Recent photos shared on social media show the US military trying to recruit youngsters outside Top Gun screenings amidst declining interest in joining the army and increasing its financial incentive to join by up to $50,000 in bonuses.
“Top Gun: Maverick” has just been out for two weeks and is already Tom Cruise’s highest-grossing domestic release. Actors aren’t the only ones benefiting from the box office success of the sequel to the popular 1986 blockbuster “Top Gun” . The US military is, too, and, as with the original, they predict a significant increase in recruitment as a result.
According to FLYING magazine, US Navy spokesman Dave Benham said, “We think “Top Gun: Maverick” will certainly raise awareness and should positively contribute to individual decisions to serve in the Navy.” Recruiters all throughout the country are working hard to ensure that this is the case.
Recruiters in Michigan, Arizona, Texas, and South Dakota have set up shop in theaters playing the new film in an attempt to persuade impressionable teenagers to pursue military careers, according to photos shared on social media.
In recent years, the US military has struggled to meet its recruitment targets, with a RAND Corporation analysis (pdf below) revealing that enlistment contracts had fallen across all four branches during the COVID-19 pandemic. NBC News revealed earlier this month that the number of sailors deserting the Navy more than doubled between 2019 and 2021, with five of the 2,500 sailors on board the USS George Washington committing suicide in the previous year alone.
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Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas, the commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service, stated in a leaked memo from January that “we are not two years into a pandemic, and we have warning lights flashing” in terms of recruiting statistics. In the same month, the Army increased its financial incentive to join by up to $50,000 in bonuses. The Air Force followed suit in April, and now the Navy has increased its offer to $25,000 for those who say they’ll ship out immediately.
Last week, Navy Talent Acquisition Group Red River executive officer Commander Rick Dorsey told NBC Dallas-Forth Worth that the first Top Gun “basically opened up [previous] generations’ eyes to naval aviation and what the Navy can do, and we’re hoping this film can do exactly the same thing for this generation.” Dorsey reportedly went on to say that “those folks who start here–ground level–are going to be the next Maverick, they’re going to be the next Rooster,” despite the fact that “for every 1,000 applicants” to the US Naval Academy, only “3 will become a fighter pilot,” according to military outlet SOFREP.
Following the wake of the massively unpopular Vietnam War, interest in joining the US military fell, and “Top Gun” was largely credited with restoring the reputation of not just the US Navy, but other military branches as well. However, while the Navy claimed that the release of the original film resulted in a 500 percent increase in interest among potential recruits, a newly published article from the US Naval Institute chalked it up to a sharp increase in military advertising budgets, admitting that “if history is any guide, the sequel to the naval aviation blockbuster might not do much to bring in new recruits.”
Read the analysis given below: