Wed, 21 Jan 2009 02:35:37 +0000 – By Andy RyanFOX News Channel Employee/Army Reservist
During my career in the military, and as of today, I have served under six commanders in chief: three Democrats and three Republicans. Unequivocally, whether Democrat or Republican, each of the five previous presidents have dealt with military successes and also military problems. All of the people I associate with in the military are proud to serve regardless of the political party of the commander in chief. And during all these years of service, I have not met anyone who left the U.S. military because of the person who was elected President.
Ironically, I arrived home from Iraq just after the last 2008 presidential primary to find myself inundated with questions concerning age-old misunderstandings about the military. Questions like this, "Are most service members conservative?" "Are they voting Republican in 2008?" While the answers -- to the nearly 88 percent of Americans who have never served the U.S. military -- may be surprising, it makes perfect sense to veterans.
To the first question, are most service members conservative? Unless most Americans, based on demographics, are considered conservatives, I'd say no. In fact, most active duty service members are a near representation of the U.S. population demographics.
All U.S. service members have graduated from high school or receive a GED. Nearly 25 percent of enlisted U.S. service members have either graduated from college or taken some college courses.
Recent military enlistments reflect the racial demographics of America. Within five percentage points or less, recent enlistments of African-Americans, Asian-American, and Hispanics mirror the racial make-up of the U.S.
Recent military enlistments also reflected the state population percentages in the U.S. Californians make-up approx. 12% of 18 to 24 year olds in the U.S. and 10.9% of recent active duty enlistments of 18 to 24 year old came from California. Take Pennsylvanians, they make-up approx. 4% of 18 to 24 year olds in the U.S. and 4% of recent active duty enlistments of 18 to 24 year old came from Pennsylvania.
As for the second question, are U.S. service members voting Republican in 2008?
I don't know because I did not pose this question to any service member. In the U.S. military, most service members don't talk politics. Having come from a political background, I can honestly say it was very refreshing to be in Iraq and carry on conversations that did not include politics. When I go outside the wire for a combat mission, I don't want to know who the soldier next to me is going to vote for; I want to know if they are fully cognizant of their assigned tasks and can properly carry them out.
So, as I have said five times before during my lifetime, congratulations Mr. President. I look forward to serving in the U.S. military while you are Commander in Chief.