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Army Recruiting: The Right Approach

  • Thread starter fortuncookie5084
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Canada does a poor job of promoting its Armed Forces. Heck, we aren‘t even "Armed" anymore; we‘re simply the Canadian Forces (ostensibly to appease the peacenik doves I referred to in another post) now. Here is my favourite recruiting tactic. It comes from the land of the cheeseburger, 69 cent one-gallon soft drinks from 7-11, high healthcare costs, and eight lane highways that still always look like parking lots. Yes, it‘s an American thing, but this is good.

For some thirty-odd years, the 82nd Airborne has had the "All American Chorus" that sings songs glorifying American victories, promoting patriotism, pride in serving in the Army, and telling tales of Airborne life. When I first saw them I thought it was funny and just a little stupid. "So American," I thought. But when they performed I was in awe. I couldn‘t believe it...everyone was so into it. Songs like "Blood on the Risers," "This Is The Army Mr Jones," and "The Last Full Measure of Devotion" have been All American Chorus standards for thirty years. Popular American songs like "Stand By Me" and "Rocky Top" are performed as well. The lyrics strike a chord inside me and I‘m not even American.

They perform in either standard US BDU‘s, or in WW2 uniforms. The maroon beret, jump boots, and the 82nd Airborne patch and Division flag are always prominent. When feasible they arrive at their performance location by means of a parachute jump. Their show always has an Airborne theme. They get their point across from beginning to end, and sing about things that fluff up the military image and make civilans feel proud.

These guys are highly talented, squared away, and fly the Army flag high. A public that sees the Army in this way goes home with a very positive feeling. To see what they‘re doing right, visit these links:

(official site): http://www.bragg.army.mil/www-82DV/all_american_chorus.htm

If you have Napster and want to hear some of their tunes for yourself, search stuff like "airborne" and "all american chorus."
We used to have all kinds of professional musicians. The government cut funding to all Reserve pipe bands (pretty shrewd, really - they knew the regiments would fund volunteer bands of their own accord) and got rid of some truly excellent regular musicians - PPCLI Regimental Band comes to mind.
I have nothing against tradition being a part of the Canadian Forces. However, I question the usefulness of Pipes and Drums in creating awareness of the Armed Forces. The public is by-and-large ignorant of the military, and those most so (a surprising number, from what I‘ve experiences) don‘t know the difference between, say, The Black Watch Pipes and Drums, and an American-style marching band. They do not realize that those guys and girls in kilts are the same ones who don fatigues and fight overseas.

I never want to see these traditions disappear. I am not anti-regimental and do not advocate going to a numbered-unit system as some people in the national defence community do. Those traditions are part and parcel of the Army‘s fabric, and we need to keep them. On the flipside, the potential up-and-coming soldier, sailor, or air force person (no no, not airman) is unmoved by a company of Redcoats doing precision drill to the tune of the British Grenadier. Unlike at one time, nobody in the public knows who Lysander and Hercules are, nor do they have any idea what the line "Captain T of the Royal G." refers to. I‘m a member of the Ceremonial Guard, and I know what it is worth, but it does little to promote the Forces in general (it sure does wonders for my unit, though).

What we need is an up-to-date, permanent, engaging & interesting recruiting campaign. "Your Pride, Your Future, Your Move" never made me want to join. Get the people interested. SHOW them how fun it is. Make them FEEL the pride in wearing the uniform. We‘re better than the Yanks but their recruiting tactics are so much better.
Originally posted by fortuncookie5084:
[QB]I have nothing against tradition being a part of the Canadian Forces. However, I question the usefulness of Pipes and Drums in creating awareness of the Armed Forces. [QB]

You shouldn‘t; they were (and are) one of the best PR tools a Highland Regiment has. I agree that ceremonial dress has been co-opted. I say pipe bands should get rid of it altogether and wear CFs - a very military looking uniform. For most engagements, when I was a piper, we did wear CFs. And the public knew who the Calgary Highlanders were without us having to tell them.

The Calgary Police also have a pipe band that is a great ambassador and source of pride for the department.

On the other hand, I don‘t see a male choir such as the Red Army has(had?) or these US paras has being as big an inducement to recruiting or public knowledge. How do you put a choir in the Calgary Stampede Parade? (Or Red River Days, Buffalo Days, Klondike Days, etc., etc., )
In addition, my units Pipe‘s and Drums (the only arty one as far as I know) are more well known then the rest of the unit.

A units band is some times its best ambassador

And if a band playing your regimental march doesn‘t bring a lump in your throat or a tear in your eye, your a tougher person then most of us.
I thought we were talking about recruiting, not "bring on the dancing bears!" ( I never joined to be someones entertainment).Take a look at our recruiting commercials/ posters/ brochures vice any arm of the U.S. forces. ( eg. last two issues of Muscle+Fitness magazine, back cover) They advertise for DESIRE/ personal motivation/ challenge, we advertise for a sanitized managerial career.
Exactly. Canada makes it‘s Forces seem like any other arm of the public service. In their advertisements they don‘t promote a fun career, love of country, and devotion to duty. They make is seem like a federal government office job where everyone wears baggy green clothes. Let‘s see more helicopters, tanks, infantry running around, paras jumping, submarines sneaking below the oceans, and fighter jets engaging in mock dogfights. The new commercials are a start, but merely one step in the right direction. I hope they do not revert back to the old garbage.

I agree with the statement that the pipes and drums were the best thing for promoting the above mentioned Highland Regiment. The CG on Parliament Hill is the greatest thing for recruiting at my Regiment. However, the issue here is recruiting throughout the Forces. I‘d like to see something that motivates people to want to wear the uniform. Period. Not one of any particular element or unit, but just to be driven enough to articulate their new-found respect for the Forces by joining up even for a short time in the reserves. There should be something out there that makes the public think "Hey, Canada has one good Army. We‘re awesome to have them on guard for us and those guys and girls sure look like they‘re having a good time doing their jobs." If the Americans can buff up their image (yes, the singing paratroopers are incredibly effective---don‘t laugh too hard until you‘ve seen them perform. The Sh**-faced grin ran away from my face quick enough after their first tune), we sure can buff ours even more.
First, RCA unless things have changed in the last few years the 49th Fd Regt also has a pipe band.

Now my main point, and I realize this is a little off topic. I for one enjoy hearing the sounds of a military band on parade. One can‘t help but feel a little bit more proud of being a soldier. Regt bands are part of the history and traditions of their unit. While their merits as a recruiting tool are being debated one must also take into account the part that bands as well as other traditions play in keeping soldiers from getting out of the military. Recruiting new blood is important but so is keeping trained troops. Regt bands help to foster unit pride and esprit de corps. They make a soldier proud to be part of his unit. I think that part of the reason that people are leaving the army faster then we can recruit new people is that it just isn‘t "the army" any more. The gradual eroding of military traditions is helping to make this happen.
In terms of the right approach to recruiting, I thought this article was definitely headed in the right direction!

Highlanders‘ sense of duty is unreserved
Ceremonies to mark 110 years of proud service
Paul Irish

Three members of the 48th Highlanders Master Cpl. Sean Westrop, left, Highlander Ashley Doyle and Master Cpl. Peter Stibbard.
They‘ve been serving our country with pride through three centuries.

From the Boer War in South Africa to peacekeeping duties in Yugoslavia, the 48th Highlanders have participated in every Canadian military campaign with exception of the Gulf War.

And tomorrow, in recognition of the reserve unit‘s 110th anniversary, 400 current and former members will celebrate with full Scottish Highland pageantry, including the skirl of bagpipes.

``It should be a wonderful day,‘‘ said Capt. Steve Tibbetts, of the Highlanders. ``The unit has a definite spot in Toronto and Canadian history.‘‘

`The unit has a spot in Toronto and Canadian history‘

The public will be treated to a short parade that starts at 10 a.m. at the Moss Park Armoury and proceeds west along Queen St. to Nathan Phillips Square where, at 11 a.m., the unit will be given the freedom of the city by Councillor Chris Korwin-Kuczynski and other dignitaries.

At noon, the parade will return to the armoury along the same route. Members of the regiment past and present and friends will gather for a reception at the St. Andrew‘s Presbyterian Church, where they will meet a delegation from Apeldoorn, Holland.

``The Highlanders helped liberate the town in the Second World War,‘‘ said Tibbetts.

``It‘s a very significant point in the regiment‘s history.‘‘

Capt. John Hill, 33, a Toronto businessman, said he‘s proud to be a Highlander and he‘s looking forward to the celebration.

``We‘re part of the past, the present and we‘ll be busy in the future,‘‘ he said. ``We‘re an important fixture in the city.‘‘

Master Cpl. Sean Westrop said the regiment has proven itself in battle as well as peacetime.

The Highlanders‘ men and women were happy to help dig the city out of the snow three winters ago, he said.

Master Cpl. Peter Stibbard said there aren‘t many jobs that allow you to rappel out of helicopters, so the Highlanders is the ``right spot‘‘ to be.

Highlander Ashley Doyle said the regiment will travel anywhere in Canada where it‘s needed and said he‘s proud the unit was able to help during the Manitoba floods a few years back.

Formed in Toronto in 1891, the regiment adopted the Davidson tartan and the falcon head as its crest.

The first action for the 48th Highlanders, whose home station is at Moss Park, took place in South Africa during the Boer War when the regiment sent more than 116 soldiers to augment the Royal Canadian Regiment in 1899.

They were mobilized again for World War I, and departed for England in September, 1914, as the 15th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. During the war, the regiment was involved in every major action including Ypres, the Somme, Vimy and Passchendaele, but paid heavily with the death of 1,473 men.

During World War II, the regiment was mobilized again and sent to England as part of the first contingent that left Canada in 1939. It later won battle honours in Italy and liberated Apeldoorn in its last action of the war.

The Highlanders were on active duty in Korea and also served on peacekeeping missions in Cyprus, the Middle East, Somalia and the former Yugoslavia.

Closer to home, the regiment is known for its pipe and drum marching band, which has played all over Canada and in international competitions.

The band is a regular feature of Toronto‘s annual Santa Claus parade and for years christened every hockey season by marching out on the ice at Maple Leaf Gardens, a tradition that has continued at the Air Canada Centre.

``Everyone knows about the band. They‘re great,‘‘ said Hill. ``And they‘ll be at it again tomorrow.‘‘
I like the sound of that, Bossi. Another good idea would be a domestically-aimed tv show featuring Canadian soldiers. American shows like GI Joe and Tour of Duty inspired many in my age group, and I think if we are represented glowingly in popular culture, support will follow. I am aware that there was such a show in French, shown pretty much only in Quebec, a few years ago. Why none in English??? If the public sees it on TV then "it has to be true" so wouldn‘t something like that be nice?
you shine a whole new light on the 48th for me.
now that i know a little about the regiments rich history,it makes me a more proud of my cousin (whom is a reservist in the 48th).
mark theses words,"I WILL BE A 48th HIGHLANDER ONE DAY!"