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A young man plays CoD 4 at the new facility  (Source: Reuters)

Several young men shoot virtual insurgents from a Humvee  (Source: U.S. Army)
The U.S. Army gets even more interactive while trying to get new recruits

As wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to rage on, the U.S. Army is again using video games and virtual reality as methods to try and get new recruits to enlist.

The Army is looking to create these gaming depots in major shopping malls and other locations across the country.  The Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia has a new Army Experience Center in a 14,500-square-foot location that has a Black Hawk helicopter, Apache gunship, and a Humvee.  The Philadelphia location is a $12 million, two-year experiment to see if the Army can increase recruiting numbers in the Philadelphia area.

Inside the location at Franklin Mills are 60 gaming PCs, 19 Microsoft Xbox 360s, and couches and soft drinks for visitors to enjoy while at the facility.   It's also possible to participate in a virtual war zone using mock M4 assault rifles, using the Humvee as a shield while firing.  Another room has a simulator in which participants can launch helicopter attacks against enemy soldiers hiding on roof tops and buildings.   

Since opening in August, the recruiting facility has recruited 37 active duty soldiers and five reservists -- the one interactive center successfully recruited the same number of recruits as five normal recruiting centers.  The Army has struggled recruiting new soldiers in the Philadelphia area, which is why the center was built in the area.

The U.S. Army also has its America's Army video game designed to create interest in enlisting, with the government continuing to promote the game during tech and video game tech shows.

Recruiters hope interested parties will visit the center and enjoy a more laid back, interactive atmosphere that is less pushy than normal recruiting depots.  

The Pentagon believes the growing recessing and rising unemployment could help boost recruiting numbers for the Army, Marines and other military branches.



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RE: Snag 'em while they are young and dumb
By PrinceGaz on 1/14/2009 11:56:13 PM , Rating: 1
Self-preservation is something that springs to my mind before "honour and serving your country". I don't want to be dropped in Afghanistan and possibly get killed in what increasingly looks like an unwinnable war. Actually I don't want to be involved in any real war as it makes much more sense to solve problems by sitting down and having a calm discussion, rather than blowing things up.

People who do sign up are definitely braver than me. Probably also more reckless, even foolish, but as we don't have compulsary military service (something some countries still have and which I think should be banned by the UN), they do so knowing what they are getting involved in and may be putting their lives on the line.

I tried playing America's Army briefly, but I didn't like it much because it was unrealistic compared with the other FPS games I've played. For instance, being shot even just once could kill you-- I know taking a head-shot causes more damage than body shots, but being killed by one single shot anywhere is just silly. From experience, provided healing kits are available as needed, I know it is quite possible to be hit by many dozens of bullets and even some heavier ammo (like a rocket-launcher) and still survive carrying a gun and firing back.


RE: Snag 'em while they are young and dumb
By vorantz on 1/15/2009 3:35:34 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I tried playing America's Army briefly, but I didn't like it much because it was unrealistic


quote:
From experience, provided healing kits are available as needed, I know it is quite possible to be hit by many dozens of bullets and even some heavier ammo (like a rocket-launcher) and still survive carrying a gun and firing back.


is this statement worth laughing hard at or is it just me?


By ShaolinSoccer on 1/15/2009 5:26:07 AM , Rating: 2
It't not worth laughing at. But it is worth placing your palm on your forehead then saying quietly to yourself "wtf..."

On another note, I wanna play that humvee game lolz. Kinda makes me wonder if anyone can walk in there and give it a try.


RE: Snag 'em while they are young and dumb
By ekv on 1/15/2009 6:00:20 AM , Rating: 2
Son, is your life even worth fighting for? Is your life even worth your parents busting their butt's to put you through school? Because if I were your parent I might start exercising some self-preservation and kick your butt out from the residence, in a compulsory [http://www.thefreedictionary.com] manner.

What's the matter with you? Do you watch too much MTV or something?

Nobody in their right mind wants to go to war, but thankfully our Founding Fathers thought the mere idea of a United States was worth dying for. Mind boggling no? Damn, I'm sure there were family men that would've preferred to sit down over a cup of tea and calmly discuss things. But, then perhaps somebody raises the taxes on tea, and you can't afford the tea. Then some troops get in your face and push you around. What's next.

Let me put it this way, did you see the first episode to the new Battlestar Gallactica? The Ceylons didn't stop preparing for war. When it was time for that treaty review meeting, the human was content to sit down, perhaps have a cup of tea, and talk things over. The enemy was not content were they? Pre-emptive strike.

War is war, and I can't think of a situation right now where you'd WANT to lose. Winning, just like anything else in life, requires preparation, training, teamwork, education, etc., and divine serendipity doesn't hurt either if you catch my drift.

If I were a kid in a rough Philly neighborhood, joining the military would likely be a win-win situation. Is anything in Afghanistan tougher than the streets of Philly? I somehow don't think so. You get some education from the military. Some discipline. If you survive, a likelihood given some moxie and luck, then use the GI Bill to further improve your situation.

And when your mum says "stop playing that video game" obey, then go bug your girlfriend, something, anything. Ok?


RE: Snag 'em while they are young and dumb
By Shawn5961 on 1/15/2009 9:13:09 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
If I were a kid in a rough Philly neighborhood, joining the military would likely be a win-win situation. Is anything in Afghanistan tougher than the streets of Philly? I somehow don't think so.


Last time I checked, not many people in downtown Philly had access to RPGs.


RE: Snag 'em while they are young and dumb
By bhieb on 1/15/2009 9:27:32 AM , Rating: 2
Or body armor or M16's. Bad guys are better equipped in Afg. yes, but so are the good guys.


RE: Snag 'em while they are young and dumb
By hipcraka on 1/15/2009 11:30:34 AM , Rating: 2
First of all, I don't think its downtown Philadelphia kids have to worry about. Secondly, how bad does Philadelphia have to be for people to think that its a win win situation for these kids to go to war and possibly die. By that thinking, it is ok for recruiters to only concentrate in poor neighborhoods. Poor people have fewer options; thus, they can risk more to gain their objectives.

/Here's a novel idea along that line of thought, let's recruit in just the worse areas of the worse cities in America. That way, we will have a military, and we will not have to worry about pumping public funds into revitalizing those areas. If those areas stay depressed enough, the kids will have few options but to join the military. Win Win /sarcasm and disgust


RE: Snag 'em while they are young and dumb
By joemoedee on 1/15/2009 12:33:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Here's a novel idea along that line of thought, let's recruit in just the worse areas of the worse cities in America.


Well, they typically already do that. They've done it for years, it's just as times change the methods have to evolve to meet the current interests of the prospective recruit.

The military is going to appeal to those that don't have many other opportunities otherwise. They're not going to drop this sort of thing in Beverly Hills. So they'll focus on those areas that are poorer.

I went to HS in Northwestern PA, in a somewhat poor/rural area. The recruiters were relentless in calling. I can't count how many times I talked to them on the phone. Whereas my brother graduated high school in Southern NJ, and the recruiters never called him.

For me, the typical call went:

Recruiter: "What are you interested in doing with your life?" (Such a deep question to ask someone you don't know)

Me: "Something IT related, I've already been doing it for several years now"

Recruiter: "You know, we have a desperate need for good IT guys in the military. We could even pay your way to college."

Me: "Well, that sounds great and all, but I'm not going to walk in and just work in IT. I'll spend the first two years doing boot camp, combat training, and could possibly be deployed to some remote area of the world where there are countless numbers of people trying to kill me. Then maybe I could get an IT related position. I'll take my chances on the open job market instead. To top if off, part of my left ankle is missing and I couldn't pass the physical if I actually wanted to join."

Recruiter, after a brief period of silence: "So, I'll take your name off of the list."


RE: Snag 'em while they are young and dumb
By Grast on 1/15/2009 1:39:14 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Well, they typically already do that. They've done it for years, it's just as times change the methods have to evolve to meet the current interests of the prospective recruit.


You are speaking out your ASS. The military has recruitment centers in all walks of life. The military does not sugar coat, lie, or decieve anyone regarding the hazards of warfare.

I am sick and tired of the many posters here thinking that only poor people go into the military. Do you realise that only 1% of the U.S. population serves in the military. Many of these people are legacy (grandfather, father, son/daughter) and so forth. It has nothing to do with economic scale. It has to do with citizens wanting to serve and at the same time get something the military service. pride, confidence, and education.

Instead of commenting on other brave citizens decision to serve and protect your right to bitch and complain, please instead shut-up and continue being a self-fish coward of a human being.

Later.......Gulf War Vet - first time around.


By rdeegvainl on 1/15/2009 2:40:25 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The military does not sugar coat, lie, or decieve anyone regarding the hazards of warfare.

Maybe the MILITARY as policy does not, but recruiters do.

quote:
Instead of commenting on other brave citizens decision to serve and protect your right to bitch and complain, please instead shut-up and continue being a self-fish coward of a human being.

And let what they fought for be in vain. I say if your gonna fight for someone's right for free speach, don't tell them not to excercise it.

And before you assume anything about me, don't, cause you don't know my situation, whether or not i've served or if many of my family have or not.


By joemoedee on 1/15/2009 9:47:05 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
You are speaking out your ASS. The military has recruitment centers in all walks of life. The military does not sugar coat, lie, or decieve anyone regarding the hazards of warfare.


According the New York Times, nearly one of five United States Army recruiters was under investigation in 2004 for offenses varying from "threats and coercion to false promises that applicants would not be sent to Iraq." One veteran recruiter told a reporter for the Albany Times Union, "I've been recruiting for years, and I don't know one recruiter who wasn't dishonest about it. I did it myself."

quote:
Instead of commenting on other brave citizens decision to serve and protect your right to bitch and complain, please instead shut-up and continue being a self-fish coward of a human being.


Did I comment on people's decisions? No.

So 99% of the American population are "self-fish" cowards...


By ekv on 1/15/2009 4:35:30 PM , Rating: 2
My girlfriend is better equipped 8)

And Gentlemen don't discuss the type of, um, body armor they use. Yeah, that's it, body armor.

Of course, RPG's are no laughing matter. But, I'd have to say it's how you move the weapon, and targeting, teamwork, training, etc. I still suspect there are worse things in Philly than RPG's. If you catch my drift. Of course, Philly has had a lot of "sensitivity training" so ... maybe I'm wrong and the streets are perfectly safe for phatic [yes, with a "t", get your mind out of the gutter] conversation.


By afkrotch on 1/15/2009 10:39:11 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Actually I don't want to be involved in any real war as it makes much more sense to solve problems by sitting down and having a calm discussion, rather than blowing things up.


Ya, cause sitting down and discussing it works 100% of the time.

quote:
For instance, being shot even just once could kill you-- I know taking a head-shot causes more damage than body shots, but being killed by one single shot anywhere is just silly.


It happens. Better to be trained to not get hit, then to think "well, 1 or 2 hits onto my body will be alright."

quote:
From experience, provided healing kits are available as needed, I know it is quite possible to be hit by many dozens of bullets and even some heavier ammo (like a rocket-launcher) and still survive carrying a gun and firing back.


From experience? How so? You pretty much already told us that you aren't brave enough to join military service, so how would you know "from experience."

You know those ppl who get hit by dozens of bullets or heavier weapons can go on with a gun and fire back. You know what happens later? They end up dying, usually within minutes. They hardly ever make it back home alive. If they ever do make it back, they aren't fully functional anymore.


"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il











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