Friday, June 23, 2006

US Army raises its recruiting age - again

It is not vanity on my part to admit that at age 42 I was in pretty good physical condition. I had also spent a majority of my life at that point as a member of the armed forces. Being in good shape was simply a part of the lifestyle.

Well, the US Army is loosening things up a bit and rather than make you spend 20 years to be all that you can be, the army is increasing its maximum age for new recruits to age 42.

For the second time in six months, the Army is raising the maximum enlistment age for new recruits, this time from 40 to 42, recruiting officials announced Wednesday.

The increase to age 42 applies to both men and women, and older applicants are eligible for the same enlistment bonuses and other incentives available to any other applicant, according to Julia Bobick, a spokesman for the Army’s Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Ky.
Now, according to the army, this isn't to prevent the US Army dwindling to an army of one. No sir! This is to provide opportunity to those who have been denied the chance to experience all the benefits of sharing in the warrior ethos.

Adding an additional two years to the entry limit “expands the recruiting pool, provides motivated individuals an opportunity to serve, and strengthens the readiness of Army units,” Bobick said.

Nevertheless, the Army is not expecting an influx of Americans older than 40 who will be eager to don a uniform full-time, she said.

“We don’t anticipate that this is going to give us a lot more enlistments,” Bobick said. “It’s a way to give [older] individuals on opportunity to serve if they want to do so.”
Wow. Hard to believe. At that age I was seriously looking forward to the day when I could burn my combat clothing. OK, well at least turn it in and do that final "out routine".

While the recruiting age limits were extended to all US services in the 2006 defense budget only the US Army has decided to permit 42 year-olds initial entry. The navy, marines and air-force are just being shitty about it and continue to deny such an opportunity to those men and women with dreams of 12 month naval deployments, aircraft maintenance in sunny, warm climates or the chance to dive into some of those delectable MREs.

Oh. OK, maybe that's not why the army's doing it.

Only the Army, which has been struggling with recruiting in the face of ongoing deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, decided to take advantage of the extension, with the age increase applying to the active Army, the Army Reserve and National Guard.
The reason the army has never done this before is because they weren't sure 42 year-olds had a functioning cardio-vascular system.

Although Army officials always intended to raise the bar to the 42-year limit set by Congress, they began by taking an “interim step” and increasing the limit just to age 40, Bobick said.

The reason for that was because officials decided individuals over that age would require additional cardiovascular checkups and other medical tests, and “we needed time to work out the details” of how the tests would be conducted, Bobick said.
Details? What do they do to the 42 year-olds who are already in?

Anyway, the US Army has had a 40 year-old age limit for six months now and it's amazing how many people have taken advantage of the opportunity.

Even with the 40-year age limit in place, the Army has gained more than 1,000 new soldiers that would not have been allowed to join before January, she said.

The active Army has gained a total of 389 individuals older than age 35 since the age limit was lifted, while the Army Reserve has gained 696 soldiers over the age of 35, Bobick said.
Hmmm. The US Army's recruiting goal for 2006 is 80,000 new entries, the same as 2005, which they missed by 6,600 people.

The navy, marine corps and air force all exceeded their 2005 recruiting goals. It was just the army which fell short. Mind you, the navy has a pretty snappy uniform, the air force has better entertainment and the marines just have the best running cadences.

No matter. With all this new opportunity it won't be long until this guy will be able to join; or even these guys.

Run, chickenhawk, run. You're Great Uncle Sam needs you and you should be in good shape when the age gets raised the next time.

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