Sunday, July 24, 2005

Raising the Recruiting Age

From the NY Times:

"On Monday, the Pentagon filed documents asking Congress to increase the maximum age for military recruits to 42, in all branches of the service. Now, the limit is 39 for people without previous military service who want to enlist in the reserves and the National Guard, and 35 for those seeking active duty."

This is disturbing news for me. Doesn't anyone remember the waning days of World War II, when Germany was forced to put "old men and boys" into the field against advancing American forces? Raising the maximum age of recruits is a sure sign that the services are getting desperate to fill foxholes. Wouldn't it be a better approach if President Bush had a special prime-time news conference to encourage young, fit Americans to join the military in a time of global war?
Let's put it this way: the Reserves, on average, have soldiers that are 10 to 15 years older than active duty troops of the same rank. I've been training with some of these fogies (male and female) for the past three months and it is readily apparent that they cannot survive the rigors of close-quarters combat. I have to give the older folks in my unit credit... they pushed themselves hard and got father than I ever thought they would, but the sad truth is: THEY CAME UP SHORT OF THE STANDARD. The terrorist who has you in his sights doesn't care if you are sick, old, or can't cut it physically. He is like a hyena on the African plain: If you are a weak target, you are going down.
Let's keep the standards where they are and get the Prez on the tube to encourage young people to serve. Something on the order of JFK's "ask not what your country can do for you" speech. That speech motivated an entire generation.