Non-Military Gent Attempts to Second-Guess Hollywood

With 20 years of active duty experience in the military, including in both the Air Force and working alongside the U.S. Army for two years, let’s see how well you do:

Ten – Combat: Partially correct. Most people in the military are indeed, however, about God and Country, and the darker side you mentioned as portrayed by Bogart is quite rare.

ASIDE: WordPress doesn’t like backwards numbering, hence the words instead of numbers.

Nine – Uniforms: Correct.

Eight – Boredom: Mostly incorrect. While there are indeed periods of boredom, and to some it may seem like the norm, it’s not actually the norm. The vast majority of people in the military are kept quite business doing a fairly wide variety of duties. Some of those can become repetitive, but they’re still busy. They’re largely NOT just sitting around being bored. As for gambling, it’s an occasional pasttime for some, but not for most. Your portrayal of gambling as a major problem is just wrong.

Seven – Morale: Mostly incorrect. The military does not spend “a great deal of time and money” on morale. It’s a side effect of good leaders, good followers, and worthwhile training and operational missions. The rest of your crap (yes — crap) strongly indicates that despite your incessant air of authority, you have little, if any experience in or with the military yourself.

ASIDE: I’m beginning to think at this point your “TopTenz” channel has a heavy if not severe anti-military bias.

Six – Incompetent brass: Irrelevant. What in the world did this section have to do with its title? Just about zero. Fail.

Five – Saluting: Partially incorrect. While your saluting posture is mostly correct, you do make a couple of errors. First, your General Orders apply to enlisted, not officers such as Lieutenant Pete Mitchell in Top Gun. Second, Top Gun was a thoroughly enjoyable movie whose producers specifically stated ahead of time, “I didn’t create it for military aviators.” Third, Top Gun erred on many fronts, but it never purported itself to be an accurate portrayal, and the U.S. Navy was fine with that as it turned out to be a huge recruiting flick, not only for the Navy but for all military services.

Four – Comms and 24-hour time: Mostly correct. Even so, it is not absolute, as I have indeed heard “oh-630” and “hours” on many occasions, from members of all branches of the service.

Three – Weapons handling: Mostly incorrect. Rambo aside, Hollywood often gets weapons handling right, as that’s the first thing they’re likely to be dinged on by veterans. “The recoil would render it impossible to control while firing.” Now that’s just flat out wrong. It is, after all, WHAT WE DO. As for your claim that weapons are often depicted as having far more ammunition than they do, well, that’s the one thing you did get right.

Two – NCOs: Mostly correct. However, you should indeed look up “wall to wall counseling.” I don’t mean to shatter your perception, but you should realize that NCOs primary mission is to ensure the job gets done. If all else fails…

One – Average People: Mostly incorrect. First, there’s absolutely nothing “average” about the 5% of the population who volunteers to serve in the United States military. Second, while we do much the same as other members of our community, we’re not at all trained like other members of our community. For one, depending upon the job and branch of service, there’s a month or four long boot camp with intense physical and mental training, along with the rudiments required for basic military service. The volunteer aspect washes out the majority of people who know they have neither the physical nor mental toughness to make it through. Next, there are initial and subsequent training schools for one’s specialty lasting between several months to a couple of years or more. People wash out of those, too. Third, there’s the absolute can-do mindset. The military never asks people to do more than they can handle, but it is tough, and depending upon the job, washout rates range from 5% to 95%. 30% is a good all-around average. Those who make it through KNOW they can do what it takes to make the mission happen, and they do just that. My experience in the civilian world makes me appreciate the outstanding men and women who serve in the military all the more. Finally, you claimed most don’t ever serve in a combat zone. Wrong. While 40% do not, 60% — a majority — do serve in a combat zone.


Grading Scale:
100%: Correct
80%: Mostly Correct
60%: Partially Correct
40%: Partially Incorrect
20%: Mostly Incorrect
0%: Incorrect/Irrelevant

NOW: If you feel I’m being unfair or grading you harshly, then welcome to the military! We set high standards and hold our service members to them for exceptionally good reason: Loosing battles, if not wars, absolutely sucks.

Updated: April 26, 2021 — 6:03 am