noncombat positions, it will free up the people currently doing those jobs.

Even the Army isn't that naive. Trying to convince anyone that war is all fun and games, with the media and internet coverage, wouldn't work.

Mr. George said he did not think the video game accurately conveyed the combat experience.
“In this one, you can die as much as you like, but in real war it’s not possible,” he said. “The reality of military service is beyond what you think. Here you can go back and replay, but in real life if you get shot you get shot. So it’s an entertainment, but it makes you think.”

TheMercenary  Sunday Jan 11 06:15 PM

"The Army recruited 80,517 active personnel in the fiscal year that ended in October, slightly surpassing its goal of 80,000, though as in recent years it fell below its goal of having 90 percent of recruits be high school graduates."

Sad statement but a sign of the times. That may change as more people find themselves out of work.

Trilby  Sunday Jan 11 06:26 PM

Originally Posted by Wombat View Post
So they're selling it by making it look fun. When did war become fun?
When the Jets and the Sharks mixed it up. That was fun. ('till Nardo and Tony died and then we all learned our lesson)

Razzmatazz13  Sunday Jan 11 09:52 PM

It'll change once the military is the only way to pay for college, sigh.

floatingk  Monday Jan 12 12:32 AM

Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
Even the Army isn't that naive.
Maybe they are.... desperate after that last war games....

Sundae  Monday Jan 12 07:41 AM

If I could go back and slap my 16 yo self about a bit, I'd tell her to join the Army (I'm too claustrophobic for the Navy).

It just wasn't the done thing for girls back then - you had to be pretty determined and willing to put up with negative attitude. It crossed my mind a couple of times between 16-18, but it wasn't a strong enough desire to really make me go for it.

I think I would have ended up with much more confidence in myself, more discipline and maybe even managed to avoid depression. Although saying that, I might also have found myself bewildered in a civilian world after my term was over and sunk into alcoholism and suicide...

lookout123  Monday Jan 12 02:53 PM

going into the military at 17 is probably the single best choice i ever made. the military didn't change me but it did reveal some parts of me that at 17 I had no clue about. until then I'd never seen myself as a leader and I certainly never considered the idea of self sufficiency before.

the military isn't right for everyone, but it is a great experience for most.

BrianR  Sunday Jan 18 01:34 AM

I'm with him! ^^^

The Navy was the best thing that ever happened to me, forcing me to grow up, quit being an asshole (some would argue I never outgrew that) and teaching me to cope better with reality. The lessons remain forever...

Of course, there's the wife, but that's mandatory.

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