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Readers Respond: Are Military Enlistment Standards too tough, too lax, or just right?

Responses: 295



I am 29 years old. I am very physical. I Play sports every weekend. I train hard and want to be something more. I never needed the Marine corps money, because I paid for my own college. Now I have been trying to ge in and they say that Im too old. I know that I could hold my own with those soldiers. My dad was in the Army for 40 years and finally was discharged. I know that I have alot of good years in this body and mind. I wish that I could put them to work for my USA!
—Guest RyanP

to tough

i think requirements are to tough on people these days. you guys take people who are good kids and never had a criminal background when you could be taking people who do have a criminal background and helping them turn there damn life around. i've had 2 recruiters that have been dickin' be around for 7 months now and still wont give me an answer
—Guest dylan09

all the non sense

I do not agree with there being a age limit on joining but I do believe in the minimum age limits. At 17 I was a single mother and very emotional and when approached by my DI about my child and insulted, I exploded. I spent 4 days in psych and 2 wks in SEPS and I was home. Now, I have matured and I could do it. I have a wonderful husband who would take excellant care of my child but I can never re enlist because I was taken at such a young and emotional age so I can personally see their point on taking the young, especially young parents. As for the asthma, I was born with but have not had an attack in 18 yrs, their reason not wanting ppl with asthma is that they transfer over seas and onto ships according to your job, in those places they may not be able to treat you but if they could guarantee that you would be CONUS then I would not see the problem. And I think the military and our government could learn alot from older soldiers and veterans if they would just give them a chance
—Guest disappointed

bad debt ruined my chances

Im 24 and it looks like I wont be eligible to enlist despite my recruiter's confidence in my chances. I have college loan debt that went into collections, and now Im basically praying that the collection agency will help me out with a payment plan, but they just want me to pay a huge amount and I cannot. I have been 100% clean with everything else my whole life (no drugs, crime, serious injuries, etc), and got a 90 on my asvab pretest, but these stupid school loans ruined my and my chances of enlisting. Yes, its fully my fault for not being more responsible and having the foresight to take care of my debt back then, but I wish the rest of my record and character could speak louder than my financial mistake

young and strong?

What good is youth and strength if you sit behind a desk. It's time to compartmentalize or specialize the armed forces. Old, young, or disabled, everyone can do something. I have a masters degree and work in substance abuse counseling. I'm 51. Do you think there's nothing I can do in the armed services? As for the ones saying you missed your chance--too bad, I say I haven't missed my chance. I tried to enlist years ago as a single parent, but was told that I would have to sign over my parental rights while I served. I wouldn't do that. Say what you want. My children are grown and gone now. I still have a lot to offer. By the way, I'm not unemployed. I work at the VA and get paid very well. I just want to do more.
—Guest nonameuser


Older Americans have much too offer in the way of maturity, stability, wisdom, and career knowledge. The armed services makes a big mistake by setting maximum age limits. Older adults may not be fit for combat, but have a lot to offer as far as supportive services. What a shame. After the kids are gone we could do so much in our middle age, but we're ignored.
—Guest nonameuser

Old Regretful Folks

All you older guys that have suddenely had a realization and want to join some branch of service need to evaluate. Everybody thinks they're tougher than they are. I've known some good ones at 48 or 52; they may be mentally strong hard working men, but I doubt they could run those couple of miles. I'm 21 and considering going Navy, but oinly cause I have piss poor credintials, and it would be a good investment for the future. I'de like a good civilian job.. I wash dishes part time, and have a GED. They have so much more standards for GED Recruits than diploma holders. You would figure that the GED kid would be expected to get in a lil trouble, right? So to support my will to change and my unlikelyhood, I have researched. If you all feel like your really a valuable asset, and could actually pass basic, then find out about getting a waver. I might have to cause of a DUI, and a couple nonviolent, non theft related charges. No felonies, though... You can't bitch if ye don't try!
—Guest Drunken Sage

You are too old

Well, this is for all of the posters that said they need to raise the age limits.... Now your out of work, and need somewhere to turn. You have always thought of the military as your last resort, and now its too late. You should have joined when you were young, just like the other 99 percent of Americans that are unwilling to put aside their personal agenda for the service to others, if only for a couple years. Too little to late, hope for the last 40 years you have felt safe in your comfortable bed, while other go out to lay down their lives to protect you.
—Guest Donny D

too strict and too soft

The age can be laxed a bit. However, mentally and morally speaking, it is not strict enough.
—Guest USMCR


Is age really important enough that those with the correct aptitude and mindset cannot enter? Too old or too young, I honestly believe that regardless of how someone feels about it, they at least deserve some chance. They should at least be given the chance to be proven wrong, not in active duty or whatnot mind you, give the person the opportunity to succeed. If they are too old, give them the ability to apply their knowledge and experience. If they would be too young, allow them to join so that they might grow into a real soldier, give them the benefit of the doubt at least. But I digress, people must we all place so much emphasis on age?
—Guest Apollo

my son

my son would like to enlist but they are giving him the run around when he was younger he made a misdemeanor mistake and they would not accept him in the army ans he has a tatoo on his leg and would not take him in the marines and this is what he has always wanted to do he has changed and finally knows what he wants and has been turned down PLEASE someone HELP him respectfully his mother
—Guest 0ne mom

Need to raise the limit

With the economy the way it is, and with the glut of excellent experienced people needing work, the age limit should be raised. Yes, older people might not be able to keep up with the younger ones in certain physical capabilities, but they could provide excellent support services. Not every job in the military involves combat, and to turn people away who have excellent skills and experience for these jobs is foolish. I'd join in a minute if I could.
—Guest Julie

age limits

I was active military early 80s and when I was in boot camp their was one guy In his late 30s. He competed as good if not better then most of us in ours teens early 20s. When I reported to my first command I was suprised by how many high school drop outs and pot smokers there was. And their ages where I'm guessing between 20 to 50. To talk to them they weren't the brightest but when it came to their job, they where the best. So you don,t have to be the young and smart you just have to have the heart and the ability to learn. Not everybody has to be leader quality. They just have to be willing to follow orders. Even the best can freeze under pressure everybody is human. If you can't fight the war then maybe you can help behind the lines. So if social security doesn't kick in till I'm 67 I should be able to enlist up to the age of 47. How many kids are sitting state side doing jobs that someone older could be doing. I'll bet if there is another war the age limit will change


Honestly, I’m a bit disappointed in these posts. It’s not that they’re not all in line with “today,” though. I think I’m just disappointed with today. The one point I’d like to make is that physicality isn’t everything. I’m not in the military nor do I have a college degree, and apologize in advance if I offend anyone that is / does, but the focus on the physical should be secondary to one’s skill/mental ability. I’m probably biased, but having had the privilege of known someone as brilliant as my father, who is now restricted to a wheelchair through no fault of his own (spinal muscular atrophy), I’d MUCH rather a mentally stimulating leader that TEACHES you how to use your training to THINK through things prior to simply relying on a set of "reaction" standards. Don’t get me wrong – I understand that there’s a time for action & a time for consideration, but in my (very VERY limited 3rd person) experience, my gut instict suggests that if I were taught the “proper” way to an
—Guest Mike G

Going Back

I served in the Army in the early 1990's. Serving in the Army was by far one of the proudest moments of my life. I almost went in right after 9/11 and for whatever reason I never did. I feel that for various jobs in the military the age limits for entering should be evaluated. Im 37 and would like to go back into the Army and if everything works out I will be. Like a lot of the comments I read we all seem to think the same thing that experience is a huge asset. We need the most qualified people protecting our country and some of those people even if they are over the age limits should be given the opportunity if capable. Basic training should weed them out anyway. When the will is strong everything is easy.
—Guest cleonard

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