QUOTE(aevans176 @ Aug 26 2005, 11:21 AM)
What I have to say is that in the Marine Corps, there are few jobs that aren't dangerous or combat related. However, the Army, Navy, Airforce, and Coast Guard offer many non-combat arms positions. You could join the airforce and never see a bullet fly in a 20+ year career, or be stationed on a Naval ship with little chance of seeing an enemy, or join the Coast Guard and chances are you'll never leave American shores...
Sorry for this off topic post. But I felt that some clarification was in order here. I understand your point aevans176
, and to a limited degree I can agree with it. However I would like to explain a few things about life in the US Military as it is not quite as simple as many might think. For the record, I will be putting aside all inter-service rivalries for the purposes of this post.
First, job description (Known as MOS or Rating) and duty assignment can be two different things. For example, a friend of the family who has been a mechanic in the National Guard for years was Activated with his unit (a support unit) He is a Generator Repairman (I think that is the title, I have no idea what the number of his MOS is
). However, he and his entire unit was re-trained as MPs (military Police), and sent to Iraq as MPs. Another Example, in the US Naval Reserves I was a Construction Electrician (a Seabee), Now the job of a Seabee can be dangerous (building in or near combat areas and the like) but it is certainly not as dangerous as being in an Infantry unit on the front lines of an Urban Warfare environment. However, I assigned to a port security unit (something I specifically volunteered for when I volunteered to join the reserves). Our job was to protect support ships while they were in port. We provided land based security (the unit was MIUWU meaning Mobile Inshore Underwater Warfare Unit) as well as Electronic Surveillance of Land and Sea, and we operated as a team with a Navy small boat unit (an IBU meaning Inshore Boat Unit) as well as a Coast Guard port security / small boat unit (a PSU meaning Port Security Unit). In an Gorilla warfare environment Force Protection can be quite hazardous.
Second, Rating and Duty assignment still don't mean everything as there are still needs of the unit to consider. For example, all of the units working together the keep the port secure worked under the command of Naval Coastal Warfare. NCW had personnel in other places. Also, there were emergency needs of other units in all services to consider. As a result, several members of each unit were pulled to work convoy detail. This was both to run regular supply runs between Coastal Warfare Units, and to handle emergency runs of supplies for there units (since we were right there when the cargo came in anyway). I spent a portion of my tour there on convoy detail.
Then that is not the end of it either. There are also temporary assignments. The base we were operating at used a few service personnel from each unit at the base to handle various needs of the base. As a result of my weapons qualifications, I spent two weeks on escort detail. Meaning I road armed guard, keeping an eye on the drivers of vehicles that came on the base to do maintenance, make deliveries, etc (the escorts road in the vehicle cabs with the drivers). All of the vehicles in question belonged to private companies doing business with the base. The drivers (and sometimes workers in addition to the drivers) were all "TCNs" (Third Country Nationals) from all over the Middle-East, Africa, and Asia. They were doing this work because all manual labor in Kuwait is handled by TCNs. Security at the gate did an excellent job keeping and eye out for people on various watch lists, possible vehicle bombs, etc. However, the escort detail still had obvious risks.
As you can see, though people are it what is considered support roles, their job assignments, duty stations, assignments, etc can all be and often are dangerous. Not to mention that many support jobs are done right on or very close to the "combat areas" (medical personnel, mechanics, convoys, etc.).
When considering the Marines, of course their combat forces are frequently on the front lines. However, with the exception of medical personnel, the Marine Corps have nearly as many support jobs per combat soldier as the other services (Medical Personnel for the Marines are provided by the US Navy). For Example, A Friend of mine in High School entered the Marine Corps and became a Helicopter Mechanic.
The Army, well they are the most diversified service we have. Every Job you can think of (including SCUBA divers (I met a few of these guys at the Kuwait Naval Base) has someone doing it in the Army. From Ground Combat, to Armor, to SpecWar, to Water Operations (the Army has more boats then the Navy), to Air Operations (the Army has more planes then the Air Force) to Construction (Army Corps of Engineers are the only real competition the Seabees have
), etc, etc, etc. The Army truly is the backbone of any large scale operation.
As for the Coast Guard. Coast Guard Cutters and PSUs have served overseas in every conflict since Vietnam and perhaps earlier. I have served with Coast Guard PSUs, solid, well trained professionals to a man (and to woman).
And then there is the Navy. Well, the Navy has a huge role in any conflict. From providing tomahawks, and carrier based air support, amphibious operations, SpecWar, and of course the Seabees. Not to mention that nearly nothing gets there without the Navy. And consider this, when I was in Gulf War one as an Electrician's Mate (Shipboard Electrician) on board an Ammunition ship supporting the war. That ship had a possible 21 mile blast radius if things went wrong, or we found ourselves targeted by hostile forces (like Terrorists (Remember the Cole)). And lets not forget that every Combat Medic with Marine Corps is actually a Navy Corpsman.
And lastly, a word for our Air Force guys. Air Force Security and any support role in the Air Force (when they are in country) is very dangerous. This is because Airfields are high value targets. If someone can hit them, they will try.
Also, consider the fact that bases (where those providing support functions live and work) have come under mortar attack. Also, convoys (driven and maintained by support personnel) have frequently come under various forms of attack.
Bottom line. Any job in the US Military is dangerous. There are degrees of Danger, and obviously those on the "front lines" are at the highest risks. But, when you hear someone say they were a Cook in a war, ask for more detail. You might just find out that that MS (Mess Specialist) was a Navy SEAL assigned to a LRRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) in the jungles of Vietnam.
Now, as to the topic. Many have said this, however:
You act voluntarily when you enter into the contract to join the US Military. Entering into the contract is a choice made by the individual, and all choices have consequences. In this case, the consequences are that you voluntarily give up some freedoms to serve in the US Military. In a time of war, you still have a choice. Choose to stick to the contract you signed and serve in the war, the consequences of this choice seem obvious. Or choose to breech that contract and instead face the consequences of that breech. Those consequences technically going as high as capital punishment but realistically as high as imprisonment.
If sticking to a contract as signed, even when you no longer like the terms is involuntary then I don't think it is much of a stretch to say that the majority of Americans are doing business involuntarily. However, since they entered into the original contract voluntarily, I feel that what they face afterwards is the result of their own actions and any consequences that come from those actions are simply their responsiblity.
IMHO, the entire premise of the topic is flawed, or at best it is simply an issue of semantics.
Now, if there were members of the US Military that were pressed into service that would be different. Some may feel they have no other options. Maybe a judge gave them a choice of the military or jail, maybe they are poor and this is their only option to try to get ahead. Whatever the case, they still made a voluntary choice to enter in the contract with the US military. They obligated themselves to that contract, the consequences, regardless of the future choices they make regarding the contract, are their sole responsibility.