The Military Recruitment Age Should Be Raised

Erin Burris

Prowling the halls of selected high schools all across the states, military recruiters search for fatalistic young men and women to send to war. But is it morally just to send seventeen-year-olds, kids barely out of high school with no real-world experience, to the front lines?

The answer is no. Teenagers are teenagers- not adults. By increasing the minimum age requirement to join the military by just three years to 21, we will be helping improve their life before, during and after they retire from the military.

The military has a recruitment quota to meet each year and with the newest generation of kids not being nearly as interested in war as the previous generations were, this is getting harder and harder. This causes recruiters to resort to targeting discouraged teenagers who don’t see a successful future for themselves, promising them stability and structure without mentioning the potential downfalls that serving brings.

One of these said downfalls is the mental trauma that is affiliated with serving in the military. In the military, people see combat- war- human nature at its very core, killing and destroying for many, these gruesome sights are too much for their brains to handle.  According to the National Center for PTSD, approximately 30% of veterans have suffered from PTSD in their life. Soldiers are put on missions that cause them to be exposed to horrible and life-threatening things on and off the battlefield, which is already too much for a 35-year-old to handle, much less a 17-year-old.

 The mental trauma has more of an impact on people than many realize. People with PTSD have symptoms such as: intrusive memories, avoidance, unstable reactions and/ or behaviors, negative thoughts and moods. The intensity of the symptoms varies a lot from day to day; one day they may feel perfectly fine, then “BAM!’ A loud crash triggers a flashback, making it feel as though they are reliving the nightmare. And then as if to add insult to injury (literally ),  you cannot join or serve in the military with current or previous mental health illness, so in other words, if you develop a mental illness during your service they will not renew your contract leaving you jobless. 

Some may argue that the military provides the stability that some kids need after high school, while it is true the military takes young boys and forced them to grow up, chiseling them into men- but are the consequences of this in his favor? 

With all the negative side effects that many are not even forwarded about, how are we to ask people with little to no life experience to make such a life-altering decision?


The Military Recruitment Age Should Stay

Ashley Wilkinson

Senior year. The year of attending every college fair and deciding what we want to do with ourselves after we toss our graduation caps into the air. For some of us, the extravagant personality of an admissions counselor will entice us to write their university down on our “Top 5 Colleges” list. For others, protecting our country feels like a better fit than sitting in a lecture hall.

With these 17-year-olds and 18-year-olds given such a huge responsibility, a few students are beginning to ask the question: can we handle it this early in life? The answer is yes, we can. 

Any high school senior can tell anyone one definite truth: college is expensive. Any parent of a high school senior can tell anyone another truth: college is getting more expensive. If a student decides to join the military, the G.I. Bill and Hazlewood Act can help cover tuition costs for a total of eight years if they later choose to pursue a college education. In fact, the G.I. Bill completely pays for tuition, housing, books and other expenses for four years. The Hazlewood Act, on the other hand, only pays for tuition for another four years. With these, a student who goes into the military is essentially putting a pause on their college education to serve their country.

In many ways, working in the military is just like working a regular nine-to-five job. Active duty is a full-time job and reserves are a part time job. Active duty allows days off on weekends and holidays. In contrast, the reserves work primarily one weekend a month and train two weeks in the summer. Many members of the reserves attend college as they serve. Both provide full or almost full medical and dental insurance, along with approximately $400,000 in life insurance. Working in the military is no different than working in a Texan oil field, which also employs 18-year-olds.

In the opposing article, it was pointed out that 30% of veterans will suffer from PTSD within their lifetime; therefore, 17-year-olds shouldn’t be recruited into the military and suffer from PTSD as a young adult. However, to suffer from PTSD, there has to be a traumatic event occur, so most likely, the veterans who develop PTSD serve in combat. According to the Bureau Labor of Statistics in June, only about 12% of those serving active duty serve in combat specialty. There are many other opportunities within the military that do not involve the horrors of combat.

Graduation is both an exciting and nerve-wracking time for seniors. When we are asked where we plan to go after high school, some of us will answer with serving alongside the few, the proud.

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