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soliders from the same area/town
Dean Purgatory
geckoholic wrote in little_details
There's a detail about the military that I kinda need to know for an AU fic, and that I'm not sure about... See, in the UK military, as far as I know, it often happens that soldiers from the same town or district will end up in a unit together. We have a battalion stationed in town, and they're almost exclusively from the same area.

Is that the same in the US? Or not at all? How likely would it be that, if two kids from the same neighborhood would join, say, the Army, they'd end up in the same unit? Pretty likely, or is it avoided to stick them together like that? ETA: I'm talking about today, the way it is presently.

I googled a few related combinations of keywords, like "US military", "soldiers" and "same area", but it's a little bit of a difficult question to get answered that way, so I'm turning to this comm. Anyone able to tell me anything about that? :)

Mod request: What time period is your story set in? Please add the information to the post. Thanks!

It was common practice during World War I, but not so much after. You still had state regiments in World War I

There was still a tendency in WWII as well. For example, my grandfather fought with the 32nd Infantry in the South Pacific, and they were all raised from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan.

It depends; you can still go in with battle buddies. It's not common anymore but you can. I personally didn't have go in with a battle buddy, and was not stationed with anyone from my hometown and neither was my older brother (i was USAF enlisted, my brother was US Army officer) but my son's godfather (USMC) did enlist with his best friend but they were reserves. I called my former Capt (again USAF) and he says to his knowledge you have to go into the recruiter’s officer together and fill out very specific paperwork.

They'd not have been close before they enlisted, so that kinda doesn't fit my purposes. Thanks though! :)

Yes. battle buddies is one option and the previous poster is correct in that you have to sign up at the same time with the same recruiter. Your MOS (Military Occupation Specialty code) would also have to be the same or close enough to qualify them both to be in a joint posting. In other words, if character A ends up being a crack shot and top of his class in hand to hand combat and character B is barely passing basic training there might be a problem because character A might qualify for advanced training like Army Ranger school.

If you want it to be more of a coincidence that they end up together, you might think about having them both in the National Guard or Reserves. That is done by state, so when a particular reservist unit is called up for active duty, they'd all be from approx. the same area.

Hmm, both doesn't really fit what I wanted to write. Hm. It's an AU anyway, maybe I'll just make them British. XD

Unless they join under the buddy system or are married to each other it is totally random. Obviously, people from more economically depressed areas will tend to meet more people from their area simply because so many people go into the military in order to feed themselves, so the chances that I will meet someone else who grew up in Fayetteville, WV are pretty good(1), but the chances I will meet someone else from Beverly Hills aren't that good.

(1) which I did.

They're indeed from a rather poor area, and I mentioned how a bunch of them enlisted after graduation for lack of better alternatives, so maybe I'll work that angle for it. Thanks!

If you include National Guard units, it happens a lot with them (since those are organized at the state level). Not really in the regular Army anymore.

Hmm, I'm not quite sure if it'd fit what I had in mind (bunch of freshly graduated kids from a poor neighborhood joining the military for lack of better options), but I'll think on it. Thank you so much for the reply!

In many ways, full time national guard duty and regular army are virtually identical,  especially in deployed (war fighting) or training environments. If you just want to tell a war story, this might be the best answer.</p>

I've known just a few people--maybe three pairs in eighteen years active duty--who enlisted out of the same hometown, went into the same career field, and stayed together their first four or six years. It's unusual, but not remarkably so. Easier if you go into a small career field, obviously--snake-eaters, not bullet-catchers.


Thank you! Would it be as likely for a punch of poor kids to go for the National Guard as for, say, the Army, though? I googled it a bit, and most sites say until you ARE called on and probably deployed it's a reverse thing? Like, would it make sense for them to go, ohh, I won't find a job around here, let's sign up for the National Guard?