can former Communists join the US military?

Mods…I have no idea where this should go; it’s a question of personal interest, but it’s also a question with possible factual answers. Move accordingly. Thanks.

Alright, to begin with, let’s get to the gravy and biscuits of the issue: I was rejected for military service last July. I had tried to join the US Navy. I passed the physical and the ASVAB (got a 90, which, from what they told me at MEPS, was high, although I assume not breath-takingly fantastic—I’m still proud of my score though; they said it was one of the highest that day). During the interview where I would be assigned a MOS (does the Navy refer to them as MOSs? I can’t remember), the officer asked me if I had been a member of any anti-government organization. I replied that the closet thing would have been the Young Communists League, which I had joined when I was about 16 and quit a month later. He furrowed his brow and said he’d have to check that out, then tried to get me to enlist as a nuclear engineer. Well, after that interview, I went into the waiting room (where I had spend the majority of the day, hehe) until he called me again. He said that, as a former Communist, I was completely ineligible for any military service. He also said that, on the list of disqualifying political et. al. associations, Palestinian was included, which he was; he wasn’t a natural born citizen either, but he had been in the Navy for 17 years (all of that based on what he told me).

My question is, for those of you who have military knowledge, are in or were in the military, or just have an idea about a possible answer, is there anything I could possibly do to enlist in the military? Is there some procedure which could prove I’m not a threat to security or is the situation hopeless? Is this one of those situations where it would help if my father were a huge contributer to a politician? Also, if it’s possible I could enlist, would my job/MOS possibilities be so limited that a stint in the Navy wouldn’t be as interesting as I thought it would have been before my rejection?

A side note: when I’ve told some people about why I was rejected from the military, they’ve become angry with me. My grandfather, a former Marine, was very upset that I would, paraphrasing, “soil the integrity of the military”. For those pro-military or anti-former pinko types who become angry over this, please just start a breakaway threat in the Pit or in Great Debates. It would be much more interesting for others, I’m sure, if my question was changed from “Can I join…?” to “Should those like me be allowed to join?”



Being Palestinian isn’t a disqualifying factor any more than being a member of any other ethnic group is. Being a member of a particular organization, depending on the organization, is likely to be a disqualifying factor, say being a member of Hamas.

This might’ve escaped your notice but there was quite a long period when this country wasn’t all that friendly to communist countries and vice versa. Being a member of a communist group is certainly a disqualifying factor for a Top Secret security clearance (such as required for nuclear engineering ratings).

Something else you might want to ponder: the United States Armed Forces exist to defend this country and its government. Knowingly joining an anti-government group at the age of 16 is a pretty good indicator that you’re not all that interested in defending the government. Of course, you can appeal the decision, but I wouldn’t put money on winning that appeal.

As to what the different Services call the jobs:

Army: Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) {It’s usually called “an MOS” and not “a MOS” as the letters are called by their names.}
Navy: Rating (for the job); Rate for paygrades E4 through E9 (There’s a special paygrade for all the Services with Enlisted components, that of E10. E10 is the Senior Enlisted Advisor of that Service.); Non-rate for paygrades E1 through E3.
Marine Corps: Military Occupational Specialty (MOS)
Air Force: Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC)

Oh, I forgot to answer your final question.

No, those like you should not be allowed to join unless and until you prove that you no longer hold the anti-government views you showed you held by joining an anti-government organization.

Now, I have a query for you: Why do you want to join?

Seriously, I’m not trying to be antagonistic; I’m just naïve. Why is YCL considered an anti-government organization? I glanced at their website, and I couldn’t find anything about anti-government ideas or violence, although there is quite a bit of anti-capitalism. I did find some cool communist crossword puzzles, though! :slight_smile:

Monty, would a history with the John Birchers be as much of a detriment as a YCL background seems to be?

Achernar: Do you recall the Cold War?

Derleth: Unknown.

Not really. I was 11 when the Soviet Union broke up. Did the YCL have some ties with the USSR? Their website says that it was socialist, not communist, although I don’t really understand the distinction myself.

Could this be a possible way to “dodge” the draft, should they re-instate it? Join YCL or some other anti-gov’t orginization?

Go talk to your recruiter again and again, and again, requesting an audience with the CO of MEPS. Tell the CO exactly why you think you are the right material for the military and why you joined the YCL and why you think it was a mistake. Be very respectful, and be prepared to get grilled. The CO can get you in if he/she chooses to.

Your only other chance might be by calling your senator or congressman’s office.

If you do get in, expect some extra attention, though you may not know about it.

On the job aspect, once you get cleared for entry make sure you have researched what job you would like to do, and hold out until they offer you that one. It will be a contract. Take nothing less. This may mean a delayed entry, but it will be worth it. There’s nothing fun about doing a job you have no interest in.

You can show your grandfather up by being a squared away Sailor. Call him a jarhead, he’ll call you a squid and everything will be peachy. :slight_smile:

Well, as its name suggests, the Young Communist League is a Communist youth organization. As Communism generally supports the revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist system, and because the Soviet Union was Communist and a number of Communist groups in the US had ties with or at least sympathy for the Soviet Union, Communist groups tend to be considered anti-government organizations, and membership in the Communist Party can interfere with you getting a government job or security clearance.

The one thing that really baffles me, though, is that it was a group I joined when I was 16. At that age, you can’t enter into a contract without a parent but you can join a disqualifying political organization?
And the Cold War ended 14 years ago and I was a commie for a month five years ago yet it’s still such a threat? When will that end, if ever?

And Monty, I want to enlist because it’s an important job that would do more good than most jobs avaliable and I would do it as one small part of a large whole, which appeals to me.

It is not that the CP is an anti-government outfit per se. It’s not. It is anticapitalist. During World War II, most able bodied CP members signed up with the US armed forces to fight fascism.

I would presume that said organization also required parental permission for you to join. After all, when I joined the Boy Scouts, parental permission was required. You are also required to get parental permission to enlist in the military if you are under the age of 18 years and not emancipated.

Yes. It’s an indicator that, in the not so distant past, you were affiliated with an organization (presumably a front organization) that advocated the overthrow of our system of government. As I said above, the purpose of the military (part of one branch of our government, btw) is to defend that government.

Possibly when folks quit joining communist organizations.

I’m glad that it appeals to you; however, there are consquences for our actions. You just discovered the serious consequence of an action you took not that long ago. BTW, I went ahead and looked at your homepage (since you put that as a link in your profile on this board, I assumed that was okay). If what’s in there is true, then your prior membership in a communist organization isn’t the only thing that might keep you out of the Armed Forces. That is, if I’m reading what’s in there correctly.

Okay, I did have the understanding that revolutionary overthrows were an aim that would put an organization squarely in the “anti-government” pile, so that I can understand. However, according to their website, the chief modi operandorum of the YCL are voting and non-violent protests. So, is one of the following true?[ul][]The YCL website is misleading, and they, or their affiliated organization the Communist Party USA, have indeed in the past been associated with revolutionary overthrow?[]Enough communist organizations have been associated in the past with revolutionary overthrow that now all are so associated?[/ul]

*Originally posted by Achernar *
**][li]The YCL website is misleading, and they, or their affiliated organization the Communist Party USA, have indeed in the past been associated with revolutionary overthrow. **[/li][/QUOTE]

Well, the CPUSA was, when the Soviet Union was around, basically contolled by them. I don’t know if you’ll find anybody who denies that. They got money from the USSR, I believe, and they parroted the Soviet line on everything. As for the revolution thing, I’m not saying the CPUSA or the YCL won’t participate in elections or non-violent protests. They will. But their goal is a complete overhaul of society and the economy.