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The Ear Gauge Stalker of Sylmar

With U.S. involvement in wars in desert Asia winding down (I hope), qualifying to enlist has become a difficult challenge for many youths, especially those who have taken up the new fad of ear gauges, or poking large holes in their ears like in a 1961 National Geographic pictorial on the Ubangi tribe. The Pentagon won’t accept recruits with large holes in their ears, nor with more than four tattoos below the knees or elbows.

Since December 2012, high school graduates have to score at the 50th percentile on the Armed Forces Qualifying Test to qualify to enlist in the Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard, while the Army required the 31st percentile and the Marines the 32nd. The AFQT is a highly g-loaded test resembling the SAT and ACT. Murray and Herrnstein featured it in The Bell Curve since the military paid to have it administered to the nationally representative 1979 National Longitudinal Study of Youth. The current scoring system was implemented in 2004 based on the NLSY97.

I presume that the AFQT, like the SAT, is moderately test-preppable, so it’s probably an exaggeration to say you have to have a 100 IQ to enlist in the Navy these days, but it’s likely fairly close.

But it wasn’t always like that. In fact, the Pentagon badly botched how to score the AFQT/ASVAB from 1976-1980, apparently unwittingly letting in a whole bunch of none too bright recruits. Leonard Wong writes:

Declining enlistment rates, low quality recruits, high attrition, and plummeting morale were indicators that the fledgling force manned with volunteers was becoming dangerously fragile. Despite the mounting problems, a 1978 Department of Defense report on the status of the all-volunteer force reported that:

The quality of those serving on active duty, as measured by the education levels of active duty personnel and the average test scores of new recruits, has not declined as popularly believed but has markedly and steadily improved since the end of the draft.[4]

Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA) talked to a lot of sergeants and petty officers and kept hearing about how the new recruits were much less trainable than before. So he recurrently questioned the Pentagon about what was going on. Finally, in 1980 they admitted a massive mistake:

Unfortunately, the new recruit test scores mentioned in the report were derived from the new Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and subsequently the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT). Unbeknownst to the Department of Defense and unconfirmed for several years was the fact that the tests were misnormed. Although Army recruiters were told that their total recruiting target could only be five to six percent of mental aptitude Category IV—the lowest mental category acceptable for military service—per the AFQT, the misnorming of the test allowed many more into the force. In 1979, the Army reported that 9 percent of the new recruits were Category IV. In reality, 42 percent of all new soldiers were Category IV due to the misnorming.[5]

I believe Category IV then was roughly 11th to 30th percentiles on the AFQT.

 
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I do background investigations on people joining the U.S. military and conduct secret and top secret levels of BI. I do a lot of secret and top secret investigations on non-U.S. citizens. Africans in the U.S. for a year or two getting top secret clearances and joining the USAF and Army (some USN). And while I seem to hear about the higher standards, why am doing special interviews (SPINs) on Hector with his arrests and debts.

  2. So this explains Stripes?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Kind of ...
  3. Hi Steve– please check with the web-admins, because each of your posts is now preceded by a giant “email this post” form which takes up more space than the first 3 grafs of the post itself and is mega-annoying, so perhaps it could be reduced to a discreet button or something?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Thanks. Is this problem still there? I don't see it in my browser.
  4. The picture above looks just like Lewis Hamilton.

  5. @Commenter
    Hi Steve-- please check with the web-admins, because each of your posts is now preceded by a giant "email this post" form which takes up more space than the first 3 grafs of the post itself and is mega-annoying, so perhaps it could be reduced to a discreet button or something?

    Thanks. Is this problem still there? I don’t see it in my browser.

  6. @Orthodox
    So this explains Stripes?

    Kind of …

    • Replies: @Bub
    A veteran of that era once told me that Stripes was absolutely the most realistic depiction of what being in the army was like and every other movie was Hollywood nonsense.
  7. In 1979, the Army reported that 9 percent of the new recruits were Category IV. In reality, 42 percent of all new soldiers were Category IV due to the misnorming.

    Wow.

  8. I’m getting the “Email This Page to Someone” box as well.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Thanks for mentioning problems.

    Ron says: "It's just that I made a change in the CSS Stylesheet regarding hidden items. He just needs to refresh his browser and the new CSS will load. It's a one-time issue whenever a major change is made in the stylesheet."

  9. @Greenstalk
    I'm getting the "Email This Page to Someone" box as well.

    Thanks for mentioning problems.

    Ron says: “It’s just that I made a change in the CSS Stylesheet regarding hidden items. He just needs to refresh his browser and the new CSS will load. It’s a one-time issue whenever a major change is made in the stylesheet.”

  10. I was in the US Army 1974-77, and I can confirm it felt a lot closer to the 42 percent figure. I figured a similar fraction of my fellow Basic trainees were there on the “option plan” – i.e., some hometown judge gave them the option: Jail or the Army. Most of the rest had no options, economically speaking. The country was in the worst depression since the 1930’s.

  11. In 1979, the Army reported that 9 percent of the new recruits were Category IV. In reality, 42 percent of all new soldiers were Category IV due to the misnorming.

    That’s interesting. Wasn’t the USSR at peak strength around 1980? I wonder if this would have made a difference if the Cold War went hot in the 80s. Perhaps the USSR may have felt more confident and not capitulated had it known about this.

  12. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    42% in Category IV is amazing in another sense. the recruiting officers must have known they were sending in a lot of dimwits. they must have been more interested in their own bonuses than in the quality of the men they were signing up. i’ll bet there was a real conspiracy of silence in official reports, a heavy reliance on “the computer know best” even though it was obviously wrong, and plenty of funny in not such a nice way stories around the nco club and the boq.

  13. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    So the law of supply and demand even applies to such an esoteric field as military recruiting.
    Funny that, ‘top’ economists have been shouting and screaming for years that ‘supply and demand’ is absolutely and completely irrelevant to ‘hard’ and pure axioms of economics such as the relation between uncontrolled immigration and wage rates.

  14. Priss Factor [AKA "Cloudcastler"] says:

    Shiites have to be the most unfortunately named people in the world–at least in the Anglosphere.

    Shiite!

  15. Well, thank God your navy didn’t have any nuclear weapons or nuclear propulsion, that’s all I can say.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The U.S. military managed to accidentally drop several nuclear weapons on American land, but fortunately none of them exploded.
  16. @dearieme
    Well, thank God your navy didn't have any nuclear weapons or nuclear propulsion, that's all I can say.

    The U.S. military managed to accidentally drop several nuclear weapons on American land, but fortunately none of them exploded.

    • Replies: @prosa123
    The closest call happened in North Carolina in January 1961, when an Air Force bomber carrying two enormous H-bombs broke up in the air. While one bomb wasn't armed, the other was all set to go. It floated to the ground on a parachute and was found hanging in a tree beside a quiet country road.
    US nuclear weapons normally had three safety switches to prevent accidental detonation. Not long before the North Carolina accident a safety committee determined that bombs had to be retrofitted with a fourth switch. Air Force commanders only reluctantly went along, arguing that the three existing switches were more than enough.
    Examination of the bomb found in the tree showed that all three of the original switches had failed. Only the newly added fourth switch had prevented a multi-megaton explosion. That would have been quite the inauguration gift to JFK, who had been sworn in just a day or two earlier. Depending on winds it might even have been unwise to stay too long outdoors in Washington.
  17. What is up with all the ear stretching and tattooing? Especially among women? Do they think guys go “Damn, that woman would be hot if only she had a few neck tattoos and a big hole in her earlobe!”

    I like this article:

    Right down the bottom they have these choice quotes:

    Dr Ken Stewart, a member of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, says ear lobes are made of skin and fat but they are sensitive organs – they turn red when people get embarrassed and have an erogenous function. He says the main danger of ear stretching is deformity.

    He is used to seeing people with lobes damaged because of bites or big earrings but only in the last few years has he been asked to repair lobes affected by ear stretching – he carried out five operations in the past year.

    “They tend to get it done as teenagers and then they have to correct it as they get older for career reasons.”

    If there is still tissue, he can put it back together again using what he describes as a “Swiss roll technique”. This will take about 45 minutes and cost £2,500.

    More extensive damage will require taking cartilage from the rib and this surgery will take up to four hours and cost £8,000.

  18. “42% in Category IV is amazing in another sense. the recruiting officers must have known they were sending in a lot of dimwits.”

    The relevant question is did the “dimwits” serve with honor and distinction as a whole.

  19. A couple of obvious questions: (1) Why haven’t the courts intervened to block the use of these tests, which obviously discriminate against black and hispanic (indio) applicants? (2) On the other hand, this suggests that Jews and Asians should be heavily over-represented in our armed forces. Has anyone investigated this?

  20. “Anonym says:
    July 7, 2014 at 6:47 am

    What is up with all the ear stretching and tattooing? Especially among women? Do they think guys go “Damn, that woman would be hot if only she had a few neck tattoos and a big hole in her earlobe!””

    The marketing of evil and cultural decay. A young woman of my aquaintenance – a not bad looking woman – recently got these monstrosities. I can barely stand to look at her now. They’re grotesque.

    I’m sure the military will change their standards, at least the army, which seems to be the most PC service branch. Ear gauges (I didn’t even know what those were called until I saw it in this post), horns, skull-tattoos. What the Hell, why not? If they’ll soon be admitting trannies, why not recruits who look like south-sea cannibals? We could have a whole army that looks like it came out of “The Ghosts of Mars” – fearsome, ugly, ghoulish looking freaks. It will strike terror into the US army’s enemies, who – by that time – will be openly identifies as………normal middle Americans.

  21. Five percent, forty-two percent, what’s the difference? Close enough for government work.

  22. In 1973/74, the US Air Force – which traditionally took in more intelligent recruits – was accepting the guys who did this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hi-Fi_murders

    I read a book on their crime, and they were every bit the dumbasses you would expect them to be. Further, there were anywhere from 3-6 airmen involved in the fiasco.

    The mess of Vietnam left the US military severely drained of qualified recruits. In high school I knew an older guy who graduated from the Air Force Academy in the mid-70s, and when I asked him how he got in, he replied: “I was the only guy in my congressional district who applied.”

  23. The four-tattoo-below-the-knee-or-elbow rule doesn’t make sense; it should be in terms of surface area.

  24. There there is an explanation for this.

  25. @Steve Sailer
    Kind of ...

    A veteran of that era once told me that Stripes was absolutely the most realistic depiction of what being in the army was like and every other movie was Hollywood nonsense.

  26. prosa123 [AKA "Peter"] says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer
    The U.S. military managed to accidentally drop several nuclear weapons on American land, but fortunately none of them exploded.

    The closest call happened in North Carolina in January 1961, when an Air Force bomber carrying two enormous H-bombs broke up in the air. While one bomb wasn’t armed, the other was all set to go. It floated to the ground on a parachute and was found hanging in a tree beside a quiet country road.
    US nuclear weapons normally had three safety switches to prevent accidental detonation. Not long before the North Carolina accident a safety committee determined that bombs had to be retrofitted with a fourth switch. Air Force commanders only reluctantly went along, arguing that the three existing switches were more than enough.
    Examination of the bomb found in the tree showed that all three of the original switches had failed. Only the newly added fourth switch had prevented a multi-megaton explosion. That would have been quite the inauguration gift to JFK, who had been sworn in just a day or two earlier. Depending on winds it might even have been unwise to stay too long outdoors in Washington.

  27. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Here is a poser for the sociological & demographic sleuths here.

    Out of the Army, AF, USN and Marines, the USMC has the highest percentage of whites, the lowest percentage of blacks (ok, so far consistent for a white redneck interpretation of the Corps at least) but strangely has the highest percentage of hispanics.

    I’m having a hard time figuring that one out.

  28. anon • Disclaimer says:

    “42% in Category IV is amazing in another sense. the recruiting officers must have known they were sending in a lot of dimwits.”

    The USMC smelled a rat right from the beginning and began their own independent studies. For a variety of reasons, each service branch was affected differently by this misnorming and while the USMC was affected slightly less, it was still problematic.

    Actually, the whole era was problematic for the services in the post Vietnam malaise. Recruiting in the USMC was especially hard at the beginning of the all volunteer force because of their gung ho image in an era that was still peace, love, long hair (the USMC was the only branch that didn’t relax their haircut standards, for example). People truly thought the USMC was going to turn you into a psycho killer.

    The problems with recruiting actually began in the latter part of the Vietnam war as the USMC continued to rely mostly on volunteers as the public turned against the war. This caused the USMC to accept more marginal recruits and tighten the screws harder in boot camp under the philosphy of “we can make anyone a Marine”.

    Then, when you couldn’t think things could get worse, the inception of the all volunteer force caused the bottom to fall out of USMC recruiting, something completely unexpected in the Corps, who thought themselves immune from this, having usually relied upon volunteers. But no, it turned out that a lot of people joined the Corps when faced with the draft. Sounds crazy on the face of it, joining the USMC to escape the Army, but apparently a lot of people figured if they were going to have to fight, they may as well do it w/others who also volunteered.

    So even more marginal recruits were accepted shortly post-Vietnam and the screws just tightened up harder at boot camp. This lead to both the Full Metal Jacket era of late-60’s to mid-70’s fame and some fairly notorious boot camp incidents that came to a head for the Corps in 1976.

    That isn’t to say that USMC boot camp hasn’t always been tough, challenging, but the exceptional abuses got totally out of hand, both because of the recruiting spiral in conjunction w/Marine philosophy (“we make a Marine out of anyone”) as well as general institutional decay of just about everything in the U.S. during that era.

    FWIW, the “we can make Marines out of anyone” stemmed from WWII, where the size of the Corps increased by a factor of 20 fold over a very short period. Generally, it was workable through WWII, Korea, peacetime until the latter part of Vietnam when the public turned against the war and recruits were not as motivated by patriotism/duty to enlist or, once enlisted, go along with the program.

    Commandants Wilson (75->79) and Barrow (79->83) got their hands around this (and other) problem and probably saved the Corps from either outright abolishment or severe neutering. One of the big things they figured out was they needed to change the culture of “make anyone a Marine” and push it out and focus on recruiting people who were likely to become Marines without having to be beaten/abused rather severely.

    FWIW, these institutional changes were highly resisted in the late 70’s, early 80’s all the way up and down the rank structure in the Corps, from privates to generals. Everyone pretty much had sort of an abusee codependent relationship with their boot camp/OCS experience. It took literally hundreds of courts martial over 3-4 years, beginning in late 70’s, to get the message across that the USMC was actually serious about this.

    None of this is opinion and for all the warts and wrinkles, it is discussed/documented very objectively in USMC official histories. Wilson and Barrow (Barrow was Wilson protege..) really stood up against a hostile Congress, skeptical public, and a deeply revanchist USMC.

    Oh, and while all that was going on, Wilson, in particular, laid the groundwork for the USMC to be transformed into a modern, maneuver warfare, NATO-capable force from a organization that was seen at the time as either an obsolete force for mass storming of beaches or a light, jungle-warfare expeditionary force that was duplicative of the Army.

    I guess I should add that I was at Parris Island in 1976, watching, other things, one of the recruits get his front teeth knocked out with his rifle in front of the whole platoon.

    Pretty interesting time to be in the Corps.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Thanks.
  29. @anon
    “42% in Category IV is amazing in another sense. the recruiting officers must have known they were sending in a lot of dimwits.”

    The USMC smelled a rat right from the beginning and began their own independent studies. For a variety of reasons, each service branch was affected differently by this misnorming and while the USMC was affected slightly less, it was still problematic.

    Actually, the whole era was problematic for the services in the post Vietnam malaise. Recruiting in the USMC was especially hard at the beginning of the all volunteer force because of their gung ho image in an era that was still peace, love, long hair (the USMC was the only branch that didn't relax their haircut standards, for example). People truly thought the USMC was going to turn you into a psycho killer.

    The problems with recruiting actually began in the latter part of the Vietnam war as the USMC continued to rely mostly on volunteers as the public turned against the war. This caused the USMC to accept more marginal recruits and tighten the screws harder in boot camp under the philosphy of "we can make anyone a Marine".

    Then, when you couldn't think things could get worse, the inception of the all volunteer force caused the bottom to fall out of USMC recruiting, something completely unexpected in the Corps, who thought themselves immune from this, having usually relied upon volunteers. But no, it turned out that a lot of people joined the Corps when faced with the draft. Sounds crazy on the face of it, joining the USMC to escape the Army, but apparently a lot of people figured if they were going to have to fight, they may as well do it w/others who also volunteered.

    So even more marginal recruits were accepted shortly post-Vietnam and the screws just tightened up harder at boot camp. This lead to both the Full Metal Jacket era of late-60's to mid-70's fame and some fairly notorious boot camp incidents that came to a head for the Corps in 1976.

    That isn't to say that USMC boot camp hasn't always been tough, challenging, but the exceptional abuses got totally out of hand, both because of the recruiting spiral in conjunction w/Marine philosophy ("we make a Marine out of anyone") as well as general institutional decay of just about everything in the U.S. during that era.

    FWIW, the "we can make Marines out of anyone" stemmed from WWII, where the size of the Corps increased by a factor of 20 fold over a very short period. Generally, it was workable through WWII, Korea, peacetime until the latter part of Vietnam when the public turned against the war and recruits were not as motivated by patriotism/duty to enlist or, once enlisted, go along with the program.

    Commandants Wilson (75->79) and Barrow (79->83) got their hands around this (and other) problem and probably saved the Corps from either outright abolishment or severe neutering. One of the big things they figured out was they needed to change the culture of "make anyone a Marine" and push it out and focus on recruiting people who were likely to become Marines without having to be beaten/abused rather severely.

    FWIW, these institutional changes were highly resisted in the late 70's, early 80's all the way up and down the rank structure in the Corps, from privates to generals. Everyone pretty much had sort of an abusee codependent relationship with their boot camp/OCS experience. It took literally hundreds of courts martial over 3-4 years, beginning in late 70's, to get the message across that the USMC was actually serious about this.

    None of this is opinion and for all the warts and wrinkles, it is discussed/documented very objectively in USMC official histories. Wilson and Barrow (Barrow was Wilson protege..) really stood up against a hostile Congress, skeptical public, and a deeply revanchist USMC.

    Oh, and while all that was going on, Wilson, in particular, laid the groundwork for the USMC to be transformed into a modern, maneuver warfare, NATO-capable force from a organization that was seen at the time as either an obsolete force for mass storming of beaches or a light, jungle-warfare expeditionary force that was duplicative of the Army.

    I guess I should add that I was at Parris Island in 1976, watching, other things, one of the recruits get his front teeth knocked out with his rifle in front of the whole platoon.

    Pretty interesting time to be in the Corps.

    Thanks.

  30. @

    I suspect that high level of Latinos being in the Marines comes of the large presence of Marines in California. It is the branch to which many California Latinos are exposed.

  31. Yet Mensa accepts AFQT scores from prior to 1980, but not afterwards, as proof of IQ.

    http://www.us.mensa.org/join/testscores/qualifyingscores/


  32. @sailer

    Thanks, Anon, and Mr Sailer.
    Great column, Mr. Sailer.
    Anon, I enjoy your comments, and observations.

  33. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Thanks.”

    Like virtually all Marines (i.e., every single one I discussed the topic with during the era and it was a frequent topic of discussion), I thought these changes were pussifying the Corps at the behest of “Mothers of America”, that perennial bugbear of the USMC. And while recruiting standards continued to to rise throughout the 80’s, even from my entry in 1976 to exit in 1980, the changes were very palpable.

    The newer Marines just seemed like such nicer people, much rarer were the guys like my platoon guidon/honorman, a gang leader from the South Bronx or they guys who knocked off a bank in Jacksonville NC with their M-16’s on a lunch break.

    The better “good order and discipline” in barracks life was much appreciated by all, again, up and down the ranks, but there was a nagging suspicion that these guys weren’t going to be as good fighters. Even Gen. Al Gray, Commandant of the Corps in the latter 80’s, said something about having to make all these fine young guys the Corps has into the sort of street fighters the Corps used to get.

    However, that’s all been disproven in the years since in various engagements, the USMC is fine, they don’t need the extreme sadistic abuse. So one realizes that era for what it was, just a downward spiral, driven by the recruiting exigencies, Vietnam/post Vietnam malaise, allowing lots of USMC boot camp to become an example of life imitating (and amplifying) art, reputation, really becoming a caricature of itself and an almost satanic enterprise in some platoons. Sure, you can read all sorts of harsh stories from the 40’s/50’s, but what is enlightening about them is not the harshness, but occasionally details about what liberties they had.

    For instance, the Ribbon Creek incident in 1956 occurred as punishment because Sgt. McKeon had, earlier in the day, left the platoon unsupervised for a bit and returned to find them cutting up, smoking cigarettes, etc., instead of what he had charged them with doing. I was sort of surprised to read that, as we were not left unsupervised for a single moment the entire time I was at Parris Island, we recruits were never, and I mean never, not during meals, showers, or anything remotely resembling down time, allowed to talk to each other except for official stuff (although obviously we were pretty sneaky about this) and we certainly didn’t have cigarettes. Our platoon was allowed one cigarette once during the entire time there because we had the highest shooting scores in our series of 4 platoons. Very monastic existence, again, it seems to have sort of blossomed over the years into this extreme control from harsh control of previous years as did the sadistic abuse grew out of relatively unremarkable physical abuse.

    I’d still be less than honest were I to deny that I believe that some physicality in USMC training has some purpose, the occasional slap or cuff. For my part, I scored the highest in my series of 4 platoons, by a wide & distinctive margin, on the intelligence/aptitude tests (still ended up as grunt, though) administered shortly after arrival at Parris Island. I think for this reason, our Company Drill instructor (this is lofty a position above the drill instructors assigned to a platoon), would single me out a couple of times a week when he saw our platoon passing by. The first time, he got in front of me, began asking me standard USMC knowledge questions until I missed one and punched me in the gut. Not super hard such that I doubled over and barfed, but certainly enough to startle/hurt me, especially being unprepared.

    But that was the last time I was unprepared and it got to be sort of a game, he’d approach me with an evil sh*t-eating grin, begin asking me questions. Sometimes he would leave it with me answering all of them, and depart, other times he would take it all the way to a miss and punch me in the stomach, but of course I’d be ready and tensed up for that were I to reply “Sir, the private doesn’t know”. That pattern held for a while, until he then once punched me after answering a question correctly, the lesson being, be prepared at all times, not just when you think you should be. And it wasn’t just for me, as the whole platoon would be witnessing this out of the corner of their eyes and hearing the exchange.

    It really did get to be a game, sometimes I could barely restrain a grin when he would walk up. As for the occasional punch, well, no harm, no foul, he was pretty measured about it, certainly a Marine wannabe should be able to take that.

    So overall, even with the perspective of years, there was valuable training in this sort of thing, esp. psychologically for both me and the rest of the platoon. The problem is is that some guys like him are measured and somewhat judicious about administration of this sort of thing and others aren’t, like the drill instructor who broke one of our recruits front teeth with his rifle.

    The first problem was that it was way, way out of proportion to the offense, the victim was basically a good guy who made a trivial honest mistake. But the Sgt. who did this was, IMO, truly a psycho. When you first get there, all the DI’s seem like psychos, but after a while, you still fear them but understand that they are regular people (or regular Marines) doing their jobs. But this Sgt. was different and I (and everyone else in the platoon) continued to viscerally fear him as a psycho, he couldn’t hide the relish he took in inflicting pain via violence and other measures.

    So the only solution is that Drill Instructors can’t do anything along these lines. And, just as a point of reference, Drill Instructors have never been allowed, by policy or military law, to strike recruits in the USMC. There are all sorts of examples of Drill Instructors getting relieved, court-martialled, for maltreatment of recruits at least back to WWII. Generally, it was something that was winked at to a certain level of intensity and best done away from prying eyes of officers (who did the winking so long as informal custom was observed). You aren’t going to find a whole lot of (true) stories about recruits getting cold-cocked in front of officers, etc., from any era in USMC boot camp.

    The rules have been relatively consistently enforced, at least to a much lower level of intensity, since the 70’s and, while I can see the training value of some physical abuse, its absence certainly hasn’t crippled the Corps, again, as evidenced by their performance in various engagements. Perhaps if the Corps starts again widespread recruiting of various petty criminals, dregs, they will need this again, but recent crops of recruits seem convinceable by more psychological and less physical methods.

  34. “The U.S. military managed to accidentally drop several nuclear weapons on American land, but fortunately none of them exploded.”

    We also managed to bomb neutral Zurich during WWII. We mistook it for Aschaffenburg, a hell of a long way away. (Though we did flatten Ludwig I’s wonderful replica of a Pompeii residence in A’burg on another sortie. Which city they were aiming for, I don’t know. Maybe Ludwig II’s Neuschwanstein.)

    The crew went to court-martial, where the presiding officer was Jimmy Stewart.

  35. This explains why Bradley Manning was tolerated for so long. He had Category I smarts, so what if he wore women’s clothing and got into fights with Ls. Being a T may have been viewed as positive as it meant he could not be promoted out of his work area.

  36. You to go and sit down on that bench that says Group W …. NOW kid!!”

    And I, I walked over to the, to the bench there, and there is, Group W’s
    Where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army after
    Committing your special crime, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly
    Looking people on the bench there. Mother rapers. Father stabbers. Father
    Rapers! Father rapers sitting right there on the bench next to me! And
    They was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible crime-type guys sitting on

    From Alice’s Restaurant – Arlo Gurthrie

  37. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    And, just as a point of reference, Drill Instructors have never been allowed, by policy or military law, to strike recruits in the USMC

    My dad, who joined the USMC in the early days of WWII and went on to have a long and storied career, was vehement in his extensive stories about recruits being beaten, poked, prodded, and toppled with swagger sticks (as by a poke at the most inconvenient time). He hated swagger sticks with a passion, I guess he’d been on the business end of them a good bit. He once took me to a retired DI he knew just so I could check out the DI’s old swagger stick. I wonder if they poked someone with a swagger stick if it didn’t count as “striking” a recruit? No hands laid on and all that.

    (The swagger stick is like a drummers stick, but the last inch or so is solid silver, which gives it a heavy punch. It’s basically a non-lethal weapon. Used by the Roman centurions to keep order in the ranks and the British upper class. I think the USMC got rid of it by the 1960s.)

  38. ” Steve Sailer says:
    July 7, 2014 at 6:31 am

    The U.S. military managed to accidentally drop several nuclear weapons on American land, but fortunately none of them exploded.”

    Whether it was fortunate or unfortunate entirely depends on where they landed.

  39. “I was sort of surprised to read that, as we were not left unsupervised for a single moment the entire time I was at Parris Island, we recruits were never, and I mean never, not during meals, showers, or anything remotely resembling down time,”

    That’s interesting, because Navy bootcamp was, at least when I went through, set up with the culmination of ‘Service Week’, during which a company would make its evolutions and send out details of recruits to perform tasks without any supervision–the the company commanders would sneak in from time to time. In other words, we were being taught to ‘fight the ship’ on our own.

  40. […] the military. Steve Sailer has written extensively on the subject (see here, here, here, here, and here). The software development community is another such meritocracy. Hell, the members of this […]

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