Thursday, April 24, 2008

A military ride-along

Took a tour of West High with U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Craig Barringer today. He spoke to two classrooms filled with students about the benefits (and sometimes the pitfalls) of joining the armed services.

It's hard to know what to think about recruiters working a room of high schoolers.

Staff Sgt. Barringer seems like a truly nice guy, and he believes in the mission and the opportunities the Army can provide. There was no coersion, no strong-arming, no fear tactics — just a man on a mission, trying to give young folks a view of the Army they don't get elsewhere.

On the other hand, such presentations don't show the entirety of military life. It can't express the camaraderie, nor can it express the hardship and danger involved in shipping off to parts and battles unknown. It is (along with every other view), an incomplete snapshot, which can sometimes give hopes that are beyond realistic.

It's a fine line to walk, a tough call to make.

And though I'm not sure how I feel about recruiters talking up the Army to high school students, I'm definitely glad there are men like Staff Sgt. Barringer who are part of our community.

No comments: