JONESBORO, Ark. – After decades of training for 37 days a year, senior leaders are warning the Army National Guard that their training requirements may expand. Soldiers expressed mixed feelings on the potential change, but liquor store unions and lobbying groups are throwing their full weight behind the increase.
The alcohol industry is no stranger to supporting the military, having produced memorable events such as Bud Light’s® honorable parade celebrating a soldier’s commitment to the nation.
The Distilled Spirits, Beer, Wine And Good Times Council, a trade association, explained the industry’s training-policy support in patriotic terms. “We love our brave service-members," the Council said in a written statement. "We simply want to ensure that they have the proper training and that this training occurs in the heart of downtowns across America. Specifically, this training should be in areas where local businesses and store-owners can connect with these young men and women to bridge the civil-military divide.”
“I fully support it,” store-owner Rick Johnson said as he stocked his shelves with Natural Light® beer and McCormick’s® vodka. His liquor store, Sobriety Blows, is co-located with a National Guard armory as part of a new rent-sharing initiative to save money.
“It’s super convenient for Joes that want to get shit-hammered after first-formation too,” he added. "I'm sure writing my Congressperson about it."
Soldiers were quick to echo support for the local business.
“The government’s screwing us, but Mr. Johnson’s always there for the guys,” Pvt. Russell Thompson said. “My contract says 37 days and no more! Actually I’m not sure. My recruiter told me I didn’t have to read the contract. Anyways, I got my drill-check so I’m buying Bud Light Lime® tonight.”
Critics of the training expansion cite the potential for binge alcohol consumption in an unsupervised environment such as those found at National Guard armories, but city officials are downplaying the threat.
“Our Adjutant General is also the Chief of Police so he makes sure that no soldier ever gets prosecut- um, he makes sure that alcohol is not a problem for our honorable military community,” an anonymous mayor explained.