YOUTH AND THE BACKYARD BATTLEFIELD
By SSG Chris M’
When I was a lad I had a huge fascination with military toys and being an Army brat was surely a contributing factor. I was the self-appointed supreme commander of my own Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. I warmly recall Hot Wheels and Matchbox offering rugged, miniaturized tanks, deuce and a half’s and attack helos as fearsome, plastic warriors such as GI Joe (with ‘Kung Foo Grip’), valiantly stood watch over America'sretail isles.
Time passed. Things changed. What happened?!
Sadly, those days are gone. Today’s soft, pampered youth have largely retreated from the glory of the backyard battlefield for air conditioned indoor comfort and Pokemon. But why? Is it because we as a country are ashamed of our military for being endlessly at war? Is it because military toys offend peoples fragile sensitivity? Perhaps those toys are just too darn 'masculine' and 'scary'? Regardless, ol’ G.I. Joe and his injection molded legions have been widely banished from boyhood.
But there is hope...
During a recent trip (and aggravating layover at SEA), I decided to leverage my newfound spare time to find a gift for my son. It came as a big surprise when I discovered a toy 1CD Huey helicopter and a 101st Airborne Division patch (at the Seattle airport of all places). What’s the takeaway here? If you want your kids to have the same gritty fun as we did (which probably led to our interest in the military), then don't give up. Although they may be hidden and in diminished ranks, those toys are still out there, waiting to be found and deployed in your boy’s own brave pretend military. Soldier on!
We are honored to welcome Chris as a contributing writer!
Chris is a 15P (Aviation Operations Specialist) with almost 12 years in the Army. He comes from a proud military family, has 7 deployments under his belt and has served with 3ID, 160th SOAR, 1CD and 4/25 BCT. He has an associates degree in Military History and is nearing his BA in Military Leadership.