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The Medal of Honor as a tool

Today I was watching the TV and I saw something I never saw before and never thought that I’d ever see. It was a recruiting commercial for the Army and at one point toward the end there was SSgt Salvatore Guinta standing before a mirror in full dress uniform putting on his Medal of Honor that was presented to him in a solemn ceremony by the President of the United States. You can see the commercial on TV or on YouTube. He stood there before the mirror, all spit and polish and wearing the highest medal that the United States presents to a soldier for valor and courage on the field of battle. And here the Army thought it wise to use SSgt Guinta and his Medal of Honor as a recruiting tool. So the United States Army has now commercialized the Congressional Medal of Honor. It’s now being used as a recruiting tool. I wonder what the person that authorized this was thinking. Did he actually say to himself or others, “let’s put SSgt Guinta in the commercial? That’ll get em’ to join.” They’re actually selling the idea of “winning” a Medal of Honor, as if it’s something that you “win”.

It seems to be working. The comments on YouTube are probably 98% positive. Many of the young men are thrilled at seeing SSgt Guinta and his Medal of Honor. They’re ready to go. As the father of a soldier who serves in the Army Special Forces, and did three tours of Iraq, I don’t know what I’m more appalled at; the Army commercializing the highest honor given to an American soldier to be used as a recruiting tool, or the fact that not one person looked at that ad and said, “ What???” There are some things that are beyond commercialization, some things that you simply don’t reduce to a mere tool for selling a product. I used to think that was the case. I used to think that the Army understood that.

I suppose that it’s only a matter of time before they use the Towers falling on 9/11 as a recruiting tool. Perhaps the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier will be next. As the father of a soldier who serves in the Army Special Forces and did three tours of Iraq, I’m shocked and appalled that the Army would be this crass, but I’m even more shocked that it raised no questions as to the tasteless commercialization of the nation’s highest honor.
 

shrubnose

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Never saw the ad, but the commercialization of any military award doesn't seem like a good idea to me. The fact that the Medal of Honor is involved takes it to a higher level.
If anyone thinks that this ad is a good idea, I would like to hear what they have to say.
 

Adagio

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The ad appears on You Tube as well as TV. On YouTube the young hero wannabes love it. To me, I agree with your view entirely. I was pretty appalled by it.
 

Unitedwestand13

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The Medal of Honor is not something that should be taken lightly. It is awarded to those who go beyond the call of duty and perform acts that stand out for their bravery, including acts were ultimate sacrifice is made. To be used as a recruiting tool shows something dark about how our military has changed
 

ecofarm

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I don't see a problem with highlighting the best of the best, someone who embodied the military's ideals in action. The difficulty that I see is most are awarded to dead people and that aspect doesn't seem like a strong advertising angle. (I didn't see the ad)
 

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ecofarm;bt2224 said:
I don't see a problem with highlighting the best of the best, someone who embodied the military's ideals in action. The difficulty that I see is most are awarded to dead people and that aspect doesn't seem like a strong advertising angle. (I didn't see the ad)


Yes. Most of the recipients are dead. So..that wouldn't make for a strong advertising angle.:roll: And that's what it's all about? So, you don't see the MOH as something sacred, and above commercialization? Using the Medal in an ad is commercialization. You know that right? The Army is using it to sell itself. If the MOH is just a tool for a sales pitch to move a product...then what's the big deal about it? And here I always thought it meant something...more then a mere advertising tool. :doh
 

Adagio

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Unitedwestand13;bt2219 said:
The Medal of Honor is not something that should be taken lightly. It is awarded to those who go beyond the call of duty and perform acts that stand out for their bravery, including acts were ultimate sacrifice is made. To be used as a recruiting tool shows something dark about how our military has changed


Reducing it to a sales tool completely diminishes its meaning. It's now part of a sales pitch. I thought the Army would have more respect for it than that.
 

APACHERAT

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The U.S. Army for the past few decades has had a PR problem when it came to recruiting. The classic was probably "Army of One." Individualism in the army doesn't win battles. It's team work, unit cohesion anmd having high moral that wins battles. Like when a recruit shows up at boot camp the first thing they do is strip you of your identity and that starts with having all of your hair shaved off. By the end of the day, everyone looks the same.

Another recruiting gimmick that caused a lot of unhappy campers in Special Forces (Green Berets), Rangers and Air Born was when the army authorised the wearing of the beret by all soldiers. The berets was something that had to be earned. Only the few and elite in the army ever earned that right until the late 1990's when every soldier was wearing a beret.

Allowing soldiers to wear their fatigues (BDU's) off base is another problem. Soldiers like the idea but it's also recruiting gimmick. Glad to see the U.S. Marines still hold on to their traditions and regulations. You'll never see a Marine walking down the streets of Oceanside, Ca. or in the airports wearing their utilities. They are in dress uniform or civvies.

The Marine Corps has always had an excellent PR. Some of the best recruiting posters and slogans. "Tell it to a Marine" is a classic from W W l. "Ready to Fight", "We Didn't Promise You a Rose Garden" (Vietnam era), "The Proud, The Few, The Marines" is the classic.

The Navy's best one was "See the World, Join the Navy."

Then you had the unofficial Vietnam era posters and slogans. " Join the Army, travel to interesting lands and meet strange and interesting people and kill them."


The best Marine Corps recruiting tools actually was Hollywood. Between W W ll and the end of the Vietnam war more young men were influenced by the movie "The Sands of Iwo Jima" and enlisted. For those Vietnam vets, they would soon discover that Hollywood was full of crap. The television sitcom comedy, "Gomer Pyle USMC" is also credited of influencing many young men. Again hundreds of thousands of Marines would find out that Hollywood was full of crap. Since the 1987 the best recruiting tool for the Marine Corps has been the movie "Full Metal Jacket." The first half of the movie considered to be the most historically correct movie ever produced showing what military basic recruit training was actually like during the Vietnam war era.

I think the U.S. Army needs to play off from their heritage and history as part of their recruiting PR. I wouldn't recommend Custer's Last Stand or the fall of Corregidor and the Bataan Death March.
 

Adagio

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Good Post Pach. I've seen Full Metal Jacket about 7 times. Powerful film. The Army has recently taken back the berets from the regular guys ( legs ). They wear caps now. SF of course has theirs. I think Airborne still wears maroon, and Rangers wear tan. I have a black one and a maroon one from my son. The black was when he was in boot camp. Then the maroon when he was with the 82nd. I don't have a Green one. They don't give those out, even to family members. They get one. I've got a big ring that says Special Forces Proud Father. 10th Special Forces Group. 2010.

The Green Berets film with John Wayne was probably a good recruiting tool. The song, and all that mystique.

As you can see from my post, I don't like using the MOH as a recruiting tool. I think that crosses the line, and the Army should be ashamed for doing that. The last thing we should do is commercialize the MOH.

I saw a bunch of young kids watching the video on YouTube thinking, I'm going to join and maybe "win" a MOH, as if thats something you "win". Unbelievable. What are they thinking? As if it's some kind of competition.
 

APACHERAT

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I only personally knew one person who was awarded the CMO. He was posthumously awarded the CMO. He was a big black Marine from the South. 250 pounds of solid muscle. I met him while going through 2nd ITR. There was an incident between me and some other black Marine one night in our squad tent and this big black Marine I really didn't know got in front of me and told the other Marine " You're going to have to go through me to get to him." We became the best of friends for the next two weeks when we parted ways, he to ATI and then Vietnam and I went to Naval Gunfire School and then Vietnam. Never saw him again.

Two years later I was reading Leatherneck magazine and read that he was posthumously awarded the CMO for throwing himself upon a grenade to save his buddies in his rifle squad.

Once at Camp Pendleton in 1970 I noticed that every time this one particular enlisted Marine came near an officer, that the officers were saluting him. My buddy told me who he was and that he was awarded the CMO. Officer have to salute enlisted men if they have been awarded the CMO. Kinda funny seeing butter bars, Captains and even a Lt. Col. saluting a Marine corporal.
 

Adagio

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Wow. Great story Pach. I met a guy at my sons SF graduation who was awarded the CMO. He was a former Green Beret who served in Nam. I didn't know it at the time, but my son told me about him and the dinner they had the night before graduation. He had long grey hair and a ponytail. Very Hippy looking although nicely dressed. Soft spoken and very peaceful in his demeaner. My son told me later he could kill you with his eyelashes. :shock:
 
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