Military benefits from struggling economy

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Torey Griffith
  • 509th Bomb Winbg Public Affairs
We have it pretty good in the Air Force. A steady paycheck, health insurance, education funds, a free gym membership, and lawyers on retainer. 

Even if you only have a couple of stripes, you make enough money to live comfortably. As the U.S. economy continues to nosedive, and unemployment rates climb higher and higher, your old buddies who thought you were crazy to join the military in a time of war could be seeing the wisdom of your decision. 

I remember when I left high-school; nearly a decade ago, joining the military was a ridiculous idea. The economy was good and my parents were paying for college. I was sure my journalism degree was going to make me a millionaire in a few short years. There was money to be made, SUVs and boats to buy in the civilian world. Ah, miss-guided youth ... 

Many people (none of them journalists, though,) made that money and bought those SUVs and boats and have enjoyed them -- until now. Craigslist and EBay are overflowing with these "big-boy toys" for cheap, complete with sob stories about just needing to make the payoff, as job-loss, layoffs, and pay cuts are changing the way many Americans live. 

Who's buying up all of these Craigslist gems? More and more, its servicemembers. Where we used to be the ones with only marginal discretionary income, now we are among the few who have any coin to spare. Sure, some of us may have stressful jobs that keep us on the ball for long hours, but how much more stressful is it to dodge calls from creditors, worry about the mortgage, feed the kiddos, and keep the car hidden from Repo Joe? 

The military used to be a first choice for those with "limited opportunities" and uhhh ... well, people who needed some discipline training. You know, those kids you went to 5th grade with that ate boogers and smelled like cabbage. It was a good way for them to earn a living and rid themselves of those disgusting dietary habits. Now, as the failing economy creates economic equality (puts us all in the poor house,) more and more unemployed college grads are willing to trade in their Emo pants and I-pods for ABUs and M-16s. 

The military is a whole different ball game than the civilian world. There are tougher consequences for stupidity, being late is not an option, and the dress code isn't up for debate (popped collars are not allowed.) But it's not that hard. All you have to do to succeed in the military is work hard (a trait that is ingrained into our training), pass PT tests (we are given time during the day to go use a multi-million-dollar gym), and abstain from drug use and underage drinking (both of which are contradictory to military lifestyle.) 

So what does this mean for the military? It means recruiting offices are overflowing with bright men and women; some searching for short-term stability, and others for life-long careers. While it is unfortunate that the country is struggling, the military will benefit from a flood of people who need the military, and not the other way around. 

Visualize this, visualizers. Here comes Airman 1st Class Johnny Gogetter. He's college-educated, previously successful (until his employer moved to San Juan) and has a hungry family to feed. He's fresh out of tech school and itching to compete for BTZ. If you are the type of unindustrious Airman that has earned our branch the title of "Chair Force," you might have to step up your game.