Posted by: classyjacksonville | November 30, 2008

Say Goodbye to the 19th Century

      My first experience in the Marine Corps was being ordered off a bus and placed on one of a series of yellow footprints painted into a formation. I was told to stand up straight, roll my hands into a fist and to place them at my sides along the seams of my trousers. I then spent most of the next three months marching, marching to chow, marching to classes, marching to the range, marching to physical training, and a lot of time marching just for the sake of marching. I entered boot camp in the fall of 2004, and I had figured that America, that most modern and advanced of all those countries around the world, had a modern and effective military that had progressed beyond the 19th century. However I was disappointed as I spent most of my time marching and practicing what the Marine Corps called close order drill.


Since September 11, 2001, there has been no lack of pundits on TV saying how this new war on terrorism is a new sort of war in which the old rules and ways of doing things no longer apply. However when I look at our military, I see many things which are archaic and straight out of the 19th century and have no place in our modern world. I know many of these things are around because of tradition and precedent, but when tradition and precedent begin to hold back the fighting effectiveness of a military or are so grossly out of date and out of step with the current order of the world, what is the point of keeping them around? Therefore I will like to propose abolishing several things that may have made sense in the 19th century but which have no place in our modern military.


Abolish marching and close order drill. The last time our military lined up in formations and attacked an enemy was the Civil War, and even then it was beginning to look obvious due to advances in modern technology that marching would soon have no place on the battle field. However to this day, marching and formations and close order drill survives. Why? How is spending hour upon hour marching in boot camp helping prepare recruits for battle? It isn’t. Time that is wasted on marching could be better put to use in training recruits modern battle tactics, marksmanship skills, or foreign language skills. Our modern warrior needs to be intelligent, proactive, engaged and highly trained; He cannot be the mindless drone that marching desires him to be. Marching does nothing to improve our modern warrior. It does not improve unit cohesion or discipline, and both of those ends can be achieved with far better methods. I can see no reason why marching and parades continue to be a part of our military.


      Stop withholding women from men’s fields in the military. There is no reason why gender discrimination continues to happen in our military. In many cases women have been and are ready to do the same jobs as men, however they are held back in what jobs they are allowed to fill and at which places they are allowed to be stationed at. This on going discrimination does nothing to improve our military or our fighting effectiveness and only further continues the gender discrimination women face in the military. If women are able to and have the desire to serve alongside of men, there should be nothing holding them back. For many decades now, Israel has conscripted both women and men into their military and for a few years now, it has also allowed women to serve in combat arms units as well. If Israel, one of the most successful militaries in the world has been able to continue its success on the battlefield as well as incorporating women into all areas, I do not see any reason why America has not done the same.


      Abolish “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military. Ones sexual preference should not prevent them to serve their country and at a time when our recruiters find it difficult to make quotas and our military is planning on expanding its numbers, we continue to discriminate against homosexuals. A person can get a waiver for drug use, shop lifting and dropping out of high school to join the military, but if they are homosexual, they are denied entrance at all. I do not feel that homosexuals should be denied the opportunity to serve their country that is afforded to every other American. This would do nothing to affect our ability to fight wars or defeat our enemies and might even help attract people who may have been prevented from joining before.


      Abolish dress uniforms. Our current dress uniforms are based on the uniforms our services wore into battle in 19th century and they have carried over in the form of dress uniforms, worn on various formal occasions. These uniforms cost a lot to supply to our forces, cost a lot for our forces to maintain and are rarely ever worn. There is little need to have dress uniforms in a modern military and they are an anachronism held over from previous times. Our service men need to spend more time worrying about their job skills and their ability to fight rather than maintaining dress uniforms or preparing them to wear to a formal function they are being required to attend against their desire. Our military could most likely save millions by doing away with formal dress uniforms, money that could be better spent on other things.


      Abolish saluting officers. In my previous article, I laid out my plan for doing away with the distinction between officers and enlisted, so in my future dream military there would be no officers. I know this is unlikely to happen so I would like to propose a general abolition on saluting officers. This is an anachronism that dates back to the middle ages and has no place in a modern fighting force defending a democracy in the 21st century. In war zones, we are told not to salute officers as this may endanger their lives and alert snipers as to who is in charge, but once we return stateside we are expected to carry on with this old tradition. A simple greeting would do more than enough to render proper respect to an officer or anyone for that matter, and the need to salute is out dated and out of place.


      We need to move beyond the prejudices and old ideas our military has about doing things. We need to realize that maintaining traditions for tradition’s sake shouldn’t be done and can be left to civil war reenacters playing soldier on the weekend. Our military needs to fully concentrate its efforts on winning the wars of today and the future and cannot worry itself about anachronistic trifles that have been allowed to live in the military for so long. 



  1. I agree with you about close order drill. I believe it should be taught for ceremonies, but, less emphasis should be placed on it. I disagree about women and gays in the military. First, it is scientific fact that women are not as physically capable to perform as men. There are exceptions to the rule, but they are exceptions. By the way, Israel has been defeated by a group of rag tag civilians numerous times in the Gaza Strip despite their ignoring of Geneva Convention rules or positive ID or targets. Second, gays should not be allowed because it is a) a distraction. Most military age males are vehemently anti-gay b) infection of AIDS due to exposure during combat (I am aware women can carry it too, but, the gay male population has a much higher percentage of AIDS carriers)

  2. Women are generally more patient then men. And snipers require a lot of patience to get that perfect shot. So the Israelis are smart for using women as snipers. The Soviets also did this during World War II: Lyudmila Pavlichenko has 309 kills.

    Sure, there are fewer women who can handle the 60 pound pack used in front line infantry. But, if they can handle it, I’m all for letting them in. If you can do the role fully – with the same requirements as the men – I think you should have the job. I know many women in Crossfit who are much stronger and fitter than active duty male soldiers. It’s time to stop the discrimination against women.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: