Small Wars Journal

National Guard Changes Logo Due to Failure of American Education System

National Guard Changes Logo Due to Failure of American Education System

Franklin C. Annis

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On March 25th, the National Guard Bureau officially announced new branding for recruiting. The traditional “Minuteman” logo will no longer appear on recruiting materials. It was reported that the image did not “resonate” with 16-18-year-old high school students because of lack of knowledge of the historic symbol. Concerns were also expressed that iconic figure from American history wasn’t “inclusive.” Furthermore, due to “no tolerance” policies concerning the display of images of firearms in schools, the traditional Minuteman logo could not be displayed due to inclusion of an 18th century flintlock rifle. Now the National Guard will be represented by a lackluster shield shaped black logo with white and gold lettering. The new recruiting videos will focus primarily on the National Guard’s domestic mission of natural disaster relief.

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I am absolutely appalled by the failure of the American Public Education system. When high school graduates don’t even know they live in a Republic and not a Direct Democracy, the education system has failed to the highest degree. What does it mean to th Army to have citizens swear a blood-oath to the U.S. Constitution upon enlistment while being ignorant of the symbol of the minuteman? Is that oath even valid if the citizen doesn’t even know what they are swearing to defend? The U.S. Department of Education’s $38 Billion-dollar budget isn’t even providing the base level expectations of what an education system should provide to free citizens. We spend on average $115,000 per student (the fifth highest spending in the world), only to have our children graduate without the basic knowledge of our governmental systems or the foundational history of the United States.  Even with this enormous spending on education, our country doesn’t even rank in the top 15 countries for mathematics, science, or reading. It is absolutely asinine that schools would seek to block the National Guard logo due to the image of a flintlock rifle. Educators have grown so incompetent they are unable or unwilling to recognize that violence is sometime required to maintain a civilized world. We seem unable to recognize the importance of educating our civilians on the appropriate use of violence in our society.

It was reported that the National Guard will still use the Minuteman logo for internal use, and we will have to educate our Soldiers on its history after they enlist. But exactly when are we supposed to educate Soldiers on all the fundamental knowledge of a citizen? It clearly won’t be provided in Basic Combat Training nor Advanced Individual Training. We don’t even have a psychological resilience program that treats Soldiers like adults. The Army values are not an organized philosophy but another “branding” tool. So, when exactly are we expected to teach Soldiers the basic knowledge of American citizens? In the 39 days a year we have our Soldiers can we realistically train them for war and teach them what they should have learned in primary and secondary school?

This marketing approach will exacerbate the problem. It will duplicate the situation seen in the Gulf War as Soldiers will report they “just joined for the college money” with this time saying they “just joined to be part of disaster relief.” We are preparing for a near-peer war but are recruiting as if we are in a state of relative peace. What are we doing?

Why are we not looking towards one of our sister branches for inspiration? The United States Marine Corps doesn’t have issues with recruiting. While some might jokingly claim they are a cult, the Marines are experts in selling an image. And it isn’t an image of disaster relief, it is the image of an elite warrior unmatched in history. Every Marine is a “Rifleman”, a cold-blooded killer first and foremost. They are warrior held in check only by a strict code of conduct. They are the consummate savages that allow civilization to exist. And it is this type of image and marketing that the National Guard needs now more than ever. 

Why are we not calling citizens to remember the Minutemen of Lexington and Concord? 77 men stood to against a force 10 times their number. Their opponent wasn’t just any army, it was the strongest in the world but yet these minutemen stood. Imagine the courage to stand with squirrel rifles and shotguns facing hundreds of professional British soldiers. Many Minutemen died that day refusing to yield to the British Army. Although they were forced to flee the battlefield, they used their knowledge of the land and superior tactics learned from the Native Americans to take a grave toil on the British Force. For the next 7 years they fought against the British until freedom was won. Who were these men? They were the local pastor, farmer, and merchant. They were men willing to stand for freedom and defend their homeland. They were the finest of their community wiling to place their lives on the line to establish a free nation unified by the Enlightenment values.

While this nation may have had an imperfect start, 80 years later the National Guard, empowered by Transcendentalist philosophy, fought in the bloodiest war in American history to make all men equal. These citizen-soldier continued their fine service to their nation and community, fighting the nations wars and coming to the aid of their fellow community members. The Minutemen is a symbol of the finest qualities of America. They are individuals, regardless of race, sex, or creed that will imitate the actions of the tiger when tyranny appears and act with modest stillness and humility in times of peace. They are the guardians of the community willing to face unimaged hardships and sacrifice their very lives in defense of their community and the American values.

It would far better serve the National Guard to call the young men and women of America to the highest ideals of the citizen-soldiers. Remind Americans that the National Guard helped forge the strongest military in the history of the world. Let us recruit men and women prepared to deploy and destroy the enemies of the United States. And let that message echo in the minds of our enemies. Let them know that if they dare to threaten America, hundreds of thousands of the finest Americans will forget their peaceful ways, grab their rifles, and bring death and destruction unimagined to their lands.

 

Categories: national guard

About the Author(s)

Franklin C. Annis holds a Doctorate in Education (EdD) from Northcentral University. He created the “Evolving Warfighter” YouTube channel to share his research on Military Self-Development. Dr. Annis is a veteran of Operational Iraqi Freedom.

The views presented in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Defense or its components.