Monday, July 24, 2006

Join Sergeant Friendly Is Waiting For You

Boo Yah! The Marines are looking for a few good men. OK, more than a few. And they don't really care how good they are. And they don't have to be men, so they've taken a page out of the sexual predator's dating handbook and signed up on MySpace.

MySpace.Com is the Internet's most popular social networking site with over 94 million registered users. Teens looking to hook up with a friend on the popular Web community may bump into an unexpected buddy: the U.S. Marine Corps. So far, over 12,000 Web surfers have signed on as friends of the Corps in response to the latest military recruiting tactic.

Over 430 people have asked to contact a Marine recruiter through the site in the five months since the page went up, including some 170 who are considered "targets" or prospective Marine recruits. When asked if a response of 170 out of 94 million was acceptable, a Marine spokesperson replied that it wasn't easy finding people who didn't read the papers or watch the news.

Patrick Baldwin, an 18-year-old recruit from Saratoga, N.Y., who linked his profile to the Marines' site after hearing about it from a friend, said MySpace was a good place for interested teens to start learning more about the Marines. "The more information they give you the less you have to worry about. At least that's what they told me," said Baldwin, who left for boot camp a few weeks ago. When asked how he felt about serving in the war in Iraq Baldwin replied "What war in Iraq? Man. I gotta start reading the papers and watching the news."

"That's the kind of guy we like," said Gunnery Sgt. Brian Lancioni at a Hawaii recruiting event. "Everything's technical with these kids, and the Internet is a great way to show what the Marine Corps has to offer. Well, except for the dying in a meaningless war part. We tend to keep that on the down low."

The Army initially posted ads on MySpace in January but withdrew them a month later when reports emerged about child predators approaching youths via the site. MySpace has since assured the Army it has better security protections in place.

"Turns out it was the Marines all along. We just thought they were predators," said Louise Eaton, media and Web chief for the U.S. Army Accession Command. "We like to go to where the kids are away from their parents to try to inform them of the opportunities we offer, like free artificial limbs, post traumatic stress syndrome counseling, and colorful ribbons."

As for other branches, the Air Force places regular advertisements on MySpace, but doesn't have a profile. The Navy hasn't used MySpace. "We don't have as many units in Iraq so recruiting hasn't been as tough for us," said a Navy spokesman.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow, I know one of the guys quoted in your article. You guys don't just hype the news you completely fabricate quotes. Oh well, I'm sure no one seeks this blog out for truth