By David VergunSeptember 22, 2016
WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- For America's "selfless servants, having a swagger about what we do is okay," said Under Secretary of the Army Patrick J. Murphy.
It's not bragging in a bad sense of the word, it's bragging about your team, your fellow Soldiers, he said. Too often, the Army story isn't told as well as it could be and this is one way to do it.
Murphy spoke Sept. 22 at the Association of the United States Army's Institute of Land Warfare "hot topic" forum: "Army Medicine: Enabling Army Readiness Today and Tomorrow."
As far as telling the Army story, Soldiers who are millennials -- along with their civilian counterparts -- are getting most of their news and information from social media. That's an excellent platform to tell the Army story, Murphy said. Combining text with photos on sites like Facebook could do wonders.
Mid-level and senior Army leaders should work social media sites to tell the good things Soldiers are doing every day too, he encouraged. They're not all doing this yet.
Millennials have a strong desire to serve in an organization that's bigger than themselves, so such messages on social media will go a long ways toward getting people excited about the Army and a possible career, he said. At the very least, it will tell the good news about what Soldiers are doing every day.
Traditional means can and should be used as well, Murphy added, such as writing letters to the editor in local and national newspapers.
Telling the Army story is so important in today's world, where so few have served, Murphy said. People have a disconnect between themselves and the military.
Over the last 15 years in Iraq and Afghanistan, "less than one percent of our population has been in that fight."
Congress has a similar story. Just one in five members of Congress are veterans. That number was much higher during World War II and Vietnam, he said.
During World War II, 60 million served, he said. Over the last 15 years, 2.7 million have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the country is much larger now than it was in the 1940s, he added.
So the story isn't being told at the family level, he said, citing his own case in 1993 when he was dating a girl, telling the parents he was going to join the Army.
"Why do you want to join the Army ROTC? You don't need to do this. What if war breaks out," Murphy related the parent's concern.
Joining the military then and now " is a foreign concept, and it shouldn't be a foreign concept. We have to change the culture of America," the undersecretary intoned.
Also, myths about service in the Army abound, he said.
For instance, a big one is that when people see a homeless person, an automatic reaction is that person must be a veteran, he said.
Not true. Veterans are much more likely to be employed than non-veterans, Murphy said. In fact, the average veteran earns $10,000 more than non-veterans.
Besides that, a veteran is more likely to start a small business and to be successful at that business, he said. Additionally, veterans tend to do more charity or non-profit work than others, ranging from becoming Boy Scout leaders to coaching little league and even becoming pastors. They also vote more often than non-veterans. "That's because they lead a purpose-driven life," he concluded.
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