“This isn’t the old Army:” Generation Z weekend warrior hits back at “haters”

Screenshot from the video below

A “weekend warrior” is lashing out at the old breed as he positions himself to be the self-styled representative for Generation Z in the US Army, claiming his critics are out of touch.

A member of the Arkansas Army National Guard, 21-year-old Anthony Gonzales has never seen a battlefield, his right sleeve on his uniform notably absent of a combat patch.

Despite this, Gonzales has a global presence— in the form of a popular account on TikTok.

The fuel-related MOS Soldier went viral for his “Gen Zs in the military” videos on the controversial social media app, behaving in a manner that many feel is not fitting of the uniform.

In one video, Gonzales appears to be sporting makeup as he speaks to the camera in an effeminate tone, instructing viewers to curl their eyelashes and cinch their belts all the way so that one’s “booty” is more prominent.

“Men are not allowed to wear makeup in the Army,” he lamented.

@arianagonzoo

let’s go to war! (with my recruiter for signing me up for this)

♬ original sound – gonzo

Other videos depict Gonzales acting in a way that many feel is more appropriate for a musical rather than a military setting.

The weekend warrior, however, will have none of the criticism, claiming it comes mostly from “homophobic people and old vets.”

“I see hate comments, but they don’t bother me at all. You live your life and I’m going to live mine,” Gonzales told Insider.

Gonzales seemingly blames the reactions of the previous generations -many of whom spent much of their adult lives in service during a time of active combat- on being old and resistant to change.

“Of course, this ain’t the old army. Time has passed and things have changed. There is nothing wrong with that. Some people just have issues adjusting to change,” he said.

The Arkansas resident went on to claim that he as a single individual cannot “doom” the country or military, even if being a social media influencer means his actions influence others on social media.

“All I can say is that I’m just one soldier. People think that one soldier is going to change everything. ‘Our country is doomed,’ I’ve read multiple times. It’s not doomed just because of the things I say,” Gonzales said.

The Army specialist did say that he has nothing but respect for the old breed, even if some of his videos don’t make sense to them.

“I’ve also read stuff saying that I’m disrespectful towards old vets. No, I’m not. There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun. I truly have so much respect for those who actually fought on the frontlines and all those who have died fighting for our country,” he said. “The videos mock Gen-Z people and really just myself,” Gonzales added.

TikTok has been a hot topic issue in the United States Military, ranging from security concerns [due to the nature of the app being tied to the Chinese Communist Party] to recent studies indicating it may be bad for mental health, such as the 2023 University of Minnesota study.

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