The star power of the military

Without a doubt, the U.S. military is in the worst shape in recent memory. Because of the booming economy and skimpy pay for those in uniform, the military is unable to find enough young men and women to protect our nation.

The military solution to this tricky problem: Stars.

No, not the celestial bodies several light years away that populate our night sky, but those celestial beings that populate our movie and television shows.

Tom Cruise, star of 1986’s “Top Gun,” a film about a Navy pilot, has been approached to make a public service announcement according to The Associated Press. Other luminaries include Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, Steven Spielberg and James Brolin, who, for those ignorant individuals amongst us, are stars on “Pensacola: Wings of Gold.”

Traditionally, celebrities have been used to boost moral for our troops abroad — during World War II when Bob Hope entertained the troops in Europe (or the Korean War, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War). Today, even Christie Brinkley has made the trip to Kosovo to entertain our troops.

This notion to use celebrities as a tool to recruit hasn’t been used recently, if ever. As such, I have a few other suggestions for Defense Secretary William Cohen, who has been recruiting these stars. John Travolta and Christian Slater, co-stars of “Broken Arrow” quickly come to mind. In my humble opinion, Jack Nicholson, as star of “A Few Good Men,” would also make an excellent recruiter.

The problem with using celebrities is that they can have mixed messages. Sure Tom Cruise was a hero in “Top Gun,” a shining example in “A Few Good Men,” but downright awful in “The Firm.”

Obviously this is not the optimal solution to this problem. I would hope a few individuals would decide to join the military because they saw Julia Roberts tell them that serving in the military was cool. I would be worried about any individual who decided to join the military because a celebrity told them it was cool. Imagine what our military would look like if Urkel started recruiting for the military.

But I don’t actually think that celebrity recruiters are going to work, especially if somebody gets around to investigating their military background.

The next best thing is for the military to change its advertising ways. The Army has used “Be all that you can be” for as long as I can remember, and, as a kid, I thought it actually meant, “Eat all that you can eat.” The Navy, Marines and Air Force have similar problems. I’m not sure how to fix the actual advertising problem because they could easily make the job look and sound more glamorous than it really is. That could have some undesirable consequences.

Just wait until Little Johnny signs up and discovers he’s spending the next two years slinging hash for the residents of a military prison, then we’ll have a really happy recruit.

The optimal solution is for Congress to raise the pay for servicemen and servicewomen who stay in the military. That, of course, will be extremely difficult to accomplish considering the Democrats’ unwillingness to support the military and the Republicans’ tightfistedness that stops them from spending money on anything except high-technology gizmos that fail when tested by the military. As such, we are left at an impasse.

, , , ,

Comments are closed.