SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The public policy think tank Rand Corporation released a report this week warning that the state of U.S. military morale is dire, and the best way to address this it to immediately organize base and post fun runs.
“The military as a whole has suffered a number of setbacks over the past six months,” said Dan Friedman, a Rand Corp senior analyst. “From juggling pandemic responses while maintaining readiness and real-world ops tempo, to high profile fiascos like the fumbling of the USS Roosevelt by senior civilian leadership, morale is pretty low right now. A good fun run, like a 5k or even a 10k, would go a long way to restore that fighting edge.”
“This Saturday if at all possible.”
The report points out that competitors like Russia and China have not curtailed fun runs for their troops, and the United States risks falling behind, literally and figuratively. North Korea has even held a number of such runs, although Rand analysts concede that “fun” would not be the best way to describe the events, considering the number of deaths associated with them.
“Ever since lock-downs and quarantines have been imposed across the country, there have been literally no fun runs at any major military installation,” continued Friedman. “Fundamental to the readiness of any modern military is the periodic organized aggravation of making hundreds or even thousands of service members get out of bed extra early to form up on a parade ground for a run to enhance morale.”
Responses to the recommendation were mostly positive from senior officer and enlisted leadership.
“Why, we haven’t had a fun run at all this year,” said Col. James Toomey, base commander of Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas. “I can see what this has done to our airmen. They don’t so much say it, but their faces give it away: they need a fun run, and soon. Esprit de corps is at stake!”
Senior Master Sgt. Dale Simmons, Col. Toomey’s senior enlisted advisor, agreed.
“A 5K perimeter run is just the thing we need around here!” Simmons said. “I wish I didn’t have a TDY that week, whenever the run gets scheduled, because I’d really like to lead it.”