US_enlisted_recruits_by_region_map.png

Who Serves in the Military?

From a study by the Heritage Foundation, a fascinating map. The southern and mountain heartland remains just that, the nation’s heart–the region of the country most likely to send its sons and daughters in harm’s way to defend the rest of us.

Note in particular the northeast.  It represents the region most badly out of touch with military culture–or, if I may put it this way, out of touch with basic historical reality, which is to say that, the world being a dangerous and unsettled place, this country has always needed, and still needs, warriors–the northeast represents the region the most out of touch with military culture, but also the home of many of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious universities; our greatest commercial city, New York; and the centers of our media and publishing industries.

Not good.  Not good at all.

  1. HVTs

    What if the heartland shrugged?  I’ve been contemplating the idea of a boycott.  Why should so many great sons (and daughters) risk death, get maimed or die so that effete intellectual snobs can disgrace the nation, run roughshod over the Constitution, use the power of the Federal government to punish conservatives, bail out their cronies on Wall Street, and load up their union friends with cash and benefits?  If the orange-red areas faded to gray, what concessions might conservatives be able to extract in return for again deciding that their blood was worth sacrificing for this nation?  Withhold the heartland’s sons and Progressives will be forced to impose a draft–an equitable draft . . . no college deferments or other upper class opt-out programs. Let’s see what they think is worth dying for if it’s their backside taking point on a patrol.

  2. Chris Campion
    Sabrdance: I’m going to resist making smart-alec remarks tonight.

    Query, though: where do the officers come from? · 4 hours ago

    OCS.

  3. ctlaw

    So the ratio between Texas and Massachusetts is probably a bit more than 2:1. I would have thought it greater.

    Under their “diversity” programs, places like Harvard and MIT have pretty heavy quotas against white males from the northeast. Thus, they may  tend to import non-serving people from the rest of the country. If the Texas-raised Harvard student counts against MA, then the published discrepancy is actually overstated.

    On the other hand, if Southern-raised students disproportionately fill the ranks of MIT’s ROTC, then the discrepancy is understated.

  4. Matty Van

    Fascinating map.

    Sabredance’s smart alecky question about where the officers come from was on the right track but just didn’t go high enough. Ya gotta go beyond the officers all the way up to the policy setting intellectual class of the Northeast.

    Puritans, with all their elite uni’s and think tanks, get paid top dollar to establish and justify interventionist military policy, and then send brave but naive Southern boys as cannon fodder. It’s been that way since 1898, the year of America’s great about face away from the Constitution and into imperialism. Our current neo-imperialism is actually a red state-blue state joint project.

  5. The Mugwump
    Bereket Kelile: I remember speaking with a retired Army Col., a Vietnam vet, who said he was in favor of the draft. He said that the draft brought men of different backgrounds together, especially those who were smart and talented and had a future after their time in the Army was over. It was a type of equalizer. It was the most interesting reason I’ve heard in favor of a draft.

    The biggest irony of all is that the American military has done more for racial equality than all the nation’s universities put together.  And done it on the basis of pure merit to boot! 

  6. BrentB67

    Berket, I have actually heard several democrat Congressman speak on that subject and I also found the argument convincing.If there is ever a secession movement again and a state(s) that does so is over represented, how effective will the Army be for quelling the movement?

  7. Charles Allen

    As a native New Englander who is in his 22nd year of military service, this data does not surprise me.

    With regard to HVT’s premise, I do think that if “the Heartland shrugged”, there would have to be a draft. Would a draft be a horrible thing?  In my mind no, as long as it is done right.  Though I haven’t given a whole lot of time thinking about it (so I may be missing some obvious pitfalls), I like the idea of compulsory service, and not just for the military.

    Have a draft, with the military establishing acceptance standards (perhaps the same ones they have today).  For those who do not meet those standards, some other form of non-unionized federal service.

    A thought in progress….

  8. Daniel Jeyn

    Bereket, you raise an interesting point.  I oppose a draft as unconstitutional, but making a form of brief military service available to volunteers similar to the draft era, which was a commitment of 18-20 months would be a good thing IMO.

    This was brought up in the 90s by an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.  In a pre 9/11 world, this seemed like a worthy plan, suggesting this as an offset for college loans, and service for students either between high school and college, or after college, etc., seemed like a good idea in the era where deployments for peacekeeping and humanitarian missions seemed to be the future of military deployments.

  9. Sisyphus

    I’m with ctlaw, from my experience working with military and retired military a 1:2 ratio difference between the NE corridor and the Texas/southern plains region (West South Central? Really?) seems understated, but OK.

    As for the draft, the only reason to have or not have a draft is to produce a more effective fighting force. The games we have been playing for a generation using the draft as an engine of social change and downgrading physical requirements to be more inclusive and the rest has been shockingly destructive. 

  10. Daniel Jeyn

    I was in army ROTC in college in Iowa and went through some training at Fort Knox.  I was curious about the military as anyone is at that age, and I was also interested in doing something practical with what looked to be an otherwise useless International Relations degree.

    The reason I did not serve, though, had a lot to do with the fact that it didn’t appeal to me as something I wanted to do for life.  And the military I was exposed to really needed lifers.

    Peter, a lot of this has to do with city/country divisions and the increasing professionalization of the military, don’t you think?  Many people who join now do so for longer terms than before.  The Reserves and National Guard is much more popular in rural life.  In cities, I have to imagine recruits join for active duty or not at all.

    My father was a Vietnam-era draftee, and he considers that an important period of his life, and his oldest brother volunteered as a Marine in 1945 at 17.  This was all from Chicago, during an era when it was common for working class kids to join the military.

  11. Nick Stuart

    Four of my five kids enlisted in the military on completion of high school (#5 is blind). 

    Gave rise to my favorite bumper sticker:

    My homeschooled soldiers are defending freedom for your government school honor student.

    [Yes. Very, very insufferably snarky. Sorry, can't resist.]

    And now, with two of them still active duty Army, I pray they don’t deploy. Because of the execrable top civilian and military leadership (as in George Casey on Nidal Hassan:  “Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse”). 

  12. Steve C.

    Lacking an original thought, I’ll note that James Webb and others have argued our forces have been heavily dependent on regions settled by the Scots and the Scots-Irish since the founding.

    And no draft, thank you very much.

  13. Simon Templar

    From my 25+ years in the USMC infantry, it seemed like most of the grunts were from the South and Midwest.  Pogues were more likely to be from the left coast and Northeast.

  14. PracticalMary

    This brings up something that I never see in articles- the fact that our voluntary army seems to be the best and most educated in the world. We need an army, these people get free healthcare (admittedly not very good, but soon we’ll all have the same level), and a chance for their education to be paid for, home owner loans, etc. My dad went to school on the GI bill and did very well raising our family’s standard of living. He did not use much of the benefits due to him, but finally did use the burial benefit.

    Those who want to defund the military (indiscriminately) do not seem to consider the benefits to our economy, and society.  What about the choice paying off your student loans through service? 

    However I would never ever encourage anyone to join up these days, but rather go to the oil fields or something. Also, we have had quite a few problems with employees who were in the National Guard, too (just leaving for exercises and not even telling us, reported it and the officers said, just deal with it, can’t fire them). Leadership matters.

    Article: Go Scots-Irish.

  15. ctlaw
    ctlaw: So the ratio between Texas and Massachusetts is probably a bit more than 2:1. I would have thought it greater.

    Under their “diversity” programs, places like Harvard and MIT have pretty heavy quotas against white males from the northeast. Thus, they may  tend to import non-serving people from the rest of the country. If the Texas-raised Harvard student counts against MA, then the published discrepancy is actually overstated.

    On the other hand, if Southern-raised students disproportionately fill the ranks of MIT’s ROTC, then the discrepancy is understated. · 1 hour ago

    Also, does the survey account for the 23-year old Massachusetts-raised MIT-ROTC second lieutenant who changes his residency to Texas when assigned to Ft. Hood?

  16. HerrForce1

    The location of military installations plays a part with enlistments. Take another look at that map and you’ll notice that many (not all, by any means), but many major military installations lie in the orange-red areas. I’ve seen the old cliché about “out of sight out of mind” play out. If a military installation isn’t part of your region, it’s not in the news, no one’s parent works there, it’s not in the local parade, etc. Conversely, when there is one in your area you know about it, your kid’s friends’ parents work there, it’s in the news, etc. Many communities in the red areas have benefitted from having an installation nearby, as have the recruiting offices.

    My comment is not an attack on base closures and realignments, as they are surely needed to adjust to shifting realities. But It’s no surprise that a young adult in Texas, home to various major Army and Air Force facilities would naturally consider that path as part of their options while enlistment doesn’t naturally pop into the forefront of a Wisconsin kid’s thoughts.

  17. Simon Templar
    Steve C.: Lacking an original thought, I’ll note that James Webb and others have argued our forces have been heavily dependent on regions settled by the Scots and the Scots-Irish since the founding.

    And no draft, thank you very much. · 24 minutes ago

    Many from the small but over represented MacTemplar clan.

    Agree (with Milton Friedman), no draft.

  18. HerrForce1

     

    PracticalMary: However I would never ever encourage anyone to join up these days, but rather go to the oil fields or something. · 9 minutes ago

    I disagree with this type of statement (even as a thankful fan of oil fields and all of their awesomeness). I am proud and gratified by former students of mine who have signed up to serve and through that service build a career foundation. I just sent a letter to my friend’s son in the midst of basic cadet training at the AF Academy telling him to keep pushing through because he is a good young man and this military absolutely needs his gift of leadership. My own daughter is preparing her nomination applications, etc. to gain a coveted spot at AFA for next year. As she sees it, she wants to use her outstanding foreign language and communication skills to become an AF intel officer. By the way, I taught her who George Casey is and why we desperately need to fill leadership slots with people unaffected by his cowed way of thinking. So Mary, I understand your comment’s frustration, but I cannot endorse its application.

  19. Aaron Miller

    And yet WWII movies, old and new, are full of New Yorkers. Is that because of the draft or more due to the preferences of Hollywood?

    The North-South divide has existed since even before the US was born. Has that difference always included military outlooks?

  20. robberberen

    “Of course. That’s where all the stupid people are.”Maybe in being unfair, but that’s precisely how I would expect most lefties to react to this map.