@Obsidian: Many National Guard units get the dregs of equipment. They are only issued the "good stuff" if they are activated. Sad, but true.
Camo: Absolutely. Breaking the profile is part of basic training, as is applying matte paint to the face, arms, and any exposed skin. Just as well, no one in their right mind would wear nice, shiny boots nor crisply pressed uniforms in combat situations. Since there really is no practical way to break your profile in desert/arid environments, we simply wore desert-issue uniforms and gear (though it is possible for a stationary sniper to blend in well; a friend of mine was a sniper for the 82nd Airborne). That fact is also partially why military forces utilize air strikes in that environment, and why they are generally so successful.
@Magrus: It's virtually impossible to tell what a recruit's motivations for joining the military are. It was my experience that the military population reflects society at large: you'll find all kinds of people across the country, and you'll find all kinds of people in the military. Out of the 60 guys that were in my Basic Training platoon with me in Ft. Jackson, South Carolina in 1989, a few had some serious attitudes. One never made it past week 2 - he was processed out (he was a thief). Another guy thought he was Rambo - by week 4 he was cured of that by the Drill Sergeants. I could devote a whole thread to how that happened (how could I ever forget).
Racists generally have a tough time in the military, for many reasons. Believe it or not, the modern military structure doesn't lend itself to any sort of segregation beyond rank, and in some cases, gender. Not that discrimination doesn't go on in the ranks, mind you, but it sticks out like a sore thumb where it occurs. You might have a few links in the chain of command that will turn a blind eye to it, but sooner or later someone will come along and do something about it. I've watched that dynamic in action...and I learned some things.
My own experience in Basic Training is a good example. Everyone in the Platoon was assigned a "buddy" the very first formation we had: that is, after the Drill Sergeants descended upon the reception bus screaming and hollering, sending duffel bags and recruits flying everywhere.
We all stood there on the hill in front of our barracks. Your "buddy" turned out to be whomever was standing next to you. My buddy was an African American guy from Alabama. Myself, I grew up in military housing neighborhoods on bases as a kid, so I had friends of every ethnic stripe. It was no big deal to me, but it was to my buddy. After week 1 it was pretty clear he couldn't stand white people. I didn't let it bother me, since we were so busy being terrorized by the Drill Sergeants...I didn't have time to be bothered. As time went by, and we were forced to help each other in training, something happened. Elgin (his first name) relaxed quite a bit, and didn't seem so mollifed that his buddy was a white guy. For myself, I learned alot about getting along with offensive people.
The military has a strange way of curing people of their prejudices. Basically, you are plucked out of your cushy civilian existence and tossed into the frying pan. You quickly learn that the best way to make it is to lean on the guy next to you, and let him lean on you. No matter who you are, or where you are from, you're all in the same boat. A bond is formed this way that eventually breaks down any notions you may have had, and changes you. I can't tell you how many bigots took the oath of service and walked out of training a different person.