By Debbie Gregory.
There is a big difference between Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), Gen-xers (born between the mid-sixties and the early 80’s) and Millennials, who were born after Gen-x , up until around the time of the new millennium. But how will their service in today’s military fare against that of previous generations?
There are stereotypes that Millennials got rewarded just for “showing up.” Are they too self- involved and reliant on social media to make good servicemembers? And how do you reach them when their heads are constantly buried in their smartphones?
Despite the social media memes questioning whether Millennials would have the guts to hop off a landing craft on Omaha Beach during the 1944 D-Day invasion, Millennials have fought, bled, and died in fierce combat from Fallujah to Marjah. Six out of the eleven servicemembers to be awarded the Medal of Honor for operations in Afghanistan have been Millennials.
As of 2014, the last year for which a full Defense Department-produced demographics report was done, about 4 in 5 active-duty service members were 35 years old or younger. Only 14.4 percent of the enlisted force was age 36 and up, and more than half the active-duty officer corps fell in the millennial bracket.
Raised in the digital age, Millennials have the ability to learn new systems, operate them efficiently, and deploy them quickly.
As they age, Millennials are increasingly choosing careers in military service. Millennials already make up the majority of the armed forces, and their influence will only continue to grow as the generation matures.
For some, the financial stability and excellent benefits pose an attractive alternative to the unreliable economy and job market they have known. For others, serving in the military meets their need for good, impactful work by serving their country.