I just ran across this Australian news story, a history lesson on the many methods WWI and WWII soldiers from various nations tried to weasel their way out of the front lines, or the military altogether. Nothing in the piece shocked or surprised me. In my short time in the military, I have seen so-called "heroes" turn into cowards on a level I could never imagine before.
I've seen grown men purposely piss their beds in boot camp multiple times in order to get "stress discharges".
I've seen marines and sailors, in attempts to get "failure to adjust" discharges, stop taking showers for literally weeks at a time until they are sure you can smell them from another room.
I watched a kid in boot camp, after sneaking a lighter into the compartment, burn into his hand a prison-style mexican gang tattoo hoping it would be enough to get him discharged. His skin will forever be marked with a gang he isn't even affiliated or familiar with.
Another kid in a separate division managed to start a small fire in the head, hoping that being a pyromaniac would be enough to get discharged.
I've seen countless people purposely do drugs to pop on random piss tests.
I've seen countless people threaten suicide, or cut themselves.
A girl in my boot camp division was secretly married to another woman but never disclosed it to the Navy............she waited a couple weeks, saw that boot camp was "too hard" for her, and when the time was right she pulled out her marriage certificate to the RDC's. One way ticket home.
At A-school, I've watched one particular sailor try to eat his way out of the Navy. He broke his leg early in his time here, but over the months has healed up and should have been back to regular weekly PT (physical training) a long time ago. But somewhere in between the time he decided he no longer wanted to be in the Navy. Perhaps the prospect of getting back in shape was too much for him. He's still on crutches in public, but when he turns a corner he walks without them. He gets fatter and fatter by the day. He is in the process of being discharged for it.
In that same vein, another sailor (very much in-shape, unlike the one above) confessed to me that his plan to get out of the Navy is to wait until he arrives at his next duty station, and simply fail 3 PRT's in a row. The PRT is the Navy "Physical Readiness Test". Max pushups in 2 minutes, max situps in 2 minutes, and a mile-and-a-half run. You have to reach certain minima for your age to get passing scores. If you fail 3 in a row, you can be discharged from the Navy.
Maybe the most disgusting of all, I've seen women purposely get pregnant to get out of military service.
It's a side of the military most civilians don't see, but this is just a small sample of the things I've seen, and would be 10 times longer if I included the stories I've heard from others. Military life is definitely not for everyone, but you still have to fulfill your committment and be a man/woman. For some people, this is too much to ask.