Death, PTSD, and family separation, vice ‘wokeness,’ working against recruiting

| February 12, 2023

The results of a survey showed that young individuals in the target recruiting age have different concerns than what had been posited. Instead of issues related to ‘wokeness’ in the military, respondents pointed to the fear of death, the fear of getting PTSD, and the fear of being away from family and friends as reasons for not wanting to serve. Others did not want to put their lives on hold.

From ABC News:

Fink, the Army’s marketing head, said the top three reasons young people cite for rejecting military enlistment are the same across all the services: fear of death, worries about post-traumatic stress disorder and leaving friends and family — in that order. He said the Army wanted a better understanding of any additional barriers to service, beyond those top three.

By a “significant margin,” he said, the most common response beyond Nos. 1-3 was, “I will be putting my life on hold.” That was cited by more than 1 in 5 people surveyed.

Many young people do not know anyone in the Army and are unfamiliar with the jobs or benefits it offers. Fink said trust in government institutions, including the military, has declined, particularly among this group.

“They just don’t perceive the Army as being in touch with the modern, everyday culture that they’re used to,” he said.

Fink said about 10% in the surveys say they do not trust military leadership, based on the way recent events or missions have been handled. That could include the Afghanistan withdrawal or use of the military during racial unrest and protests in the United States.

Other reasons get much smaller mentions. They include concerns about living conditions on military bases, getting assigned to unwanted jobs, the coronavirus vaccine and the “wokeness” issue.

In some cases, those reasons vary by region. But Fink said the “wokeness” issue was pretty consistent — between 4% and 5% across the nation, without much variance by gender or ethnicity.

ABC News has the rest of the story here.

Category: Army, Army News

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Old tanker

“F” woke.


Use a condom, don’t catch AIDS.


When it becomes the time to defend the country it will be the armed citizens that will have to defend themselves . The survey did not include “fighting other nations wars for them “.


Jus’ sayin’

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4-5% is nearly within the margin of error for the survey. I never thought it was wokeness myself and still don’t. After the catastrophic withdraw from Afghanistan kids took notice. That is when recruiting crashed. Kids don’t want to die young for a leadership that doesn’t care about them.


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Much like it was last time. Déjà vu.
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Last edited 9 months ago by Anonymous
Forest Bondurant

Curious that photo comparison. One CH-46 involved in the evacuation and surrender in Afghanistan was used to evacuate Saigon. The helicopter was once flown by the USMC but then transferred to the State Department. Same bureau number…


I have about 5 sarcastic and bitter comments, but I will refrain.

I will say this is a symptom of a greater issue- the Army, of all services, most reflects the state of society.

we have a generation coming of age that sees no value in service to the nation or their community.

The fact is we are in an era of unparalleled comfort and prosperity, and there is simply no room in their worldview for sacrifice, commitment, or loyalty to a higher purpose.

We see it now most prominently in military service, but if you look closer you’ll see it in first responders, teachers, medical care, and on down the line.

You are all probably familiar with Huxley’s A Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984. You should all find Burgess’ 1985 (yeah, the Clockwork Orange guy)

Only Army Mom

I tend to be skeptical of any results that produce confirmation bias for the entity asking the question. Here, Army is looking to prove it is not their wokeness, failure of leadership or the current political climate that is the issue and what do you know, they found that exact result.

I don’t disagree with your take on much of the current generation, but I think it is more nuanced than that.

This generation isn’t interested in “service” not only, or in my opinion primarily, out of selfishness. They look at the world and see those “in service” – police, teachers, medical professionals, etc. not being respected or rewarded by society, forget financially.

This is not a new trend but a continuation of a constant erosion of respect for “service” in this society.

And in case I wasn’t clear – I do not believe this report. I do believe a marketing campaign loaded the survey to get the results they wanted.


Well, yes, this generation sees service as a no win scenario.

I disagree on the confirmation bias. The Army ran the survey because it missed recruiting mission last year and probably will this year- the leaders want to fill boots, and they are trying to figure out why they can’t.

Only Army Mom

I hear you and get the why of the survey, I just can’t believe they are that stupid. I do believe, however, they do know why and are doing what they can to shift blame.


Not sure I follow you- senior leaders are always out of touch with the generation that they are trying to recruit.

Thus the survey- why aren’t people joining, and what can we do to change their minds?

As far as blame, it doesn’t really matter- we aren’t filling boots.


Young people I’ve talked to have no problem with service and love their country. They are disappointed with the direction of the country and the military in general and don’t want to get involved because it looks like a shit show with low standards and a leadership that doesn’t care about them. In the words of one young Marine “ I thought I was going to be a badass, and do challenging exciting things. After sitting in tranny class and being lectured on what I should believe. I can’t wait to get out and go to college at least then I can get a job and make money. Waste of time “. Kid is behind his peers by years, has been treated like an 8 year old, did nothing exciting, for shit money. These kids talk to each other, good luck recruiting them.


Being a selfish dirtbag without personal responsibility is “poh-tential” for great things (according to progressives) today.
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Last edited 9 months ago by Anonymous

Spot on


I was saying this a week ago. Our culture has produced a generation that does not see the value of work (not even hard work) and has no sense of responsibility or service to anyone but the self.

We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful. —C.S. Lewis


Oh bullshit. The unemployment rate of 25-35 year olds hovers under 5%. Among college age kids it is under 7.5%. The kids are working, most with better numbers than when I was growing up. They just don’t see any reason to sign up for some war dreamed up by the sharp pencil crowd in the Pentagon.

I’d say most have a point too. I see no value in us sticking our noses in Syria, Libya, Somalia and a host other places. They may be over estimating their actual risk with service but that isn’t the point. The point is they don’t want to go somewhere they can’t pick off a map of the globe and potentially die a meaningless death.

USMC Steve

But most of those dolts cannot find their own state on a map, let alone places in foreign lands.


Oh, bullshit. We aren’t recruiting 25-35 year olds. We are recruiting 17 and 18 year olds.

Aside from that, a low unemployment rate is a leading indicator of a bad recruiting market.

And, finally, you are echoing the findings of the survey, which you already said you don’t believe. Which is it?


When your military isn’t perceived as tough, the tough adventurous young men find better opportunities. And they talk to each other, social media allows kids a picture of their peers lives in real time. If a kid says something sucks every one of his friends knows it in real time.


No doubt. Most Zoomers get their information from social media- they follow you tubers, IG, MilTok, Reddit, etc.

And the picture they see generally portrays a crappy life. Go to USArmy WTF to get your updates on moldy, flooded barracks and crappy NCO leadership.

Very little about trans or gay or other woke issues. Why? Because they were indoctrinated into that in High School and it is part of their environment.

Most of their friends are woke, they have more than one gay friend, and probably a friend or acquaintance who is trans maybe even a teacher).


Sorry guy I have no idea what kind of school your kids went to but I’m in liberal ass New England have been involved in my kids life and know their friends. Both went to college, both had to deal with woke teachers and peers, guess what? The woke kids are not very popular they are a minority and generally ridiculed. I’ve also been a coach and I honestly can say the woke, trans, freaky fucks are a very small group and would be an inconsequential minority if it wasn’t for social media and the attention given by the media. Bottom line the earlier generations boomers and X are the ones that started this mess and are promoting this agenda. Stop blaming the kids, they are not the ones who started this mess our generations are. If anything our generations are guilty of fucking this country up.

AT1 ret

*repeatedly mashes up thumb button


I joined in 1980 and served 25 years. I characterize my time as one of Reagan’s Cold Warriors and proud of it. Today, I don’t think I’d last one enlistment.


Don’t forget, the “woke”-sters are the ones who sell the military as atrocity-committing losers who couldn’t get a job otherwise and how much being a veteran “used” by the system sucks. It’s more than just transgender training.


That attitude has been around for a long time. I joined in 1980 and it was around then.

I grew up just north of NYC so you can imagine that there were a LOT of “wokesters” in my town.

My “friends” couldn’t believe that I joined the Navy, Just could not wrap their heads around it. I was wasting my life in their opinion.

Well, I may not be a millionaire, but I can say without a doubt I had a more consequential (and more fun) professional career than they ever dreamed of having.


Same for me – I also joined in 1980. A kid from a middle-class suburb of Denver joining the military was almost unheard of. I think in my graduating class of 1980 fewer than 10 ever went into the service out of more than 500.

When I told people I was going into the Army in 1980 their reaction – no lie – was for them to get a puzzled look on their face and say “Why? Couldn’t get into college?”

They genuinely did not understand why someone with options would enlist in the military. Couldn’t wrap their heads around it. In their world view military service was for those people who had no other options.

It seems we are returning to that era.

Last edited 9 months ago by Martinjmpr

The military isn’t what it used to be.

Conboy, E

commander in cheese


It never was.

A Proud Infidel®™

GEE WHIZ what a surprise – NOT!!!

I just wonder how many millions of dollars will now be squandered on focus groups and think tanks to “remedy” the mess they’ve made?


Who made the mess? The military reflects the values of the nation. The problem is the prevalent culture in the US. It isn’t Milley or McConville, it’s Lizzo and Cardi B


Well, if our military reflects the values of progressive D-rats, socialists, crypto-communists, race baiters, and anarchists, then the nation is doomed to military defeat at some point.


Those surveys were conducted over four months last spring and summer. They involved about 600 respondents, ages 16 to 28, per month. The Army discussed the general findings with The Associated Press but declined to provide detailed methodology, saying the surveys were done by a private research contractor and that licensing agreements limited the public release of some data collection details.

Well, isn’t that special.

The Army won’t release the raw data (what were the exact questions asked; what were the available answers for multiple choice questions; where and how were the questions administered).

But hey, they got the answer the Army wanted, so no problems.

Only Army Mom

Bingo! Whenever the exact survey -including the questions, the participant selection criteria, etc. -is not released, the results are suspect at best.


What do you think is the real problem? Are you saying that there are thousands of motivated young Americans willing and able to join the Army but they won’t because they think it’s too woke?

Or, could the obvious be true- America has produced a generation of coddled, entitled, soft youth that do not see the value of service to anything but the self?


No one is trying to recruit the people on this site. We are trying to recruit Gen Z. They see the world, the nation, the culture, and the military differently from the type of person who served and is still interested in the military (in other words, everyone posting here).

So, everyone here thinks Zoomers and soon to be Gen A is fit, capable, dedicated to the American nation, and ready to serve, but they just can’t get down with diversity training?

How do you reconcile that with the facts that Gen Z is producing the most trans people in history, is the ‘queerest’ ever known, and have the highest rates of depression and other disorders, and have had a screen in their hand 15 or more hours a day?

I know there will be widespread objection to any sources I post, so I invite all of you spend a few minutes researching Gen Z.

Only Army Mom

Steeleyl, we seem to be disagreeing on different points. I am quite familiar with the generational issues and I don’t disagree that the pool of potential candidates is pretty well dried up, for lots of reasons.

I also see the best and brightest turning away from military careers in large part because of the way these professions are not valued in our society. Veterans are treated badly and going into the military is no different than college with ridiculous amounts of focus on “wokeness”. I have many kids of friends who are currently in the E1 to E6 ranks. Other kids of lifers are not going in at all or are leaving service specifically because of wokeness. It’s not their parents’ military anymore.

Also, my main point is my lack of trust in this report due to lack of transparency on what was asked, the selection criterion of participants and the lack of transparency of the hypothesis. In other words, I believe a desired answer was sought and found.


“…I believe a desired answer was sought and found.”

“Give me the results I want to see!”

“Sir, Yes Sir!”  :saluting: 


Spot on. Does anyone really believe this stuff.


I’ll just stick this right here…
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“Veterans are treated badly”

News to me.


Every generation had its freaks, losers, slackers and stoners. Every generation says the next one is weak and spoiled. But we always seem forget that the last generation raised the next, they are a reflection of you. The Vietnam era is widely regarded as having been excessively spoiled by the WW2/ depression era generation and thought of as week slackers and yet they turned out a great deal of incredible people. Every generation is flawed. The military is supposed to be apolitical, teaching woke ideology and forcing some new social order down the troops throat is a breach of faith that shouldn’t be tolerated.


Would you join today? I don’t know any veterans that want their kids to join, well maybe one but the kids a rock and I don’t mean hard but fuuuckin dumber than dirt.


Try a bit of both. The latter has always been there, but when you add the woke bullshit, those who would have considered it stay away in droves.

The horror stories I hear from my nephew make me wonder why anyone would join now.

Conboy, E

Maybe they are just skeered?

jeff LPH 3 63-66

At least Fink is not being a fink about letting everyone know the reasons why getting these kids will not join the Military.
What a difference it is now since I joined up.


“…the fear of being away from family and friends as reasons for not wanting to serve. Others did not want to put their lives on hold.”

Well, they have a point about the first reason, but I sure as fuck didn’t put my life on hold when I joined the USN. Hell, it was an E ticket ride at the carnival for at least the first ten years!


Someone tell all the soi-bois that we have Starbucks on most bases nowadays.

It seems these wokesters don’t mind a “minor sacrifice” as long as it fits their narrative. They will spend time protesting in the street supporting supposedly “wronged” people that they don’t even know, as long as they can go home at night and sleep in their safe space. Makes them feel like they are doing their part for the world. Climate change, green new deal, socialism; they are new age warriors who don’t need the military to provide their opportunity to “fight”.


One incentive gives recruiters bonuses of up to $4,500 per quarter if they exceed their baseline enlistment requirement.

They’re trying… I had 6 years as an Army Recruiter in Chicago. Meanwhile an article I saw in the local JBLM “Ranger” newspaper this past week had this:

“The Army now has official rappers among its ranks with a mission to turn the service cool … finally.”

“Staff Sgts. Lamar Riddick and Nicholas Feemster were selected as the first two vocalists with the U.S. Army Field Band to serve as full-time rappers ”
“Riddick and Feemster auditioned to serve in this capacity with the band in 2021 before completing basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.”


There is also an Army E Sports Team.


So they auditioned to be RAPPERS…got accepted…and then came in as SSgts?



That’s how the Army Band works- all the services do it (not so sure if the Space Force has a band yet.)

Green Thumb

I met General Fink.

Fucking clown.

Bullshit article. I can only imagine the questions (survey) were designed as to not be sensitive to “woke” subjects so not to have significant weight to factor in on results compilation.

Or, simply. All-Points Logistics received the contract to design. disseminate and collect the survey results.


“…Army discussed the general findings with The Associated Press but declined to provide detailed methodology.”

Pretty much all I need, thx.


I find it highly suspect that “fear of death” in combat is a deterrent to enlistment in the military. Most 17- to 25-year-old males tend to think of themselves as indestructible or immortal. Based upon what I have seen of young males over the past 60 years, their lack of concern for personal safety seems quite consistent. After about four or five months of service in a rifle company in the Viet of the Nam, Ranger School, and jump school, I was reasonably certain I could survive anything soldiering had to offer. I agree with others here that this is a PR excuse for the lack of appeal of our armed forces because of their bizarre attempt at woketardism. I bet most females don’t have a desire to shower with a “chick with a dick” in an Army showeroom.


Sure, but you are from a completely different era- out of curiosity, did you enlist or were you drafted?

Here’s why I ask: The last time the Army missed mission, I was talking to a 101st Vietnam vet; an older black man who enlisted and later went to OCS and ended up as a Corps G-3 as a full Colonel.

He told me how he graduated from High School in the early ’60s, with no concept of college or the Army, and looking for work. He had no luck, because everywhere he went he was asked if he had done his service yet. When he said no, they refused to hire him.

Finally, he asked the owner of a service station why this was such a big deal. The guy told him ‘first, I don’t want to take you on and then lose you when you get drafted. Second, the Army will teach you discipline and the basic skills I am looking for. Most importantly, you aren’t really a man until you’ve done your service.’


Neither. Commissioned as an RA infantry officer.


I did too (well, I was OTRA started in the Guard and went Active about a year later.

I recommend Dereliction of Duty, if you haven’t read it. Bottom line, we had leaders actively lying to the American people about Vietnam. It makes what we see today seem very tame.

Do you think we could have filled the ranks without the draft? Would there have been enough volunteers? We had over 500,000 troops in Vietnam at one point- that’s more than total Compo 1 (active Army) endstrength today.


Actually, about half of those in infantry units had RA serial numbers. Anyway, that was my experience in two rifle companies, in two different divisions.


“Would there have been enough volunteers?”

There weren’t enough volunteers, that’s why we had the draft. Even in peacetime before Vietnam, in the late 50s and early 60s, there were not enough volunteers.


Do you think we could have filled the ranks without the draft?”

Exactly. However, the nation tolerated compulsory service- we’d had it since before WWII, and it was part of the culture.

Korean War vets were Greatest Generation, Vietnam was Boomers who’s parents were Greatest Generation. The nation had a culture of service- The biggest rock star the world had ever seen served, the presidents were vets if not war heroes (LBJ being the notable exception)-even JFK said ‘Ask not…’

We are trying to fill the ranks with Gen Z- the only generation more woke than Millenials, and they were raised by Gen X, the generation that just wants to watch the world burn. Would the nation tolerate a draft today?


Not a LBJ fan but he was a Lt commander and silver star winner.

pookysgirl, WC wife

“Most 17- to 25-year-old males tend to think of themselves as indestructible or immortal.”

I see this all the time due to our local college layout. Who hits the crosswalk light button, looks both ways and crosses in groups? The girls. Who wanders out onto the busy highway without hitting the button and often don’t even use the designated crosswalk? The boys. My sister-in-law works for the college and she says that every year they have at least one student get hit by a car.


Bingo. They have alienated those traditional recruits and need to lower standards. The generation isn’t the problem the leadership is.


Often is.


Even Starship Troopers (da moovie) didn’t have that:

Prior Service

So the fear of death has increased now that we are basically done with the long wars…what? Separation and lives on hold has never not been an issue…it’s the military. The variables that have changed are perceptions (or reality) of leader ineptitude, wokeness, and an ever increasing reality of selfishness and uselessness in the rising generation.

Green Thumb

Why would you want to join?

The Army is straight up lying now.

What makes you think they will change?

Odd way to look at it, huh?


Seems odd to us, but it’s the reality. There seems to be a crisis of leadership in addition to the current problems with meeting recruiting targets.

Veritas Omnia Vincit

Yeah, personal safety that’s the real over arching issue….we’ve created a generation of kids who live every day in fear…fear of words, fear of conflict, fear of every goddamn thing you can imagine….

When I was 19 I was invincible…until I wasn’t….but “fear” was never a factor in my thought process because bad shit always happened to someone else, until it didn’t…but at 19 how many of you were afraid for your personal safety before you encountered a reason to be in the military?

For me the failure of the government to fully honor the commitment it claims to make to the troops, in post-service health care, in fair compensation for the hours and separation endured, in basic decency in supporting the people they claim mean so much to the “mission”.

Veritas Omnia Vincit

When it’s public knowledge that the government treats veterans like third class citizens, labeling as threats to Homeland Security, with poor VA care in far too many locations, piss poor wages, etc, etc etc….it’s not just safety regardless of what the “survey” states.

For the first time in our history boomer are leaving the workforce in the greatest number this nation has ever seen. As we boomers continue to age out of the workforce young people have a unique moment in history where the number of colleges and employers have openings that exceed the number of available workers…meaning they have options, lots and lots of options that were never available previously…

A kid with no experience who passes the civil service test can start at the post office for $20/hr in my area with full benefits. Why would they join the military for half that? These kids are starting out earning over $40k in a great many entry level positions simply because the private sector needs them…

Veritas Omnia Vincit

The military simply can’t compete. For the average American military service has long held little value. That trend has only increased over the last 50 years to the point where less than 1% of the population serves…

The military talks a great deal about their concerns and passion for the people who serve but their actions seem to negate the truth of exactly how much the military “cares” for the troops…

It’s time for a sea change in leadership values where the troops are actually a priority over the career path of the lifers.

Or not, and we’ll keep seeing “studies” to try and find out why people won’t join instead of confronting the obvious.


You nailed it


“the government treats veterans like third class citizens,”

How so? I have certainly seen no signs of that.

USMC Steve

This is a slow but sure result of the socialist democrat pussification of America.


Let me just throw some numbers out there. A recruiting year is the same as a fiscal year and begins on October 1st:

2019 G= 68K A= 68K+
2020 G= 61.2K A= 61.2K+
2021 G= 57.5K A= 57.5k+
2022 G= 60K A= 44K

Only two things were different in 2022. The Afghanistan withdraw failure that took place almost at the end of RY21 and the Ukraine War. We aren’t in the war but lots of people think we will be.

The kids of 2019-2021 were exactly the same kids. Blaming the kids for leadership failures is really sloppy.

Last edited 9 months ago by 5JC

A few things more than those 2 issues and they are biggies, but yes blaming the kids is just plain wrong.They didn’t fuck this country up, our generations did, our generations allowed and actively participated in this country’s decline. This generation are kids with no power the boomers, gen x,z are the ones that screwed the pooch.


And this ain’t going to go over well but us boomers are the generation that started this mess.


We are what “The Greatest Generation” made us.


Boomers rebelled against their parents generation, not all but enough. There was undoubtedly injustice that needed to be addressed, no reasonable person could deny that, but it wasn’t enough to address the problems a large segment of the boomers while still in their youth and not knowing any better undermined the entire system. We are still paying the price now. Also boomers where raised by the greatest generation and largely spoiled by the generation of the depression and WW2, they experienced prosperity never seen before. They definitely were products of the greatest generation.


I actually think the study got it right, though. We might piss and moan about “wokeness” or “sensitivity training” but that’s a symptom, not a cause.

The generation of 18 – 25 year olds today has been immersed in a culture that does not value service to others and which particularly sees the military as either a tool of oppression and exploitation, or a place you go if you don’t have any other options.

If the question is “why aren’t young people joining the military” then the wrong question is being asked. The real question should be “why would ANYBODY want to join the military?”

People who enlist because they don’t have a job and can’t afford college are seen as pathetic victims of an unjust society.

People who enlist because they want to ‘serve their country’ are seen as either woefully naive or stump-stupid Forrest Gumps, or anger-filled racists who join the military so they can kill brown people.

Why would any 18 year old want to join that?


Well again, the problem didn’t start till 2022, the rest has been going on for a while.


Most 18-25 year olds are normal people and they could care less about oppression or exploitation. Most are pretty apolitical and a lot are even conservative. The loudest voices are coming from a minority of woke idiots that have no friends other than other dbags, kind of like Lars. And let’s remember woke started with boomers and grew in successive generations. This is new it’s just growing up.


Isn’t new

Conboy, E

I remember my teachers in public school beginning our day with an inspiring reading from the Bible, then we stood at attention (or so we thought) and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. As a child I got goosebumps watching a military parade and seeing our beautiful flag waving so majestically! Still do after 80+ years!
My male cousins and their sons served in Army or Navy and fortunately survived and we are so thankful. They followed the footsteps you left.
I thank you all for your service. 🇺🇸


I want that country back also.

A Proud Infidel®™

I SO MISS the Us of A that I grew up in.