Posted by: classyjacksonville | December 18, 2008

Morale Boosters

Part 4 of 4 of the “If I Was In Charge” series

      I would say that for the most part our military has fairly decent morale. We aren’t dying of starvation or senselessly beaten or go for months without pay. We are well trained and spoiled. We are for the most part well fed, well equipped and well paid. But, there are some things that really push my buttons, and some things, which if they changed would dramatically improve retention in the military and morale. A few of the services have already made similar changes and it’s amazing to see the differences in attitudes between people in the same job field as me depending on the service. Here are some suggestions that would dramatically improve the quality of life for lower enlisted and most likely save the department of defense money.


First, privatize the barracks, handing over maintence and care of the buildings to a private contractor, and allow barracks residents more privacy and responsibility by abolishing “field day” and random inspections by staff NCO’s. If privates who are married and allowed to live out in town are afforded more responsibility, freedom and privacy than corporals who are unmarried and forced to live in the barracks, why would that corporal ever want to reenlist? There is a stark difference in the way married and unmarried marines are treated, regardless of rank or billet. Why should a young private be allowed to live out in town and be afforded the same privacies as normal citizens while a corporal has to share a room with two other marines and be subjected to having his room being entered and inspected at any time by staff NCO’s? He shouldn’t and this double standard should be removed. Barracks rooms should be treated like on base housing, think apartments for single marines. Marines would be afforded privacy and this would dramatically save the marine corps money as many people would not rush into a quick marriage to a girl from the driftwood merely for the perceived monetary benefits. Marines who did not keep their room sanitary would be cited much like how a landlord or a health inspector would do in the real world. Getting rid of field day and allowing marines more privacy would dramatically improve morale.


Second, issue everyone basic allowance for subsitance and take out money for meals eaten at the chow hall only for meals taken there. The air force already has a similar program in place and most airmen I have spoken to seem very happy with the arrangement. People who want to eat at the chow hall would be allowed to. People who find the food at the chow hall repulsive or have special diets such as vegetarianism, kosher or halal, would be given the opportunity to eat elsewhere. I also believe this freedom of choice would help improve the quality of food in the chowhall.


Third, relax hair and grooming standards or actually allow marines to wear their hair as the regulations state it may be worn. Short, well groomed, combed hair as a business professional might wear is more the reasonable enough and continues to present an image of professionalism, maturity, and cleanliness, whereas the high and tight haircut looks ridiculous and wouldn’t be found on anyone else besides an 8 year old boy. How does having the sides of your head shorn make you more professional? Do you see any other professional in the world with the sides of their head shorn down to the skin? Also in the regions where we are currently fighting, shaved heads represent sin, evil and the devil and do not represent the proper and needed image we need to give these people. I believe for males, hair not exceeding 3 inches on top, combed, clean, well groomed and off the face and ears and trimmed monthly would be more than acceptable and sufficient to provide a professional image to the world. The current array of haircuts seen as professional in the marine corps are ridiculous, from the high and tight to the flat top to the horse shoe. No civilian professional would ever wear their hair in those ways, why do marines?


Fourth, lower the drinking age for service members from 21 to 18. Why are we given rifles and sent to every corner of the globe yet we are not allowed to drink a beer when home on leave or after work? Is killing less evil than indulging in a beer during free time? It is merely a symbol of the moralistic control our service members are now subjected to. Servicemen were once issued cigarettes in their rations and were allowed to paint pinup girls on their airplanes yet I wouldn’t be allowed to post such a poster in my own barracks room now. Beer was flown out to the troops during Vietnam yet our troops in Iraq go an entire deployment without getting alcohol at all. I think 18 year olds, as citizens who can sign contracts, join the military, defend their country and vote, should also be allowed to drink.


I think these few changes would improve morale immensely and would definitely encourage more to join and reenlist. Our military is facing man power short falls and taking these few small steps would help them to retain for more of the right sort of people.



  1. Amen to the married marines issue, brother. I got on my soapbox every chance I got and brought up the same point about the hookups married marines get as you did. It’s really the main reason I didn’t reenlist. I was tired of feeling inferior and expendable, and getting paid less, just because I didn’t want to get married. Now that I’m in the real world, having a family is actually a burden rather than a bonus.

  2. Don’t worry, President Obama will re-fill our depleting Marine Corps as he puts in his plan to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as seen here:

    No longer will we spend millions of dollars getting rid of “fluent” Arabic linguists (last time I checked, wasn’t fluent like a 3-3 or even a 4-4?).

    Not to mention the fabulous style our troops will be displaying. They’ll probably even march into battle with just a little more pep in their step.

    Bring on the gays!

  3. This speaks truth to power. I can’t complain in my situation of which you know (I’ll hit 29 months this Tuesday!), but in no way do I discount what you say. There will be change (as redundant as that is by now) and I’m sad that I won’t get to see it implemented first hand. Well, not sad that my detainment won’t be longer, but that it took place when it did. Hey, and not just off-duty attire, but perhaps also the actual uniforms themselves! Out with the alpha belt, an ridiculously uncomfortable barracks cover (that is the one with the shiny bill, yes?). In with utility Teva’s (when practicle), getting hit for “smell” on an inspection, co-ed boot camp including the heads, and KY grappling.
    Now why do I say co-ed boot camp? Well the whole reason, as far as I can figure, behind segregating boot platoons (well all the way up to battalion) is because of the belief that you can’t get disrobed in front of a hypothetical sex partner unless sex is actually the objective. With open homosexuals in the ranks, it seems absurd to think we’d trust that men and women would be less aroused by each other than a person of same-sex orientation SURROUNDED by 100% potential sex partners. On the other hand, it can be countered that while gays and breeders won’t engage in sexual activity with each other, heterosexual males and females must be separated on account of the strong possibility of mutual attraction and also rape. Such would not be the case with homosexuals- that is, them being the agressors. I do slightly worry about homophobia erupting into violence or worse.

  4. Your barracks response is spot on. Marines who live in the barracks do live in an entirely different Marine Corps than the ones who are married. If a private contractor threatened to take a Marines money due to cleanliness of his room, it would go light years further than any ass chewing he could receive from and NCO or SNCO. I also agree with you about chow halls. Too often, I see the civilian contractors that work at our chow halls doing the bare minimum because they know they will be paid irregardless to the quality of food, menu, or cleanliness of the building. I disagree with the last two statements. We keep our hair short because we are not civilians. Period. We should not look like civilians nor should be try to. Sending alcohol to Iraq is absurd. Do you not remember the rampant drug and alcohol problem we had during Vietnam? A war we lost by the way? Alcohol in country is not a remotely good idea. Lowering the drinking age isn’t either. Picking up a rifle and shooting someone does not make you a man.

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