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trying to find: reason for maximum age limit for military so young?
Posted: 04 June 2011 05:21 PM   [ Ignore ]
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so far I haven’t found an actual reason.  I’ve looked into this before.  Anyone know?
http://usmilitary.about.com/od/joiningthemilitary/a/enlage.htm

US Military Enlistment Standards
Age Limits

One would think that age to enlist in the US military would be a simple category. One is either old enough, or too old, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way. By federal law (10 U.S.C., 505), the minimum age for enlistment in the United States Military is 17 (with parental consent) and 18 (without parental consent). The maximum age is 42. However, DOD policy allows the individual services to specify the maximum age of enlistment based upon their own unique requirements. The individual services have set the following maximum ages for non-prior service enlistment:

Active Duty None-Prior Service

  Army - 35 (must ship to basic training prior to 35th birthday. The Army experimented with raising the age limit to age 42 for a brief period of time, but effective April 1st, 2011, the Army has reverted to the lower age limit.
  Air Force - 27
  Navy - 34
  Marines - 28
  Coast Guard - Age 27. Note: up to age 32 for those selected to attend A-school directly upon enlistment (this is mostly for prior service).

Reserve Non-Prior Service

  Army Reserves - 35 (must ship to basic training prior to 35th birthday)
  Army National Guard - 35 (changed from 42 in 2009)
  Air Force Reserve - 34
  Air National Guard - 40 (Changed from 34 in Aug 2009)
  Naval Reserves - 39
  Marine Corps Reserve - 29
  Coast Guard Reserves - Age 39

Age Waivers

Age waivers for non-prior service enlistments are very rare. The few I’ve seen approved involved those who started the enlistment process within the required age limits, but were unable to complete the process and ship to basic training before their birthday. In these cases, only a couple of months of age was waived.

Prior Service Enlistments

The age limit for prior service enlistment for most of the branches is the same as above, except that an individual’s total previous military time can be subtracted from their current age. For example, let’s say that an individual has four years of credible military service in the Marine Corps and wants to join the Air Force. The Air Force could waive the individual’s maximum enlistment age to age 31 (Maximum age of 27 for the Air Force, plus four years credible service in the Marines).

For the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserve, the maximum age of enlistment for prior service is 32, after computing the prior-service age adjustment.

For the Army and Air National National Guard, the maximum age for prior service enlistment is 59, as long as the member has enough years of prior service to be able to complete 20 years of creditable service for retirement by age 60.

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/armyjoin/a/enlage42.htm

Jun 26 2006
The Army has raised the enlistment age to 42 (for Active Duty, Reserves, and Army National Guard), made possible under provisions of the Fiscal Year 2006 National Defense Authorization Act.

The Army raised the active-duty age limit to 40 in January as an interim step while it worked out the additional medical screening requirements for recruits ages 40 to 42. Before January, an applicant could not have reached his or her 35th birthday. The Army Reserve age limit was raised from 35 to 40 in March 2005.

Raising the maximum age for Army enlistment expands the recruiting pool, provides motivated individuals an opportunity to serve and strengthens the readiness of Army units. More than 1,000 men and women over age 35 have already enlisted since the Army and Army Reserve raised their age limits to age 40.

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Posted: 05 June 2011 10:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I can think of a couple of reasons that might factor into it. 

1. The physical requirements.  As has been discussed in another thread the older you get the less physically capable you get.  There are exceptions of course with people who have kept themselves in shape throughout their lives.  But for the average persong going thru basic training at age 40 it’s pretty darn tough on the body. 

2. The cost.  It take a lot of bucks to train someone to in a specialty trade.  Given that the army would prefer to have people become lifers, the older a person is the less time they are likely to spend in the service.

3. Attitudes.  A lot of middle aged and older people have trouble taking orders from people many yers junior to them.  I’ve seen this myself many times when i was in the air force.  This is especially true when the younger person is very good at what they do.  I think it comes from the attitude that the older person doesn’t like to be shown up by the youngster.  Once again this is not a universal attitude but it is out there in some people. 

4. Family life.  A lot of middle aged people that might want to join the army are married with families.  It can be hard for the family when the hubby is sent away for training, deployment or on courses when for years they have been home every night and spent weekends and holidays with their family.  Maegan might have a better insight on that though as she was in that position. 

Those are just a few of the possible reasons I can think off offhand.  As to the true reasons, who really knows what their policy makers are thinking.

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Posted: 05 June 2011 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Keep in mind that for a long time, the US had such a large population compared to its military needs that they could be very picky over who to enlist.  With so many volunteers, they could afford to turn away plenty.  When there’s a big war or something, though, and there’s a need for more people in the military, you’ll notice that one of the first things to happen is the age requirements get changed.

As for why they prefer younger people, there are a lot of reasons.  They tend to be more fit and energetic and to have more endurance and resilience.  They are less set in their ways.  You’re less likely to have the case where new recruits are substantially older than their officers, which can lead to problems about authority.  They’re less likely to have children or other dependents.  The closer the recruits all are in age, the easier it is for them to feel a sense of commonality and togetherness.  Also, they’re young and silly enough to be willing to go out and do dangerous things.

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Posted: 05 June 2011 03:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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All the reasons listed above are valid but two other factors are the economy and the possibility of combat. When the economy is rosy, fewer people sign up which puts pressure to loosen standards. The same is true when an unpopular war is going on—recruitment officers went through hell trying to get anyone to enlist when Iraq was at its peak.

With a lousy economy and a relative lull in combat casualities (at least perception through the media), recruiters have been hitting their targets far easier than back in 2005. They can afford to be pickier now but if the economy improves or if Libya flares up, I’d bet the maximum age to go up again.

My cousin went in the Army at 38 during Bush’s second term but wouldn’t even be considered today.

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Posted: 05 June 2011 05:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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gray - 05 June 2011 02:50 PM

I can think of a couple of reasons that might factor into it. 

1. The physical requirements.  As has been discussed in another thread the older you get the less physically capable you get.  There are exceptions of course with people who have kept themselves in shape throughout their lives.  But for the average persong going thru basic training at age 40 it’s pretty darn tough on the body. 

3. Attitudes.  A lot of middle aged and older people have trouble taking orders from people many yers junior to them.  I’ve seen this myself many times when i was in the air force.  This is especially true when the younger person is very good at what they do.  I think it comes from the attitude that the older person doesn’t like to be shown up by the youngster.  Once again this is not a universal attitude but it is out there in some people. 

I just took these two specifically that you mention gray:

1.  Not only did the reserves pursue me at up to 42, but I also went through (granted not as tough by a long shot but tough enough) DOC physical, academic, and arms training at the age of 50.  I was the oldest in a group of 20-30 year olds and I did as good as or better than they did.  And no, I did nothing special to stay ‘in shape’. 

3.  I do not recall EVER having a boss my age or older.  I was and have always been the oldest and my employers typically 20 years younger.  I never had a problem, nor did I ever think about that difference.  I depended on their skills, their personalities and abilities.  Come to think of it now, they always took care of me too.

But my question to you is, why did you leave the Air Force?  How old were you when you did leave?  That’s a pretty lucrative career.  Typically those who go into business for themselves (those I’ve known personally), do not care to work for anyone else because they prefer to be in charge.

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Posted: 05 June 2011 06:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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hulitoons - 05 June 2011 09:00 PM
gray - 05 June 2011 02:50 PM

I can think of a couple of reasons that might factor into it. 

1. The physical requirements.  As has been discussed in another thread the older you get the less physically capable you get.  There are exceptions of course with people who have kept themselves in shape throughout their lives.  But for the average persong going thru basic training at age 40 it’s pretty darn tough on the body. 

3. Attitudes.  A lot of middle aged and older people have trouble taking orders from people many yers junior to them.  I’ve seen this myself many times when i was in the air force.  This is especially true when the younger person is very good at what they do.  I think it comes from the attitude that the older person doesn’t like to be shown up by the youngster.  Once again this is not a universal attitude but it is out there in some people. 

I just took these two specifically that you mention gray:

1.  Not only did the reserves pursue me at up to 42, but I also went through (granted not as tough by a long shot but tough enough) DOC physical, academic, and arms training at the age of 50.  I was the oldest in a group of 20-30 year olds and I did as good as or better than they did.  And no, I did nothing special to stay ‘in shape’. 

3.  I do not recall EVER having a boss my age or older.  I was and have always been the oldest and my employers typically 20 years younger.  I never had a problem, nor did I ever think about that difference.  I depended on their skills, their personalities and abilities.  Come to think of it now, they always took care of me too.

But my question to you is, why did you leave the Air Force?  How old were you when you did leave?  That’s a pretty lucrative career.  Typically those who go into business for themselves (those I’ve known personally), do not care to work for anyone else because they prefer to be in charge.

I spent 20+ years in the forces and that was time enough for me.  It was not the same as it was when I joined and had become a lot more bureaucratic with politicians making the decisions rather than experienced servicemen. With cutbacks and everything it had really gone downhill.  I also felt like it was time for me to do something else before I got too old so I got out and am now in a job I like that I’ll probably retire from. 

As I said Huli, there are a lot of people who wouldn’t be able to take the physical and mental stress of boot camp and trades training.  I know guys who refused to join up just because they would have to cut their hair and go on parade.  I know other guys who failed out because they just couldn’t take the mental stress and the discipline.  As Acci pointed out, once a person gets to be middle age they are usually pretty set in their ways and the self discipline necessary to follow thru training isn’t always there.  As for the physical side, you use the same point in your statement that I used in the discussion about the geriatric volunteers in Japan. That you were able to do it at your age.  That is great for you.  The regular forces training is a fair bit tougher than the reserves however and I suspect fewer people would want to go thru it. 

In my 20+ years I saw a lot of cases where someone hasn’t progressed thru the ranks for one reason or another.  A lot of them have a problem with someone 10 or 15 years younger ordering them around.  Of course it’s their own fault they are in that position but it still bites to them.  I’ve also seen that situation in civvy life and it’s not much different.  When faced with the situation of taking orders from someone many years your junior, many people look upon their age and years of experience and resent that someone without that experience is in charge.  They don’t stop to think that the younger person may have just as much or more varied experience and other qualities that make them a better leader.    It is different in the army where you take orders as opposed to a job in a store where you can just up and say screw it.  Try getting into an argument with your 28 yr old platoon commander and see how far it gets you. 

The major factor I’ve found to having a successful military career is a good dose of self discipline.  Taking someone young who isn’t set in their ways gives the service a better chance of instilling the traits necessary to become a good leader.  While not impossible it is harder to get people to conform to the army way of life the older they are.

A few years ago the air force up here was after retirees who would be willing to join up again.  Apparently there were a lot of people like me and my brothers who reached the end of their terms and got out and due to many years of cutbacks and minimal hiring there was a huge gap in experience.  They offered me a 30k bonus if would re-sign for a few years.  While i could use 30k in the bank, the reasons I left in the first place are still there and even worse according to friends who have recently retired.  From what I hear they weren’t that successful although a few people did rejoin.

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Posted: 06 June 2011 07:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Gray, I do get your point.  While my dad was with the State Department (recruited because of his military background), our entire family was under the dubious rules, regulations and decisions of officials we would never meet, not just my dad.  My life and actions, what I said and did were governed not just by my parents, but also by these other ‘people’.  The older I became, the more I began to rebel and then felt guilty that I rebelled.  So I remained an unlikely candidate even though I did follow orders with little reluctance.  In fact, my inability, or perhaps my need to ‘follow orders’ remained an angrily engrained part of my psyche until I reached my 50s and became a source of problematic behavior that put me at peril because those I was permitting to issue orders were not adequate to that task.  But it took me all those years to figure out that I was probably (and that word ‘probably’ is even questionable) the better leader to myself than anyone else. 

It’s interesting what that kind of background can do when it begins at so young an age.  And so I now find myself at a level in life that doesn’t belong to someone my age at all but probably to someone MUCH younger. 

I wanted to know why people elect to ‘retire’.  I didn’t understand because, like other women my age, that has been more forced than I think it is for men and that made me angry.  So I started looking and found this question put to another forum: 

http://www.city-data.com/forum/retirement/569046-why-do-people-want-retire.html

I’m asking this because I really don’t understand why. I’m 65 years old, own my own business, and can’t conceive of giving up the money unless I’m forced to do so for health reasons. I do have a variety of interests and could easily occupy my time if I didn’t work. I certainly would have no reason to visit the senior center. But I’d be positively sick about knowing that I were making far less money than I could be.

I can understand people who are in poor health and can’t perform well retiring. I can certainly understand people who truly hate their jobs retiring. But for the others it seems to be almost an admission of defeat. I’m not trying to start a fight. I’d just like to get some thoughts from people who are retired or plan to retire soon.

—-You answered the question in your opening statement. You are self employed. I want to retire because I have to work for world class jerks and pretend that they are as brilliant as they imagine they are. It begins to wear after 40 years or so…
—-I’m looking forward to retirement because there are lots of things I want to do, and I don’t have time for them because of work. Also, I’m not a slave to money, as long as I have enough to get by money isn’t important.
—-My husband’s reason for retiring (I’m a stay-at-home mom) is because he’s tired of working AND because we can finally live near family. My husband’s job (U.S. Government) has meant that most of our married years have been overseas. We see family once every year or two. Plus, a major reason for retiring early, is because we are still young enough (low 50’s) to care for our disabled son. If my husband keeps working, and we get older and older, we won’t be able to care for him forever.

I think that some folks retire to enable them to remain healthier longer (sleep late, take life easy, eat well, exercise instead of working) so that they can care for disabled or elderly family members.
—-Ditto the other posters. Making as much money as I possibly can has never been the focus of my life’s ambition. I have enough to live securely and comfortably so now I prefer to take a cut and have a lot more time to pursue my many interests that do not involve earning a living. I’ve been living on less than my retirement income will be for over a year now. And leaving behind the morons that always rise to the top will be icing on the cake.
—-People in poor health and people in really bad work environments are certainly among the number of retirees each year. But other people want to retire to spend more time with family (especially grandchildren), or want to travel more than a typical work schedule would permit, or want to have the time to devote to hobbies and interests or volunteer work.

Still other decide that after so many years of working, they are ready to start the next chapter in their lives, whatever that might be.

I think gray, that your answers are very similar to these folks AND it also helps me understand some things about my own happier situation.

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Posted: 06 June 2011 06:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The more talk with my ex forces buddies the more I’m convinced that I got out at the right time.  When I first joined it was pretty tough and discipline was enforced pretty tightly.  You screwed up and you were humping your ass around a parade square with a rifle above your head.  A couple of times like that and most people learned their lesson pretty quick.  By the time I got out political correctness had taken over and discipline was reduced to a slap on the wrist which didn’t teach anyone anything.

I also reached a point where I knew that if I were to take the chance and get out I would still be able to forge a pretty decent post military career.  For some people who spend more time in and get out later their pension is enough to supplement an income but not enough to retire on at age 50 so they have to get a job.  At that point a lot of them have found the problem with that is that few companies like to take a person that age and train them for a job knowing they will only be around for a few years.  They would much rather take a youngster that might be around longer.  The companies don’t know what they are missing out on and it’s not fair but it’s the way of the world.

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Posted: 06 June 2011 07:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Agreed gray.  In fact it’s for that reason that I now put my heels into a static ‘bull’ position when the idea of ‘volunteering’ for anything comes up.  I’ve made it over some pretty hard mountains, many choices were denied me so I am staggered by any suggestion that I should now volunteer though I have a number of charities I support.  However, I have only just found myself, I’m not about to volunteer that position away after all it’s taken to get here.

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