(Military Times | Jan. 5, 2019) Here’s something everyone can agree on: The way the public views veterans isn’t always accurate.
Take the assumption that all veterans have served in combat and have post-traumatic stress disorder, for example. Or that people only go into the military because they can’t get into college.
Those are just a couple of the “persistent, recycled myths” about veterans that Syracuse University researchers addressed during a session at the Student Veterans of America National Conference Friday, using both federal data and an 8,600-person survey of the military community to debunk some of the most common misconceptions about the nation’s youngest generation of veterans.
On one hand, studies by Gallup, Pew Research and others have shown there is “enormous public support (for the military) but at the same time a tremendous gap in knowledge about who we’re supporting,” said Corri Zoli, director of research at Syracuse’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism. “They don’t have a lot of granular detail about who they’re supporting and why.”
Myth 1: Veterans are a small subset of the population
The number that’s often thrown out is 1 percent, but that applies to active duty troops, researchers said. As of 2017, federal data show veterans make up 8 percent of the U.S. population, with post-9/11 veterans the fastest growing group among them.
Myth 2: Veterans join the military because they could not get into college and are uneducated
According to federal data collected in the 2017 Current Population Survey, 35 percent of post-9/11 veterans have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 31 percent of all veterans and 32 percent of the general U.S. population.
Rosalinda Maury, a researcher with the Syracuse Institute for Veterans and Military Families, said education benefits tend to be a top recruiting incentive, and the military promotes and prepares service members for post-secondary education …