Survey finds military members telling children not to join the service

For the first time in eight years, active servicemembers are telling their children they should not go into the military.

For the first time in eight years, active service members are telling their children they should not go into the military. That's according to the 2017 Military Lifestyles Survey.

"The most concerning thing is that 60 percent of the people surveyed, military members and spouses, said they would not encourage their children to go into the military," said Vice-Admiral John Bird, who is also the senior vice-president for military affairs at USAA.

He said that, for the first time in the history of the survey, impact of military service on their family was the top concern.

Captain Hillary Reynolds, the executive operational planning manager for military affairs at USAA, says that this was the case for her as well.

"Separations from family and long work hours weren't quite as impactful as it was when I had my daughter and I needed to arrange childcare and make sure that my schedules and my husband, who was also working, our schedules lined up together," she said.

Separation from family has always been a drawback to military service, but one reason it's an even bigger concern now could be the amount of work our military is asked to do.

"We have a small military against some large global challenges, so our military is being asked to do more with less, and it means our military will be away from their families," Vice-Admiral Bird said. "That's a big impact."

The survey found that 40 percent of service members had more than six months of separation from their families in the past 18 months and 51 percent feel that they don't belong in their communities. Also, 67 percent of female service members cannot find childcare.

"Keeping each other informed, understanding that you will make it happen together, I think that is going to be the key to being successful," Captain Reynolds said.

Money was also a big impact with close to half of those surveyed citing under-employment or unemployment as a reason for wanting to leave the military. That means that there were few employment opportunities for a civilian spouse.

In the end, the survey results could mean more difficulty recruiting the next generation of service members.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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