An Honorable Military Profession

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - May 16, 2007
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(This Saturday is Armed Forces Day. The semi-holiday was declared by President Truman and has been observed since 1950.)

It’s a rare day when I agree with any Wall Street Journal editorial page item. But the paper was right in questioning why Americans seem to have gone so sour on our armed forces.

I don’t know if it’s a phase we’re going through or something more ominous.

There was a Honolulu Weekly article in March decrying Hawaii’s participation in THAAD, the interceptor-and-detection High-Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system. What, we should sit here with Pacific Fleet, Fleet Marine Force Pacific, Pacific Air Force and Pacific Command headquarters and not be planning missile defense?

Maybe the writer was making a case for having no military presence in the Islands. I don’t know. Can we even do that?

That issue aside, there’s nothing wrong about having a strong, modernly armed, well-paid military force. It would be wrong to lay down our arms and promise to only play kissy-face.

Plus, the armed forces don’t run this country. All the mistakes that were made from the Korean through Iraq wars were made by civilians who give the orders.

Bob Jones did three years in the U.S. Air Force
Bob Jones did three years in the
U.S. Air Force

So why is it that so many Americans feel it’s wrong to have the military doing recruiting on college campuses or have a college ROTC presence when military service is voluntary and a perfectly OK, legal job and profession?

Why, as the Journal asked, did most newspapers and TV newscasts ignore the 42-year-late awarding of the Medal of Honor to Vietnam helicopter pilot Bruce Crandall at age 74?

Why have we still not appropriated money for full scholarships for combat vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan? Why don’t they get first-in-line for lowest rate mortgages and subsidized education for their children? Why that crappy service at Walter Reed Army Medical Center?

But my main question is why so many Americans appear to treat the military as the cause of our global problems. It’s not as if our soldiers at Schofield Barracks or the Kaneohe Marine base were parading with signs saying “please send me to Iraq to kill people.”

I find military service to be honorable and a military career to be appropriate for many men and women. I’d like to see a quickie military training course made mandatory for men and women between their 18th and 25th birthdays. I’d like to see women OK’d for all combat duties they physically can handle.

I did three years Air Force. It didn’t make me a bad person. It opened my eyes to the rest of the world, gave me a law degree, taught me German and French, and showed me that some of us definitely aren’t cut out to take orders from dummies.

Many of our young men and women leave the military with skills that get them high-paying jobs in civilian industry. That seems to be especially true in the Navy, maybe the most technical of the services.

So you won’t read me bad-mouthing military service.

I figure sooner rather than later we’re going to need those people, and I want motivated professionals on the job.

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