Joining the army is a big decision one will make. Some may be influenced by family or friends. Others could’ve been because it’s their childhood dream. There may be few who joined because of the salary and benefits. Then there are these people who probably joined because they were persuaded by the good army slogan. A good advertisement pays off, right?

Let’s have a look at these convincing and not-so-convincing slogans the US Army had through the years.

I Want YOU for US Army

The “I want you for U.S. Army” slogan in a poster.

This slogan during World War I featured Uncle Sam with his classic goatee, burning eyes, and patriotic et up, pointing his accusing finger at you to hopefully urge the viewer to enlist in the war effort. Below the written slogan was “Nearest recruiting station” and a space to write the address on.

Four million of these posters were printed between 1917 and 1918. Was it effective? Not solely crediting it to Uncle Sam’s persuasive powers, there were over 2 million men and women who served in the Army during the first world war, while the remaining 2.8 million were drafted into the army.

“Choice, Not Chance” and “Modern Army Green”

These two slogans were both used from the 1950s to 1971 to highlight having the choice of job training, traveling and promoting the new Class A green uniform. These two were advertised on the television, highway road signs, and print advertising. What’s good about the “Choice, Not Chance” slogan is that men had the opportunity to volunteer instead of being drafted and therefore had the option to choose their career field and their assignment location.

“Today’s Army Wants to Join You”

This 1971 Volunteer Army recruiting slogan introduced the army’s transition to an all-volunteer military approach. They came up with the slogan when N. W. Ayer & Son, who were the US Army’s ad agency, said, “Today’s Army is changing; we want to meet you halfway.” A follow-up slogan in 1973 was “Join the People Who’ve Joined the Army,” written by Ted Regan Jr. It later evolved to “This is the Army.”

“Be All You Can Be”

“Be all you can be” commercial. The USAHEC / Youtube

“Be All You Can Be” was the slogan from 1980 to 2001. Still from N. W. Ayer & Son, Senior Copywriter Earl Carter created it in 1980. His creation was used for over twenty years, and he was awarded the Outstanding Civilian Service Award in January 2003.

“Army of One”

This slogan lasted only from 2001 to 2006. According to Frank Ian Luntz, an American political and communications consultant, it was replaced because it contradicted the teamwork motto of the army. You know, no man is an island, so this one is probably not a good idea.

“Army Strong”

The failed “Army of One” tagline was replaced by “Army Strong” and was used until 2018. 

“Warriors Wanted”

The “Warriors Wanted” tagline was released in 2018. This tagline was turned into “What’s Your Warrior?” the following year. Soldier stories were used to persuade youths to enlist, which was launched in November 2019. Here it is:

You may be wondering why we didn’t include any slogans from the Civil War period in this piece.  This is because recruiting for the U.S. Army was not done on a national scale as it was in the 20th century. Recruiting was done on the local level to fill the ranks of regiments of the various states. A volunteer would be enticed to join the 69th New York Infantry, the Irish Regiment, for a $50 bonus and the promise of going to the front with your friends instead of strangers. Or one of Cadwalader’s three Regiments raised in Pennsylvania which promised $100 cash in fist before you left town to each recruit. No appeals to patriotism or promises of adventure in faraway lands.  Cadwalader just wanted able-bodied, working men(not idlers or drunkards) with military experience between 18 and 40 years of age.

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