While growing up, I had some very strong anti-military ideologies, as did many of my friends. After two of my friends joined the United States Navy, with me being a couple years later, I realized how wrong those beliefs were.
My initial thoughts about the mentality of a service member were the status quo amongst my friends. While in boot camp, basic training, or any of its other names, they were brainwashed and trained to follow any order given to them. After enlisting, and throughout their career, they lost their sense of self and were no longer the same person that left for military service. When the enlistment ended, their integration back into society and the civilian world gave them no assistance, and many of them ended up out in the cold.
In reality, they are not brainwashed at all. A chain of command, with a relationship similar to one of a boss and an employee, must utilize lawful orders. A lawful order is an order to perform any military duty, even one extremely dangerous. When the order involves the commissioning of a crime, it becomes an unlawful order. That sense of self that I thought was lost is still there and many programs assist the service member back into society when they do get out. They include a Transition Assistance Program, more commonly known to the military as TAP class. Here they instruct on how to write a résumé, preparation for an interview, and many other common things that a service member does not normally do.
I also assumed service members had no life outside of the military. Constantly wearing a uniform, even when off duty, and were not able to wear, let alone own a set of civilian clothes. The military did not teach a service member any sort of job skill; all they did was teach them how to shoot a gun and turn them into a murderer. To top it all off, they did not earn a lot of money and were barely able to take care of himself or herself, let alone a family.
To the contrary, of those beliefs, military...