Military Immigration: From Civilian to Soldier. “The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on earth.” – Thomas J. Jackson (Stonewall Jackson). Introduction : The United States Army.
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The United States Army
After September 11th, 2001, myself along with many other Americans both young and old had joined the military. Many Americans joined to serve their country to protect from more terrorist attacks, others joined for the education benefits, and some joined for career opportunities. The United States Army has become one that is ready for any war or conflict, and since 2001, the military has been in training for constant deployments rather than training for large scale wars. It is an organization “that emphasizes organizational and collective effectiveness, discipline, and commitment rather than individual rights, prerogatives, and liberties” (Goldich 62). This new force is also “less tolerant of tactical and operational failure than its predecessors, a result of vastly enhanced training as well as deepened ethos of physical and mental toughness” (Goldich 65). In order for the military to achieve these adjectives and become the professional force it is, the standards needed to be set and accounted for. These standards are taught through various sponsors and tools. The standards are never compromised and are ingrained from the first step of joining. This presentation will go through the steps of taking a soldier from the civilian life and transforming him or her to the military discourse of the United States Army.
In basic training, the common approach is that they tear the soldier down and build them back up. Essentially what they do is attempt to strip many of the previous discourses learned or acquired and replace them with theirs. This creates a professional soldier who can be counted upon by their peers to do what is asked of them. At basic training the soldier is taught the customs, traditions, infantry skills, and regulations that is needed to be a successful soldier in the American military. Here the idea of being an individual with individualistic views is stripped and replaced with a team first attitude. Many who have played team sports in the past have acquired this mentality. However, in this aspect it holds bigger stakes such as giving one’s life for another or group, or it could also be to maintain the honor of the Army and country before their own.
This team concept is done in many ways, one in particular is that if one soldier errs, the whole group is at fault and is punished. As the soldier goes through and finishes basic training, this concept isn’t one that needs to be thought about but is one that is instinctive. I remember going to my job training school, where I learned what I would be doing in the military. We set all of our duffle bags outside and went in for a briefing. When we came out, the drill sergeants were yelling at us to get our own bags and move to the barracks in no more than 5 minutes. They had moved our bags around, so that no one knew where their bags were. I should add that besides our names being on the bags, they were all the same. Now, in basic training, the typical group of soldiers would be frantically trying to find their own bags which happened the first day of basic training. However, with this team mentality, we all started to grab bags and started shouting out names immediately. Everyone was able to get their bags in a quick and timely manner as everyone worked together to get each other’s bags. The underlining discourses learned to achieve this was teamwork and ability to handle pressure.
This is a team building obstacle course where soldiers must utilize each other from adopting a plan to conquer it, to moving across the obstacle. Each soldier is able to count on each other to move through the obstacle.
In order to learn a new discourse, there must be sponsors and tools set in place for a person to be successful and able to assimilate into the new discourse. Below is a list of just some of the sponsors that the military uses:
Drill Sergeant is teaching the proper wear of the patrol cap as part of conforming to the military standard.
Tools are needed for the sponsors to have a set of guidelines so that they can teach the new soldier or for the soldier to continue his learning within the military. Just as schools, certain classes, and fields have ways in which they want things to be done, the military is no different. Below is a list of just some of these that the military uses:
This is myself and Dustin Littrell, who was my roommate and in my section in our tour in Iraq. He has become my best friend from that tour. In the picture, we did a walk to raise money for a cure to brain cancer. One of our fellow soldiers that served with us got it from the burn pits in our tour in Iraq. As in the Soldier’s Creed, “I will never leave a fallen comrade”, we will continue to fight for our fellow brethren.
Carr, Allison, Anthony Leimeister, David Krise, and Vinicio Reyes. "Army Discourse." Personal interview. 25 May 2012.
Gee, James P. "Literacy, Discourse, and Linguistics: Introduction and What Is Literacy?" Literacy: A Critical Sourcebook. By Ellen Cushman. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001. 525-44. Print.
Goldich, Robert L. "American Military Culture from Colony to Empire." Daedalus, the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Summer 140.3 (2011): 58-69. Print.