Letter Re: Advice on Joining the Canadian Army

Monday, Feb 11, 2013

Hello James,
Over the last number of months I have really enjoyed reading articles on your survivalblog.  I like to thank you for all the good and commonsense information.
What are your thoughts on joining the army?  I have a 16 year old son who has his mind set on joining the Canadian armed forces.

I like the fact that he is willing to serve his country, but as a Christian is it wise to expose yourself willingly to crude and foul language and other foul behavior. I spoke to a Canadian veteran and told me that you are as a Christian on an ''island'' on your own with few exceptions. (Those who claim to be Christian but their daily living shows otherwise).
With all the developments in your country (police state? financial collapse?) Canada is surely not far behind. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Regards., K.

JWR Replies: That is a tough question.  But I do have some recommendations.

First, he should be at least 19 and well-grounded as a mature Christian before he enlists.  Younger and less discerning recruits are more likely to succumb to peer pressure and fall into sinful, self-destructive patterns.

Canada announced the end of combat operations in Afghanistan in 2011, but there are still about 1,000 Canadian troops there--mainly trainers for the Afghan army.  Deployments to Afghanistan are still a possibility if you son goes active duty.

I'd recommend that your son join the Army Reserve, directly.  This way he will get the same valuable training that he would receive as an active duty soldier, but he'll be safer and probably happier. The Reserve units probably won't get called up in the event of a major economic collapse. And even if they do, they will probably stay close to home.

Do some checking and find out the branch specialty of your local Reserve unit.  If it is not Infantry or Transportation, then he'll probably be quite safe, even if his unit unexpectedly mobilizes and deploys to Afghanistan (or elsewhere.)

If he finds that he really enjoys it, then your son can always transition of active duty, later.

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