Military Education Essay, Research Paper
The term education can be interpreted in more ways than one. Some would say education involves sitting through lectures and learning grammar and arithmetic. Defining education is very difficult and everyone has a different opinion, however the criterion, training in a specific skill, knowledge, and thinking for yourself accurately describes education. Because military training satisfies the criterion it can be classified as a valid form of education.
Training in specific skills is quite possibly the main focus of the military today. Much like a college student studying to become an expert in his/her field, such as architecture or history, a member of the military trains in a specialty as well. Many jobs exist in the military, a great number of them being parallel to the civilian world. For instance, a military judge seeks to promote order and truth just like a civilian judge would in a criminal case. Air traffic controllers at airports direct commercial air traffic exactly like military air traffic controllers would at a military base. All of these people train in
these skills in order to do their job properly. Most of the time, as in civilian life, these individuals are trained in nothing else so all their efforts can be concentrated. One of the most predominant skills taught in the military is leadership/decision making. No matter what rank a person in the military is he or she will soon have to take charge of others in the chain. If the person is an officer they will have enormous responsibilities, mainly being responsible for the lives of their men and the equipment they have control over. The ability to take charge of any situation is something instilled in every soldier from day one. Soldiers are taught to endure many hardships such as fatigue, stress, and physical discomfort and continue until the mission is accomplished. These traits when carried over into civilian life greatly increase the chances of success. Inc. magazine recently published a cover story entitled ?Corps Values? in which the United States Marine Corps was called the ?Best management-training program in America.?(Freedman 56) In this article James Warren, founder of the Warren Financial Group, was quoted as saying, ?The Marine Corps allowed us to make sure we could understand the worst-and best-case scenarios, take care of everyone else first, and accomplish the mission with minimum casualties.?(Freedman 60) Inc. stated that ?even companies that consider themselves committed to decentralization rarely make the hiring and training of managers as high a priority as the marines do.?(Freedman 59) In terms of training in a specific skill, military training definitely qualifies.
From the beginning of basic training soldiers are given knowledge in many areas. Knowledge is defined as the ability to recall specific methods and processes, as well as pattern and structure previously taught. Knowledge is a vast topic and it is basically up
to the person defining knowledge what the standards are. Trainees are taught the specifics of military conduct, ethics as well as a general overview of military history and a very in depth look at weaponry, sometimes in a matter of weeks. At a university, students are taught many subjects and through memorization these students are expected to know the material. They are then tested on the material determining whether or not they obtained the knowledge. Upon completion of the basics, military trainees go into more specialized fields such as aircraft maintenance, special warfare, or some form of administration. Aircraft maintenance crews go through several months of additional training where they learn how to fix just about everything on the plane. These soldiers are trained and then tested thoroughly to ensure that they are familiar with the subject. In order to become an officer in today?s military you must attain at least a bachelor?s degree and complete an officer candidate program such as ROTC. ROTC students receive military training in addition to their regular classes, in turn creating learning in a somewhat military environment. No matter what the case military members are constantly receiving knowledge just like a student at a university who is being educated.
Thinking for yourself is the final criteria and it is a very important one as well. As a student works his way through the levels of education he slowly learns to think for himself in simple tasks such as homework problems. As the students receive more education they get to the point where they must make decisions concerning their own future and welfare. Students become familiar with the idea of consequences and soon learn that they must think about their decisions before they make them. Without
decisiveness students will never achieve their goals. Thinking of alternatives helps them to think more clearly about their goals. (Sonnier pg188) In a military setting not being
able to make a decision quickly can often have worse consequences than making a wrong decision. Students in upper level college courses debate ethics and morals and what they truly mean, as well as forming their own opinions. Members of the military are taught the same subjects and soldiers are expected to know the general ideas behind such topics as ethics. Some people might say that ethical standards are different in the military, that is of course their opinion and the term ethics itself is defined by one?s opinion. Soldiers are expected to know how these ideas relate to our society and are expected to have good judgement so that they can follow this unwritten set of rules, for they are the ones protecting these rights. Whether in a leadership position or in combat, soldiers are expected to get the job done whatever it takes. Soldiers are taught how to accomplish certain tasks using specific methods, however they are also taught to improvise if the situation arises. Sometimes following exact directions just won?t work because of one situation or another, and a soldier must stray from the path in order to accomplish the task. Whatever the situation is, students and soldiers alike learn to distinguish from right and wrong and learn how to make decisions for the better, because this is an important criterion of education.
When military training is brought up, the first thing that probably comes to mind is images of soldiers running through mud pits with machine guns. This image is probably not thought of as education. Defining education is very difficult and everyone has a different opinion, however the criterion, training in a specific skill, knowledge, and
thinking for yourself accurately describes education. Because military training satisfies the criterion for education it is a valid form of education.