Be all that you can be -- if you feel like it

September 30, 1999|By Kevin Cowherd

News item: A serious shortage of military recruits is forcing the Pentagon to revamp its strategy for filling its ranks.

Commercial, 60 seconds: Voice-over: "Psst! Got a minute?" Video: Bored teen slumped on rowhouse steps looks up at camera, listlessly bounces tennis ball.

VO: "Thinking about your future? Need a challenge? If you thought the armed forces were all about this . . . "

Video: Soldiers with blackened faces rappel down mountain in full battle gear, attack helicopters scream overhead, radio unit scrambles up ridge.

VO: . . . "Well, think again! Because now we're about this!"

Video: Poolside keg party, attractive young men and women in skimpy swimwear laugh and dance in bright sunshine.

VO: "That's right: We're the new armed forces! We're not hung up on guns and tanks and camouflage. We're not looking for trouble! We're looking for you!"

Video: Two teens with baggy pants and backpacks in school hallway pause, mouth: "Me?"

VO: "Yes, you! There are lots of good reasons to join the new armed forces! Let's start with uniforms! Wear a uniform, don't wear a uniform -- it's up to you!

"Hey, we're not your parents! We won't hassle you about how to dress! If battle fatigues leave you cold, if khakis and flannel shirts are more your style, we say: Go for it, dude!"

Video: Four soldiers in T-shirts, shorts and sandals squeeze off a round on rifle range, grin, exchange high-fives.

VO: "And don't stress about boot camp anymore, dude! In the new armed forces, we've scaled boot camp back dramatically! How's this sound: three days!

"Yes, three days! Check in on Friday. Make sure you're in time for your barracks' happy hour -- all domestic brews are $1, plus complimentary Buffalo wings! Then on Saturday you'll do some light calisthenics, hit the obstacle course -- optional, of course -- and attend a weapons seminar.

"Sunday, there's the 5-mile run -- or 3 miles or 2 miles or whatever you can manage! Then the rest of the day is yours! Because, soldier, you've worked hard! You're ready for assignment!"

Video: Soldiers in sports warm-up togs head for tennis courts, others lay in bunks playing overhead Nintendo units.

VO: "OK, we hear your next question loud and clear."

Video: Teen studies Army recruiting poster, rubs chin thoughtfully.

VO: "You're thinking: Dude, what if there's a war? I don't want to get my butt shot up in some loser Nowheresville overseas where there's not even a Domino's or TGI Friday's!'"

Video: Grim-faced U.S. soldiers on patrol in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo.

VO: "Dude, we hear you! But our advice is: Chill! We're the U-S-of-A! Russia's toast, China's bogged down with internal strife, you can't find three bowls of rice in all of North Korea! Who's going to mess with us?!

"So don't go mental over the war thing! Think instead of the wonderful opportunities that await you in the new armed forces! For instance, join now and you'll have your pick of prestigious jobs!

Video: Jets scream off carrier deck, close-up of hospital operating room, officers in conning tower of submarine gaze out to sea with binoculars.

VO: "Want to fly Tomcat F-10s in the Mediterranean? Practice neurosurgery? Pilot a nuclear-powered submarine under the polar icecap? Done! We'll even put it in writing!"

Video: Teen gazes in amazement at contract handed him by smiling armed forces recruiter, turns to camera, chirps: "And I don't even have a driver's license!"

VO: "And if your plans include college, we'll get you in wherever you want to go! Ivy League? No problem, dude! And how's this sound? We'll personally guarantee you make the Dean's List!"

"How can you beat that? Answer: You can't!

"We're the new armed forces! Today's Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines.

Video: Pair of smiling male and female soldiers on lush golf course wave as they get set to tee off.

VO: "Dude, be all you can be -- and lower that handicap, too!"

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