Be All You Can Be

In the run-up to the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament, the U.S. Army was set to deploy a new commercial featuring Jonathan Majors, star of “Creed III” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” The Army’s ad campaign soon encountered a major SNAFU. 

Majors was arrested in New York on charges of strangulation, assault, and harassment. The Army pulled the ads and replaced them with revamped commercials based on the “Be All You Can Be,” slogan from the 1980s. 

As the ad opens a male voice says, “What does it mean when people say America is a land of opportunity?” A female Hispanic in camo gear says, “It means we strive to be a nation of limitless possibilities.” 

It’s not clear if those shown in uniform are actual Army soldiers. Viewers might think the cast is the Ethnic and Diversity Studies Department at Stanford or UC Santa Cruz. 

“Exploring those possibilities isn’t just an inclination,” a voice says. “It’s our greatest strength, the power to discover.” In short order, a series of male and female voices says, “To redefine yourself, to improve yourself, to challenge yourself, to be all you can be.”

Above scenes of various activities, the script emerges through multiple speakers. 

“It means never assuming something can’t be done, and if it’s the right thing to do, never stopping until you achieve it. That’s how the U.S. Army has succeeded since the founding of this country. Since the founding of this country. Giving people an open field to do what they do best. With the best tools, the best training, the best technology in the world. The possibilities really are endless, and the world sees that.” 

Viewers then see what at first glance looks like HHS Admiral Rachel Levine, without the glasses. It’s actually Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth. Wormuth ran the International Defense and Security Center at the RAND Corporation and held positions in the Department of Defense and the Pentagon. The Secretary is married to a retired Naval officer but she never actually served in the Army. 

“It’s what we fight for every day,” the secretary says, and a series of voices echoes “every day, every day.” An avuncular, bemedaled officer then appears. 

“Seeing those possibilities then going out and achieving them, that’s winning,” he says, “and we all know that winning matters.” The narrative continues through multiple voices, with quick cuts like a music video. 

“Having possibilities matters. It’s what makes every soldier swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States. America was built on embracing possibilities” as others repeat, “This is what we do. This is what we do. This is what we do. We bring out the best in the people who serve. Because America calls for nothing less.” 

Wormuth adds, “So you can be all you can be,” but her tone and expression imply “get down here and enlist right now!” The “be all you can be” theme closes out the video. Those who remember the original won’t find it familiar, and the target youth audience has reason for doubt. 

The U.S. Army is a command structure. Those who want to “be all they can be” will be given orders to do things they don’t want to do, and that’s not just cleaning latrines. Army soldiers, even though at little risk from COVID, were told to accept injections of vaccines that failed to prevent infection or transmission. 

Refusing the jab, for any reason, could get troops booted from the military. Those forced out are not likely to return, even if Paige Spirinac was the one making the pitch instead of Christine Wormuth. Army soldiers also face indoctrination in critical race theory. 

As CRT holds, from “the founding of this country,” the United States of America was nothing but a bastion of slavery and racial oppression. According to CRT, it remains so today, primarily because of pale people and their “white privilege.” 

This racist propaganda will destroy esprit de corps and unit cohesion, vital for any fighting force. Military leaders know this, but if they refuse to implement, their career is done. Young people who have encountered CRT in school will not be eager to endure it in the Army. 

“Seeing those possibilities then going out and achieving them, that’s winning,” says the Army ad. That raises questions about current military leaders. 

Back in 2013 in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Mark Milley said “Right now I would say that the conditions are set for winning this war.” As it turned out, they weren’t.

General Milley became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and in 2020 he appointed himself commander-in-chief, telling his Chinese counterpart he would tip them off if the United States launched an attack. On Milley’s watch in 2021, the United States withdrew from Afghanistan, leaving billions in military gear, including an entire airbase, to the Taliban.

That’s not winning, and that humiliating defeat is not likely to draw new recruits. That’s the real back story to the new Army ads. 

Last year the U.S. Army missed its annual recruiting goal by 25 percent or 20,000 soldiers, more than an entire division, which includes 10,000-20,000 troops. The National Guard missed its target by 9,000 recruits and applications to West Point and Annapolis are down more than 20 percent. This dearth of recruits has the Pentagon looking for new ways to fill the ranks—or maybe reinvigorate some old ones. 

Retired Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr does not believe a revival of the draft is imminent, but “2022 is the year we question the sustainability of the all-volunteer force.” If that means conscription, the mechanism is already in place. Men ages 18-25 still must register with the Selective Service System. 

Last July, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 20-6 to require women to register for the draft as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. The proposal is back on the table in the 2023 NDAA, sponsored by Senator Jack Reed, (D-R.I.) a West Point grad but not a veteran of Vietnam.

Of the approximately 2,700,000 American men and women who served in Vietnam, 25 percent of those in combat zones were conscripts. The Vietnam War claimed the lives of 58,220 Americans, including 40,934 killed in action. The average age of those killed in Vietnam was 23.1 years. For all their faults, maybe the 60s protesters were on to something. 

Hell no, we won’t go!” chanted those conscripted for Vietnam. Hey, hey, LBJ,” they wondered aloud, “how many kids did you kill today?” As Country Joe McDonald sang, “Be the first one in your block to have your boy come home in a box.” 

In 2023, potential recruits and draftees should understand what they would face under the Biden Junta. 

Born in November 1942, Biden came of age amid the Vietnam War,” USA Today explains, “but unlike millions of men of his generation, he never served in the military.” As an undergraduate and law student, Biden received five student draft deferments. In 1968 he was classified “1-Y,” eligible to be called up only in a national emergency. 

Biden is on record that China’s Communist rulers are “not bad folks” and not even competition for the United States. Biden allowed China to maneuver a surveillance balloon over most of the nation, including sensitive military bases. 

That’s strange behavior for the man who is supposed to be commander-in-chief, and who takes an oath to defend the nation. In similar style, military leaders seem to be confused about their basic mission. 

Despite growing threats from China, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro has made climate change one of his “top priorities.” The Space Force booted Lt. Colonel Matthew Lohmeier, commander of a missile warning unit, for blowing the whistle on Marxist-racist indoctrination. This woke long march through our military institutions gives potential recruits and conscripts plenty to ponder. 

Going to war with the second-best military is like playing poker with the second-best hand. You have two choices: bluff or fold. Under the Biden Junta, the possibilities for losing are truly limitless. 

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: Screenshot via Youtube