Student Spotlight: Veteran Ken Conklin’s New Autobiography “Dont Thank Me, Thank Your Recruiter”


What defines an American soldier? Is it the number of plaques on his/her walls? Is it the medals and ribbons planted on their chest? Or is it the numerous deployments to combat zones? Contrary to popular belief, the strength and significance of a soldier is not determined by their kill count or sharp shooter status. The quality of a soldier depends on his/her military bearing and values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, personal courage and integrity. A soldier is expected to possess these values and exceed societal expectations.

Mentally and physically prepared for the unknown, extraordinary soldiers are praised on their militaristic talent and talent off the field. Sergeant Ken Conklin is a vivid example of a soldier who possesses both military and natural talent. Already prepping a second book, Conklin has completed one autobiography entitled “Don’t Thank Me, Thank Your Recruiter,” he possesses a 3.8 GPA, served in the active military for nine years, deployed to fourteen countries including Afghanistan and Iraq and is currently a Rutgers Camden student. His recent book has been a success as it takes a turn from the typical “war torn” hero story. His book depicts the military, specially the Army, from a support soldier’s point of view.

You’ve read and heard of the typical war story books. American soldiers come home from combat zones and write down the horrors of the war. Although nail bitingly interesting, these books can be lightly repetitive and predictable. Ken Conklin’s “Don’t Thank Me, Thank Your Recruiter” presents a different description of war for the American public.

When asked what sets his book apart from those of other war veterans, Conklin explained that he wanted to tell the story of a 42A; a 42A is a human resource specialist or support soldier in the Army. Despite the general consensus, the infantry and Special Forces are not the only soldiers sent to combat zones. “This book proves soldiers are human and that sacrifice is different per person.” Conklin expressed that the “Army is not a one size fits all organization.”

He brings to light the other sides to the military. Conklin believes this different approach will attract all people; he describes it a “person” and an “easy read.” Symbolically, the title of the book is a vivid description of the message Conklin is attempting to convey. During basic training (a nine to ten week training period every soldier must complete in order to be in the military) young soldiers are trained by intimidating drill sergeants. These drill sergeants are trained to form soldiers are mentally and physically tough.” Don’t thank me, thank your recruiter” is a sarcastic phrase blurted by drill sergeants when approached by flustered soldiers. The phrase and name of Conklin’s book means that things are not always what they seem.

“Don’t Thank Me, Thank Your Recruiter” is a vivid autobiography of Ken Conklin and his experiences. Conklin has already deployed to combat zones; he has also served in the active duty army for nine years. One may asked what possessed him to write a book; Conklin expressed the desire to do more for his country. “There is no limit…as long as you put forth the effort.” He explained that the book was a direct reflection of his entire military career. “This book begin at day one…there are times where the reader may laugh and there are times where the reader may cry.” Due to this, the book possesses an air of legitimacy.

“The book was easy to write. Much of it flowed and, in turn, was relaxing.” Now that Conklin is a homebound war vet he keeps busy by maintaining a 3.8 GPA at Rutgers, beginning a second book and mastering in Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense). However, Conklin plans to continue schooling, pursuing law school and serving in the military.

According to the world’s view of an American soldier, Conklin fits the title. He is mentally and physically tough, he has traveled to various combat zones and is a practicing Krav Maga warrior. However, he is willing to convey another side of the Army in his book “Don’t Thank Me, Thank Your Recruiter.” The book is currently being sold on Amazon in all formats: hard cover, soft cover and ebook.

Conklin gives a few words for incoming and young soldiers. “Take advantage of everything the Army gives you, including education. Education leads to numerous opportunities and open doors. Also, never let anyone tell you that you cannot or will not do something. People do not make progress by doubting themselves.


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