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Americans like Air Force, Coast Guard not so much

Staff Writer |
Americans hold all branches of the U.S. military in high regard, but that does not necessarily translate into a desire to see their loved ones enlist.

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Fewer than half would be likely to recommend joining the Coast Guard (48%), Marines (43%) or Army (41%) to their children or grandchildren, while a majority would be likely to recommend the Navy (53%) or Air Force (64%).

These responses come from a Gallup poll of 482 Americans aged 25 and older who were asked how likely they would be to recommend each branch if a child or grandchild was considering entering the military.

About three-quarters (76%) of Americans would recommend at least one of the branches.

The clear differences in preferences, from the high of 64% who would recommend the Air Force to the low of 41% for the Army, could reflect people's perceptions of the risk of death to those serving in each branch.

In fact, the rank-order is generally consistent with the casualty rates for the four main branches (excluding the Coast Guard) in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Through April 24, 2017, there had been almost 5,000 deaths in the Army from the two conflicts, just under 1,500 in the Marines, almost 250 in the Navy and slightly fewer than 200 in the Air Force, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service.

Those significant differences in recommendation rates are in stark contrast with the near uniformity of the favorable ratings Americans give each of the branches.

The percentages giving a very or somewhat favorable rating for each of the branches are all within six points of each other: 76% for the Coast Guard, 77% Army, 78% Marines and Navy, and 81% Air Force.


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