Military and Social Media
The military has a HUGE problem on its hands when dealing with today’s younger military population and social media. I have seen countless articles on a handful of media outlets talking about how some social media influencer in the military has been running his or her mouth and that their views do not support those of the military.
At least when I was on AD, we were told that anything we say or do in public could show poorly for the Marine Corps and that we are not authorized to speak on behalf of the Marine Corps of the U.S. Armed Services.
We were also told that the Marine Corps (the entire U.S. Military for that matter) is an all-volunteer force and that there are many exit strategies for those of us that want to leave. All we needed to do was talk to our chain of command. The problem with that is however, there are usually many “roadblocks” in the way until we get to the person that can truly help.
As a former Staff-NCO, I had talked to many young Marines that just didn’t want to be in the Corps. We were directed to help them find their place in the Corps and to make sure that they get the message that they are here to stay. That is really the wrong message to send to these young Marines, that just want to leave. The Corps is all too happy to allow an SNCO with ten or more years on active duty, to leave the Corps, but they will do anything they can to keep a young Marine that doesn’t want to be there. I get it, the younger Marines are the ones on the front lines, they are the ‘trigger pullers’.
The SNCOs are on the battlefield, but in far fewer numbers, by design. So you need your younger Marines, but to keep a Marine around that doesn’t want to be there is just insane if you ask me.
I have wasted countless days and weeks mentoring a PFC or LCpl who obviously hates his or her life in the Corps. One such incident was when I was in “C” school as a Sgt. The CWO that was in charge of the students (I knew her when she was a SSgt), had me mentoring a young Marine that would do everything he could to screw up. At first, she had me do daily personnel inspections on this kid. He would come down looking like a bag of wet shit. His uniform looked like he slept in it, he would be partially shaven and his boots looked like he used a Hershey bar and a brick to shine them.
I recall that first inspection with him, I asked him if he shaved, “yes, Sgt” he exclaimed. I was surprised as I found myself instantly asking him if the razor touched his face, “yes Sgt” he told me. I asked if it was electric or manual and he said electric and I said, “Was it on?”. I got an immediate “Yes, Sgt”. This went on for a few minutes.
I gave him instructions for the next day and sure as shit, he would screw them up. After a few days, I met him in his barracks room and went through the good old time tested, step-by-step on how to shave, iron, and polish his boots. He would do just enough to get by and nothing more after I gave him his period of instructions. After a month, the CWO was satisfied that he was getting by and she moved on. But this was not the first or the last that this type of situation occurred.
And all but one wanted to get the hell out of the Corps as they just couldn’t cut it. And when I would talk to GySgt who was this Marine’s platoon commander, they would usually just shit on the young Marine instead of helping them succeed or get the hell out.
Back on Social Media, I know that at least in the Corps, they sign a Social Media contract or they used to. But that is really bull shit, and in my opinion, they are Marines and they should already know better, but then again, this generation tends to have a problem with these common sense things. They get so wrapped up in Social Media that everything that they read, regardless of the source, is gospel and they instantly believe it. So it is easy to see why they just can’t understand things like this.
Let me make it clear, we did a ton of stupid shit in the Corps, but we didn’t videotape it and share it with the entire world, that is the difference here.
I wish the military the best of luck with this current generation.