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Published:December 29th, 2009 17:30 EST
Can I Enlist in the Military? If you Don't Qualify, No!

Can I Enlist in the Military? If you Don't Qualify, No!

By Ron G Anselm


     A recent alarming statistics came out about seventy-five percent of this country`s 17 " 24 year olds are unfit for military duty. According to the pentagon, the ones that are unfit do not meet the minimum requirements to join. The term unfit means they do not qualify for military service. To qualify and to be eligible to enlist in the military, the candidate has to meet specific criteria and must qualify in different categories.


     The first step is to meet with the recruiter. When a candidate meets with the recruiter, they are interviewed and asked certain questions. The questions can range from why do they want to join? To have you been convicted of a felony?

     I think with the way the economy is, the crime statistics per city going up and down in all areas of crime, and just the overall condition of the job market, more and more people within this age group are having a very hard time finding a job. And most of the employers now have cut internal positions so thin that employees are having to wear many hats in the organization which leaves the ones, the younger crowd with no experience out in the cold.

    As a result of the poor economy and no jobs out there, there are more and more petty crimes happening like stealing, robbery and so on with the younger crowd of people. And in the general population as-well. These younger people are getting caught and convicted which now leaves a felony on their record and an automatic disqualification for military service. I believe there are certain standards the military may still let a candidate enlist if that candidate may have been convicted of a felony but that is with a waiver and approval at the highest level in the recruiting command. And will depend on the severity of the conviction But overall, if someone has a felony conviction, they are not eligible.

     Another reason this age group may not be eligible is that they are probably out of shape and overweight. If someone walks into a recruiting station and wants to join the military and that person weighs 300 pounds and are five foot five inches tall, I don`t think they are going to be put on the recruiters top priority list to put that person in the military. First of all, if they were allowed to join at that weight, they would be eaten alive in basic training and they are also a big liability to the military. When you hit basic training from the first day until you graduate it is at a very high level of an everyday and daily routine. You are moving at one speed and that speed is FAST..If a person that is overweight is trying to keep up they will have a hard time and probably not make it in basic training anyway. Also, if a person is overweight, they could have a heart attack when doing physical fitness and are more prone and susceptible to sickness and disease. So, it is better to make sure you are within military weight standards before you even apply for any military service. You can find those military weight standards from your local recruiting office.

     I remember when I went through Army Basic Training. After you go through the initial in processing which takes a few days you get loaded on cattle trucks and head towards your basic training unit. When the cattle truck doors open after you arrive at your basic training destination, you might as-well be moving at warp speed. There are more round brown hats (Drill Sergeants) than privates and those drill sergeants are chewing your behind, up and down, making you do thousands of push-ups, sit-ups and basically welcoming you to the United States Army.

     We had one guy in my basic training unit who you could say, was not thin, or has thin has he should have been going into basic training. He got off the cattle truck and had the nerve or stupidity to walk up to a group of five army drill sergeants and ask where the chow hall was. Need I say more of what happened after that less than smart question? Let`s just say that he must have gone from the size of the Pillsbury Dough Boy to the size of Zippy the Pin Head in less than an hour! Those drill sergeants ate him for lunch, spit him out, ate him for dinner, spit him out and then spit him out for a while but he did start his workout regiment at the same time.

     You have to be in shape and meet military standards to make it before you enlist and after you enlist. In combat, you have to move, and move fast and on most deployments you may not sleep for days because you are moving from place to place with your unit and division and again you must be in shape to be able to handle the physical demands.

     So, with the many fast food restaurants and inactivity among people in the 17 " 24 year old age group, there is a problem with not only obesity but being overweight in general in this country. This is really a problem that probably must be addressed or more and more information should be put out on staying thin and in shape, keeping good health at all ages, and working out.

     We also have a big drug usage problem in this country that I hope one day will disappear. It is ashamed we have any illegal drug users in this country and maybe with the stepped up security at all levels will help keep the drug cartel, drug smugglers and so on out of this country. I know I was involved in more than one operation on finding and busting drug smugglers when I was in the Coast Guard, hopefully it helped make an impact on getting rid of them once and for all. I hate drugs!!!

     But this is a big problem that again needs to be addressed and hopefully will continue to be addressed now and in the future. When you enlist and after you get past the initial phases of enlisting, you will take a physical to see if you are fit for military service. In that physical which is normally at 0500 hours or at the crack of dawn, you will be drug tested. The military will find drugs in your system if you have used any. The best advice is to STAY AWAY from DRUGS " it is not good for you or anyone.

     The other problem disqualifying candidates from military service is the mental aspect. You have to pass a mental exam and test to qualify and part of this age group is not passing this mental test. I don`t know why but this is kind of alarming to me as to why these candidates cannot pass a mental exam.

     The two other categories disqualifying enlistees are too many dependents or kids and these enlistees are under the age of 18. And again we have too many candidates with a criminal record. This is a problem that more than likely will continue to increase and must be constantly evaluated to find solutions.