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Military Recruiting in Old Time Radio

Glenn MillerModern Warfare is an increasingly technological, electronic, and mechanized undertaking. It is easy to imagine that generals are adopting the attitude that "whoever has the most/best toys wins!" However, if you ask any General or Admiral, they will tell you that their most important asset is the people under their command.

The value of the individual soldier has changed through the history of warfare. In the depths of prehistory, certain members of a tribal group would be called upon to act as warriors to protect the tribe and their territory. With the rise of the Nation-State, standing armies become an important tool of statecraft, and a standing army implies professional soldiers. This includes an officer class, often filled by the nobility, and a cadre of non-commissioned officers who would be tasked with training and leading new recruits for war.

When open warfare is on the horizon, the ranks of the standing army might be supplemented by volunteers, but more often the state must turn to conscription to answer the threat. Volunteers are believed to serve because of a love or belief in the state, while conscripts are only there because they are forced to be. As such, volunteers are generally seen to be of greater value to the cause.

The U.S. Military has depended upon drafting conscripts in the Civil War, both World War I and World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Volunteers were an important component of each of these conflicts, and in 1974, the military transitioned to an All-Volunteer Force. The military began establishing Recruitment Offices during the Great War. These offices were set up in cities and were manned by senior Non-Commissioned Officers from the various services.

Tex WilliamsMarketing has always been an important part of military recruitment. The basic reasons a young person might consider enlisting for Military Service include patriotism, the possibility for adventure and travel, educational/job/career opportunities, and a perceived increase in social status by donning the uniform. Recruiters have exploited all of these perceptions.

Recruiters are selected from the best the various services have to offer, showing the potential recruits; "this could be you". The various Services' Recruiting Commands also took advantage of the marketing power of Radio to attract recruits. Music programs were an important part of this effort. All types of popular music were used, featuring both Service Bands and popular artists. The Navy especially leaned into the popularity of Country and Western music.

Another interesting format for recruiting programs was the Heroic Stories as presented on The Voice of the Army and the Navy's Now Hear This. On these programs, stories of servicemen who go above and beyond the call of duty are related to inspire potential recruits to desire the chance to serve their country.

See also: Navy Shows in Old Time Radio

Show Title Dates Service Branch Show Type Stars
Band of the AAF Training Command 1944 US Air Force Big Band Music Glenn Miller
Big Moments in Sports 1955 US Air Force Sports Stories  
Broadway in Review 1953-1954 Navy Broadway Singers and Swing Music Russ Case Orchestra and "Mr Broadway himself" Danton Walker
Country Hoedown - US Navy 1958-1974 Navy Country and Western Music Guest stars Ernest Tubb, Jimmy Dean, Tex Williams
Country Music Time (Airforce) 1959-1960 US Air Force Country and Western Music Various Artists
Country Style USA 1957 Army Country and Western Music Various Artists
Don Drysdale's Bullpen - Army Sports Anecdotes Don Drysdale
Eddie Duchin Show - Navy Featured Crooner Eddie Dunchin and the Orchestra
Forward March 1952 Army Featured Crooner PFC Eddie Fisher
Front And Center 1947 US Air Force Comedy Variety Dorothy Lamour and the Crew Chiefs
Guard Sessions 1957-1964 National Guard Big Band Music Various Artists
Heroes of the Merchant Marines 1945 War Shipping Adminitration Heroic Stories Various Artists
Hoot'Navy Program 1950's Navy Country and Western Music Various Artists
I Sustain the Wings 1943-1944 US Air Force Big Band Music Maj Glenn Miller
Its Maritime 1944-1945 War Shipping Adminitration Heroic Stories The Maritime Service Orchestra
Join the Navy - Navy Big Band Music Cmdr Charles Brendler and the US Navy Band
Just For You (Army Recruiting Syndication) 1944 Army Big Band Music 344th Army Services Band
Land's Best Bands 1951 Navy Big Band Music Various Artists
Les Brown Show 1953 Navy Big Band Music Les Brown and his Band of Renown
Lets Go To Town mid- 1950s National Guard Big Band Music Various Artists
Manhattan Melodies 1957 US Air Force Big Band Music Hosted by Airman Tom Wright, featuring top bands fom the Manhattan Night Club scene
Men At Sea 1943-1945 War Shipping Adminitration Heroic Stories Various Artists
Navy Swings 1961-1970 Navy Jazz Music Various Artists
Now Hear This 1951 Navy Heroic Stories Told by the gruff old Chief Bos'n's Mate
Ray Anthony Show - Marine Corps Big Band Music Ray Anthony and his Orchestra
Serenade in Blue 1954-1976 US Air Force Jazz Music Top-notch Air Force bands: The Air Force Strings, Symphony in Blue, and the big band sound of Airmen of Note
Something for the Girls 1944 Navy Heroic Stories Big Name Actors for the WAVES
Stars on Parade 1950-1951 Army Various Stars Various Artists
Theater of Hits 1954 Marine Corps Broadway Show Tunes US Marine Corps Band
Town and Country Time (Army Corp) 1953-1954 Army Country and Western Music Jimmy Dean and the Texas Wildcats
US Navy Shows 1940-1950s Navy Various Styles Various Artists
Voice of the Army 1944-1950 Army Heroic Stories Various Artists
Weekend Sound Flight 1963 US Air Force Jazz Music Jack Webb Hosts
Your Army Air Force 1945 US Air Force Heroic Stories USAAF Bands
Your Navy Show with Tommy Dorsey 1952 Navy Big Band Music The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra

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