The 1980s were a time of big hair and even bigger shoulder pads. It was also a golden era for military recruiting commercials, ads so excellent they could bring crocodile tears to the eyes of Bill and Ted.

During the decade of jammin’ joggers, the Defense Department took some serious creative liberties with its TV spots. Let’s just say some of them had recruits running headfirst into Uncle Sam’s tender embrace while others — well, they make us laugh.

These are some of our favorite 80s recruiting spots.

1. The one that says people can be soldiers AND women at the same time

2. The one that calls for people who have no life skills

3. The one in which Marines are actually medieval knights

4. The one that gives Bruce Springsteen music video vibes

5. The one that makes it look like you can pop a wheelie in a tank

6. The one that makes the Navy look like a Carnival Cruise that docks in Japan for tea

Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.

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