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Army Study: Bad Recruits Make Good Soldiers

According to an Army study, recruits with criminal, bad driving or drug record (therefore require special waivers to enlist) have more discipline problems and are more likely to drop out because of alcohol problems than those with a spotless record.

No surprise there, but this is interesting: those bad soldiers also earn more medals for valor, stay longer, and get promoted faster!

Gen. William Wallace, commander of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va., dismisses the notion that waivers are creating more disciplinary problems in today's Army.

Instead, he said, when the Army brings in a young person who made a mistake and got past it, most likely "they will be a better person for having made that mistake and learned from it, than perhaps somebody who didn't make the mistake and didn't have the opportunity to learn."


I worked with many people in the military and would say that the same attraction one would have to organized street gangs (authority where there was none at home, lack of internal drive) absolutely corresponds to the military lifestyle (strong center of authority, clear rules, obedience). This is not meant a criticism of the military. I found that people with creativity and internal drive did not fare as well because they bucked authority. A Junior gang member might really crave the ability to wear a Marine Corps tattoo.
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Army training is specifically designed to break down recruits and rebuild them with only qualities the Army deems useful. More creative, intelligent and independent people are too resistant to conditioning to fare well in the lower ranks of the military, and are also less likely to commit petty crimes.
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"they will be a better person for having made that mistake and learned from it, than perhaps somebody who didn’t make the mistake and didn’t have the opportunity to learn."

This makes me laugh. People who drive aggressively, do drugs, or involve themselves in criminal activity are likely to be people who are reckless, thrill-seeking, and maybe even psychopathic. Sure, feats that get rewarded with medals for valor may sometimes be done by soldiers who carry with them notions of courage, sacrifice, etc, but what if the guy's just irrational, or doesn't fear negative consequences, or craves stimulation?
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Methinks they're trying to put a 'positive' spin on recruits with previous criminal records. As you all may or may not know, the military has been in the news lately with stories of increasing numbers of recruits with felony backgrounds, etc., in order to boost numbers. The fact of the matter is, the military needs bodies, and needs them now. So probably this "study" was meant to put another side to that story.
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I'm in the US Army Reserve and have been arrested twice for B&E charges before i joined. It's true, people with 'unique' backgrounds make for better leaders and soldiers in the long run. I personally wouldn't want to be led by someone afraid to deviate from the bureaucracy that is our modern military. It's called trust, something you don't get from politicians.
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Well, I joined the military because I was poor and unable to pay for college at the time. My experience as someone who was in the Army (Active Duty), is that the majority of people who join are looking for a way out. Some are trying to leave their small towns, the ghetto, abusive parents/relationships...a lot simply don't have the means to get through school, like myself. Does that equate to having an "attraction" to a gang-like lifestyle or that recruits lack "creativity and internal drive" when they do well? I love how people who know people who were in the military once think they know anything at all about what is to serve in the Armed Forces. Every individual who has served the Army has his/her own unique view of what being a soldier was for them. I actually wrote more about this, but I deleted it, because I realize that it doesn't matter. Being in the military is an experience, if you haven't done it, you just don't get it.
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Was I the only one who notices the contradiction here?
"According to an Army study, recruits with ...are more likely to drop out....
...those bad soldiers also .. stay longer.."

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I agree w/ bean, in that military training is based on total conformity to the rules.

Those who have the intellect to think "outside the box" do not do well in the service.
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I find it funny that i dropped out of high school, Got a GED and i cant join the military right now. At least not without college credit. Also i have a friend who tried joining the army but he was a fireman and he has a hearing loss in one ear but perfect hearing in the other. CANT JOIN. amazing
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