Skip

No Child Left Unrecruited
September 7, 2005 3:32 AM   Subscribe

As if a looming draft isn't enough, we now have a military recruitment web site nearly masquerading as commercial (.com) job-placement web site run by the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) from the Pentagon. ASVAB stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a test administered for career placement for all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Will there be any children left behind in America. Is our past our future?
posted by augustweed (35 comments total)

 
Please let there be a draft
posted by Meccabilly at 3:49 AM on September 7, 2005


Went through the .com and was appalled at your flagrant scaremongering and the inappropriately strong ties you drew between the ASVAB and service recruitment.
And then I went to the military links, and it turns out you were right, actually.

Sorry about that.
(also *choke*)
posted by NinjaPirate at 4:18 AM on September 7, 2005


The ASVAB was a mandatory test my junior year of high school back in 2001. I aced it and the national guard called my parents' house regularly (every few weeks) for over three years until they finally figured out I was long gone to college.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 4:35 AM on September 7, 2005


A long time ago, in a high school far away, I took the ASVAB. I took it under the guidance of the - ahem - guidance counselor and general school faculty. Oh! It's such a good test! It will help you figure out where you want to go! Oh, golly!

No military personnel were in view when it was administered.

I took the test, I enjoyed it -- it affirmed pretty much what I already knew.

And then... they came.

They kept calling. Different branches. Different times of day. I couldn't say no nicely enough. They kept calling. They had my scores.. and they.. wanted to taste my flesh.... wait... wrong story.. no zombies.. they just kept calling me.

Needless to say, 4 years later, out of high school, my madre was happy to tell me that the calls were finally dying down. Ohhh naughty ASVAB, how cunning you are...

It was a fun test though. My favorite part was seeing a diagram of something like 6 or 7 gears, all meshed together, and you essentially had to tell what direction gear C was moving if gear A was moving this way. Fun.
posted by cavalier at 4:37 AM on September 7, 2005


Hah, I got the same thing, with taking an innocuous ASVAB in high school. And then when my family was moving, I got called by the Navy recruiters. They bought me lunch, and over the course of the next few days, I went from suspicious about the military to, "I guess this might work". So I threw in my chips and joined. Well, it isn't too bad, and now I'm in college, and I still enjoy the Navy. So I guess I'm kinda glad that I took that silly test else I would have never joined, and the armed forces would have been denied my shining abilities. ;)

Anyway, I suppose that the military should somehow do it's testing off of an already taken high school test, if they wanted to reduce paper work. I'm not sure how I would do it so that I could have a decent pool of potential recruits to draw from.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 4:45 AM on September 7, 2005


What Derive the Hamiltonian of... said. Also, the only things I was apparently qualified for were aircraft pilot and ship captain. There were also weird pseudo-military questions throughout. One question in the science section might be about trees and the next one might be about nuclear blast radii and radiation poisoning.
posted by sciurus at 4:57 AM on September 7, 2005


"It's your future. Get the most out of it." Mmmm.

augustweed, pardon a minor derail...what's this "looming" draft you're referring to? The only people I hear from who seem to want a draft are folks who sound like they'd like to become draft resisters. The military and Congress don't see any need for one. If you have credible information to the contrary, I'd love to know about it.
posted by alumshubby at 5:04 AM on September 7, 2005


The ASVAB is used in unexpected places as a general aptitude test. For example, the tests were applied in the 1997 National Longitudinal Study of Youth. (Although I think the military was hoping to use it to calibrate ASVAB scoring.)

(WRT the site being a new/dodgy recruiting tool, I don't immediately notice that this site is different in tone than a year ago.)
posted by ~ at 5:15 AM on September 7, 2005


That last link is pure troll.

That salute was stolen by the Germans from the Romans.
posted by Dagobert at 5:42 AM on September 7, 2005


The ASVAB has always been more of a military recruitment tool than anything actually comprehensive. I took it back in the late 80s and placed pretty well. Sure enough, my senior year of high school was peppered with dinner-time phonecalls from recruiters of every stripe. The most memorable was the Marine recruiter.

"So," he asked me, "you got plans for after high school, young man?"

"Yes," I replied. "I'm going to college. I think I'll major in psychology."

He chuckled. "Psychology?!? Well, I don't know about that, but we could put you on a nuclear submarine! Lots of psychology in there, I bet!"

I had nothing to say. He didn't call back.
posted by grabbingsand at 5:45 AM on September 7, 2005


Yeah, the ASVAB. . . . We all had to take it. We're all telling the same stories, being harassed endlessly by recruiters. That's really the part I hate the most -- you can't just tell them "no" once and nicely, they KEEP CALLING BACK and you can't get rid of them like the telemarketers that interrupt your dinner. It was maddening.

Of coruse, I went Early Decision to a school that was at least four hours from any major body of water, so when the Navy called after ED, I simply told them that unless they had a ship in Charlotte, they were out of luck.
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:53 AM on September 7, 2005


OK...two things. Firstly, the fact that it's a ".com"...this isn't news. marines.com and navy.com have been around since 1995. Secondly, the fact that I didn't see the military mentioned ANYWHERE is pretty friggin underhanded. Criminey...the people you want to join your service are going to be the ones who WANT to be there...it's better you come out and say who you are (integrity, anyone?) then try to fool a bunch of kids.
posted by taumeson at 5:54 AM on September 7, 2005


Good grief. I browsed that ASVAB .com site, and didn't find the phrase "Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery" anywhere. I'd never trust an unexplained acronym.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:58 AM on September 7, 2005


the people you want to join your service are going to be the ones who WANT to be there
The people in my family who are in or have been in uniform since the draft ended have been people given the choice by a judge to go in or to get sent to prison. It's possible that my family is just anomolous, but I have to think that at least some significant portion of the "all volunteer" army we now have is made up of people who do not want to be there, but have gone into service in a similar manner.
posted by Cassford at 6:01 AM on September 7, 2005


ASVAB has been around for a while. I took the test in high school in 1980 or 81. The site is of course new, but the test isn't.
posted by StormBear at 6:06 AM on September 7, 2005


grabbingsand: Sometimes a submarine is just a submarine.

"All the King's soldiers are no better than slaves, hired murderers that kill on command." - William Blake.

"I was drunk and rambling incoherently, your honour, and didn't mean a word of it." - William Blake
(shortly before being fined fourpence for drunkenness, rather than executed for treason)

"A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent. " - William Blake, who wasn't speaking about Army recruiters, but certainly could have been.
posted by cleardawn at 6:08 AM on September 7, 2005


second hair brained, unsubstantiated semi-troll in as many days. What's up autumnweed, do you love the taste of banhammer?
posted by johnny novak at 6:09 AM on September 7, 2005


sorry, that should be augustweed.
posted by johnny novak at 6:10 AM on September 7, 2005


In autumnweed's defense, it's mildly interesting that there's a .com site that's all about the ASVAB in an incredibly disingenuous way. On the other hand, anybody who thinks there's a snowball's chance in hell of a draft needs to Google the phrase "402-2" and do some reading. (Hint: Rangel voted against his own bill.)
posted by alumshubby at 6:16 AM on September 7, 2005


s/autumnweed/augustweed
posted by alumshubby at 6:16 AM on September 7, 2005


the nation ran a pretty good cover story in last week's issue on an asvab...didnt mention the website tho...
posted by slogger at 6:32 AM on September 7, 2005


There'll be lots of folk from Louisiana who are desperate for any employment that comes with free accomodation, right about now, I think.

The Army recruiters were probably there before the Red Cross.

No need for Bush to impose a draft just yet.
posted by cleardawn at 6:40 AM on September 7, 2005


My favorite quote from The Nation's ASVAB article:

Lou Plummer has become an outspoken antiwar activist, and he bristles when he continues to get calls from recruiters for his 18-year-old daughter. His advice to similarly harassed parents? "Tell recruiters your child is gay or lesbian," Plummer says. "I've heard that works pretty well."
posted by alumshubby at 6:41 AM on September 7, 2005


It amazes me that some of you took this test in your own high school. My SO and I have had interesting discussions about the differences in our high school education, but was most startled by the obvious economics-based standards the military uses in its recruitment.

I never saw any shilling for the armed forces in my schooling. Never. The neighborhood I lived in was awash in wealth, much of it diverted to the high school. Everybody went to college afterwords--it was just a default, knee-jerk, "well of course" response. My SO's high school was in a middle-class (now upper-middle) neighborhood, and she only saw a few recruiters in her time there.

When I lived in Nebraska, I worked for a non-profit that got me out into the small towns (pop. < 1000). almost universally poor. for school's graduation ceremony, an army general landed i>in an Apache helicopter. Of the graduating class of 32 seniors, 6 were headed into the Service.

It's easy to recognize this intellectually, so I'm sure most of you will probably just think, "Yep, that's the way it works." But to see it firsthand was dumbfounding. To think that the Army had to requisition an attack helicopter, pay for maintenance and fuel, to carry a general to the middle of nowhere, Nebraska... It wouldn't seem worth the trouble, but they got 6 more recruits than they would have from my home town, so clearly their PR department is doing something right.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:56 AM on September 7, 2005


Authoritarian regimes have always sought a source of cheap labor. The most likely sink for such labor in the U.S. today is to act as cannonfodder in the many planned wars of conquest. If one were particularly given to conspiracy thinking, one might wonder if current economic policies weren't designed to create a vast pool of jobless poor for the benefit of the military.

Nah. The Neocons have demonstrated that they're just not that bright or competent.
posted by bshock at 8:53 AM on September 7, 2005


It amazes me that some of you took this test in your own high school. My SO and I have had interesting discussions about the differences in our high school education, but was most startled by the obvious economics-based standards the military uses in its recruitment.

We took it in Gainesville High School, a basically suburban, middle class, mildly integrated HS with an abundance of professors' kids. Not the "richest" HS in the county, but probably #2. I got called a couple of times but they stopped bothering me when I made my lack of interest plain, and my knowledge that there was precious little interesting I could do with 20/600+ vision.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:59 AM on September 7, 2005


It was never a required test in my high school, and everone knew what the ASVAB was for (which is why I never took it in HS, because I never had any intention of joining the military).

Then again, I did attend a high school on an Air Force base....
posted by Hal Mumkin at 9:22 AM on September 7, 2005


After listening to a Marine recruiter in my junior year honors english class for an hour, not a single person had any intention of taking the ASVAB...until he mentioned we would miss that very same class again if we did (and dragon lady doesn't even begin to describe the nightmare teacher we had that year) so everyone jumped at the chance. I scored in the 99th percentile (the military folk called it a 99QT) and I *still* get calls from them (I took the test in 1994)...having moved across the country and back again and now being partially disabled. Its a monthly ritual where one (or more) of the branches calls and asks if I'd like to join (the initial offer was to be a nuclear technician....a 12 year contract!) to which I now ask them if they would take a partialy disabled guy, to which they ask 'well, *how* disabled?'

::shakes head::
posted by gren at 10:47 AM on September 7, 2005


"Tell recruiters your child is gay or lesbian," Plummer says. "I've heard that works pretty well."

I also took the ASVAB junior year of HS (1982), as did everyone in my school. I started getting calls immediately because my scores were also 99QT, like gren, and the Navy wanted me to be a nuclear submarine engineer, also like gren. I told them that being underwater for 6 months at a time in a 40-foot steel tube with 160 other men seemed pretty gay to me.

Never got a call back, nor from any of the others. It does work.

"It amazes me that some of you took this test in your own high school. My SO and I have had interesting discussions about the differences in our high school education, but was most startled by the obvious economics-based standards the military uses in its recruitment."

Exactly, C_D. Small-town rural schools in poorer areas (in my case, Downeast Maine) are prime recruiting centers, as many kids join up just to get the hell out of that damn town. They don't really want to be clam-diggers or pig-farmers like dad. They give the ASVABs in such places knowing that probably 20% of the kids in any given class are likely to enlist. 8 out of my class of 44.

"one might wonder if current economic policies weren't designed to create a vast pool of jobless poor for the benefit of the military."

One might, indeed. Don't assume they're as incompetent as you think.

"We took it in Gainesville High School, a basically suburban, middle class, mildly integrated HS with an abundance of professors' kids."

Gainesville is in the South, also known for sending a disproportionate number of kids to the Service. Ever wonder why everyone who joins up comes back with a touch of Southern accent in their speech? Because there's a huge number of Southerners there.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:02 AM on September 7, 2005


I told them that being underwater for 6 months at a time in a 40-foot steel tube with 160 other men seemed pretty gay to me.

The tube that plays together stays together.
posted by cytherea at 5:53 PM on September 7, 2005


Secondly, the fact that I didn't see the military mentioned ANYWHERE is pretty friggin underhanded.

So you didn't see it mentioned in the first sentence on the Overview page, the ASVAB Program page, the ASVAB test page, the Career Info Resources page, the Education Options page, the Educators and Counselors page, the Administering the Program page, the Parents page, or in any of the .pdf factsheets available?

I see.

Small-town rural schools in poorer areas ... are prime recruiting centers, as many kids join up just to get the hell out of that damn town.

And why is this necessarily A Bad Thing? Some of those kids will never get the hell out of some of those dead-end towns, some of those kids, unlike the big brains who post here, only score a 35 on the ASVAB and will be hard-pressed to find a job outside the military that will pay above minimum wage, offer them any benefits, who knows maybe even instill in them a sense of discipline and self-respect that may have been lacking if they grew up somewhere really shitty.... Oh yes, I see, there's the risk that they may have to go somewhere unpleasant and kill or be killed. Yes, that is something they will have to consider very seriously before they swear that oath. It is a shame that they are in the position where their only way out of a crappy life entails a big gamble; however, does that mean that they should be denied *any* way out because you have the luxury of not having to choose?

As for the draft, I strongly doubt it will ever come back for a number of very compelling reasons; that having been said, sometimes I wish there were compulsory national service in this country just so some of you whining, fear-mongering pussies would get a clue as to what you were creeching about and maybe shut up.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 6:00 PM on September 7, 2005


Hal, I've always thought that maybe 2 years of mandatory service might be good for everyone - as long as there are other options besides the military. Things like public works projects (we ALWAYS need road-maintenance labor, for instance), healthcare and elderly/disabled care positions, data entry/filing/phones at government offices, all sorts of various low-end but necessary work, and even... helping poor people, child care, good stuff like that.

But the military would still be all-volunteer. I'm sure you wouldn't get any fewer people signing up.

And from my experience, do you know where a lot of those kids that get the hell out of the hometown by joining the military end up? Right back in the hometown, or nearby. 5 out of the 8 from my class have returned and are basically doing the same thing they would have done if they hadn't left. It's not that effective an escape, most of the time.
posted by zoogleplex at 6:29 PM on September 7, 2005


I never took the ASVAB. But my little brother did. I have thought of taking it, just because I miss the feeling I got from acing tests. Somehow, doing well at work just isn't the same.
posted by bugmuncher at 6:35 PM on September 7, 2005


Good idea, zoogleplex, good idea. I think a lot of people these days have no sense of civic duty, which leads to a lot of assholery. Pity it would be impossible to implement.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 6:50 PM on September 7, 2005


I myself inadvertantly scored well on my ASVAB, which led to two weeks of phone calls and information packets from my local USMC recruiter. I tried everything I could think of to convey the fact that I was in no way interested in military service. First I tried saying "no thanks," and when that didn't work I moved on to indentitfying myself as various combinations of pothead, problem child, pacifist, vegetarian, tourette's sufferer, lard butt, polio victim, dyslexic, long haired hippie, half-blind, chain smoking, anarchist, mormon, atheist, and academic with a trick knee. Apparently, according to my recruiter from hell, the Marines were the remedy for all that and the common cold. Finally, I just said I was gay. The recruiter mumbled something about "Don't ask, Don't tell," then hung up.

The next day the Navy started calling.
posted by TheSpook at 6:06 PM on September 8, 2005


« Older Obermann Swings!   |   Transfigured Web Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post