The Few, the Proud, the Bad


  • The scum of the earth

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Boy Scouts

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
Phil Carter on a interesting aspect of The Cousins letting so many class fours enlist.
It's become something of an article of faith that the Army (and to a lesser extent the Marines) has lowered entry standards in order to man the force and that this has had a negative impact on the quality of the military.

Comes now a new Army study that suggests the picture isn't quite so simple. The study looks at the performance of soldiers who entered the Army with waivers for prior criminal convictions, no high school diploma or other reasons. In a nutshell, these soldiers get into slightly more trouble, but assuming they make it through basic training and avoid major trouble, they're more likely to be better soldiers.

This study follows one by the Center for Naval Analyses that found Marines with felony-conviction waivers were more likely to finish boot camp, but also more likely to be booted out of the Marine Corps for misconduct.

There's an important point about soldiering worth highlighting here. For all of the obedience, hierarchy and rigidity of the service, the best soldiers are often those who are willing to be a bit unconventional, and to break rules when necessary to get the job done. I'm not surprised to see soldiers with one or two strikes against them excelling once they get past the hurdles of basic training; I'm also not surprised to see that many continue to chafe against the system. The challenge is in distinguishing the young recruits with actual potential from those who really shouldn't be let into the military.


Book Reviewer
Four for Four so far. If someone has never been in a scuffle at school or been cautioned for for using "intemperate" language what use is he going to be when it comes to cutting an insurgent in half with a machine gun?
It,s worth remembering, "Scum always floats to the top".

Thompson.........Is this my Bar Bill?.......Christ!.
The organisation they are joining is bigger and harder than they are and one of them has to break.

I think the Army has a bit of historical experiance in dealing with scumbags who dont want to 'get with the program'. Make 'em or break 'em.

If we just let the goody two shoes in, we would turn into the police force ffs. And we know how effective they tend to be. :roll:
I think you need a few boy scouts too, a lot of the scum are not as bright as they think they are.
WhiteHorse said:
I think you need a few boy scouts too, a lot of the scum are not as bright as they think they are.
And quite a few of the boy scouts arent exactly light bulbs either. :wink:
Some people go off the rails because they lack discipline, time in uniform may straighten then out.
Re my "Scum always floats to the top" this was said to Louis Mountbattern when he and his crew abandoned H.M.S Kelly as it sank, he recalled the quip and met the guy who said it to him on a T.V show some years ago, ergo, Yes, in the military too.
The boys from the Mersey and the Thames and the Tyne.

Scum of the Earth/Salt of the Earth. In times of National Need, one often begets the other!
redgrain said:
Yokel said:
Some people go off the rails because they lack discipline, time in uniform may straighten then out.
Or they may end up as professional sadists ala die Schutzstaffel...
But they were disciplined sadists...
In my last year at Uni I lodged with a couple who were both psychiatrists - he head honcho psychiatrist for Greater Manchester County and she a child psychotherapist. They were both Quakers and members of CND (which made for some interesting conversations as I was about to go to RMAS).

She told me that some of her worst cases (and Christ, she had some pretty grim ones) ended up in the Army, where they appeared to do well. They thought it was something to do with some already being institutionalised (from Childrens Homes), joining an organisation where they had a ready made band of brothers and father figure (lacking for many of them) and where the boundaries were clearly laid out.

Neither of them were friends of the military but had to acknowledge the role the military played in sorting out these young men. They also told me that they had read a report that at that time (early 80s) about 75% of SNCOs had come from Childrens Homes - whether this was inaccurate or perhaps reflected a social policy of the 60s, when these men joined the military, I don't know.

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