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posted by azrael on Sunday October 26 2014, @09:48PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the new-military-overlords dept.

Clifford Davis reports that seven out of 10 young people between the ages of 17 and 24 are ineligible to become soldiers primarily due to three issues: obesity or health problems; lack of a high school education; and criminal histories.

"There's a reliance on an ever-smaller group of people to serve and defend the country," says Maj. Gen. Allen Batschelet, "What do we do about that and how do we address that concern?"

While cognitive and moral disqualifications have held steady, weight issues account for 18% of disqualifications, and the number is rising steadily, according to Batschelet. It's projected to hit 25% by 2025, which Batschelet calls "troubling."

The current Army policy is that every recruit, whether enlisting for infantry or graphic design, has to meet the same physical requirements to join -- that may be changing.

"Today, we need cyber warriors, so we're starting to recruit for Army Cyber," says Batschelet. "One of the things we're considering is that your [mission] as a cyber warrior is different.

"Maybe you're not the Ranger who can do 100 pushups, 100 sit-ups and run the 2-mile inside of 10 minutes, but you can crack a data system of an enemy." Batschelet admits that such a drastic change may be hard for some to swallow.

"Societally, the bottom line is that the Army had a demand-based model under the all-volunteer force for the last 40 years," says Batschelet. "We didn't have to worry too much about it because supply was adequate to demand. It just doesn't look like that is going to be the case going forward."

Related Stories

Soda Wars: Colombia's Soda Cartel 46 comments

She Took On Colombia's Soda Industry. Then She Was Silenced.

It began with menacing phone calls, strange malfunctions of the office computers, and men in parked cars photographing the entrance to the small consumer advocacy group's offices. Then at dusk one day last December, Dr. Esperanza Cerón, the head of the organization, said she noticed two strange men on motorcycles trailing her Chevy sedan as she headed home from work. She tried to lose them in Bogotá's rush-hour traffic, but they edged up to her car and pounded on the windows. "If you don't keep your mouth shut," one man shouted, she recalled in a recent interview, "you know what the consequences will be."

The episode, which Dr. Cerón reported to federal investigators, was reminiscent of the intimidation often used against those who challenged the drug cartels that once dominated Colombia. But the narcotics trade was not the target of Dr. Cerón and her colleagues. Their work had upset a different multibillion-dollar industry: the makers of soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages.

Their organization, Educar Consumidores, was the most visible proponent of a proposed 20 percent tax on sugary drinks that was heading for a vote that month in Colombia's Legislature. The group had raised money, rallied allies to the cause and produced a provocative television ad that warned consumers how sugar-laden beverages can lead to obesity and diet-related illnesses like diabetes. The backlash was fierce. A Colombian government agency, responding to a complaint by the nation's leading soda company that called the ad misleading, ordered it off the air. Then the agency went further: It prohibited Dr. Cerón and her colleagues from publicly discussing the health risks of sugar, under penalty of a $250,000 fine.

Related: Scientists Find Shorter Telomeres in Immune Cells of Soda Drinkers
US Army says Only 30% of Americans Qualified to Join
Obesity Surges to 13.6% in Ghana
America Gets Even Fatter From 2015-2016


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26 2014, @09:55PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26 2014, @09:55PM (#110350)

    My guess is less than 5% of SN readers are qualified to join if physical fitness matters.

    • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:06PM

      by Snotnose (1623) on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:06PM (#110351)

      They wouldn't take me as I'm 56 years old.

      / also, I'm fat
      // could do 200 pushups, 200 situps, and run 2 miles in 2 months. Maybe.

      --
      Why can't I age like a fine wine, instead of last week's milk?
    • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:12PM

      by cafebabe (894) on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:12PM (#110354) Journal

      I'm not military fit [bash.org] but I could possibly get there if I really had to [soylentnews.org]. From my experience, most techies are starting further back but are otherwise in the same situation. That is, they could get there if they had to.

      --
      1702845791×2
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Darth Turbogeek on Sunday October 26 2014, @11:03PM

      by Darth Turbogeek (1073) on Sunday October 26 2014, @11:03PM (#110371)

      You would be surprised. I mean, sure there's the fat chips eating programmers that are fairy common in the industry, but then there's a significant set of IT who are more than just "basic" standards fit. Just look at the fields of fun runners, Triathlons, MTB.... there's IT absolutely everywhere. I'm about to do a 70.3 Ironman and that's a whole new level of fitness over what the military wants. I'm not the only one I suspect.

      What I actually think is happening is the kids today are just not interested in joining the military in the numbers they used to so thence the military has to open up their criteria to even make their recruitment targets. That makes more sense. Sure, society is getting fatter but in the end I dont think there's as many who see joining the military as being in any way desireable or as a way to escape small town problems. And why would you want to join the military these days? The benefits offered are not really seen as being offset by the real chance of being shipped off to wars you probably don't agree with. Unlike in the 90's when the military was more seen as a way to get a good college education, do some time, three square meals, rooms and get a degree for basically free without being shot at.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Monday October 27 2014, @04:05PM

        by VLM (445) on Monday October 27 2014, @04:05PM (#110566)

        Unlike in the 90's when the military was more seen as a way to get a good college education, do some time, three square meals, rooms and get a degree for basically free without being shot at.

        LOL you accurately described my late teens/early 20s to near perfection. Just add in that it was a bit of an adventure (only a bit, got very boring after a couple years) and you don't need to pay for a health club membership. The reserves was fun, at least in the 90s.

        One comedy of this discussion is since I was a teenage kid and first became aware of the discussion, there's been a continuous argument in the military by higher ranked officers making speeches that the army no longer marches on its feet so it doesn't matter if we can't maintain weight standards and it doesn't matter that girls don't have the upper body strength to be real soldiers, against the traditional argument that everyone in uniform is first and foremost a footsoldier infantryman under fire. The funniest part is if you read up on this, its tradition for the "no more standards" gang to get a lot of press about 1 to 5 years after every war. "Well, that was the last war that we'll even need high tech troops to act as foot soldiers" --- said some general in 1946

        Despite this story being one extreme side of the argument, its not that many years ago that random warm bodies were holding rifles on logistics runs thru Iraq and Afghanistan... there isn't a MOS for this, you just kinda did it as an extra duty, even if you were a diesel mechanic or sysadmin or whatever on paper during your assigned duties in your slot at other times.

        During the first gulf war, according to the "old timers" in my unit who were there, they even had accountants and forklift drivers and data entry clerks and mechanics and even the unofficial sysadmin team rotating thru standing guard posts and roving guard patrols for the first couple weeks until the army assigned an infantry platoon to take over guard duties so they could work the ammo depot guys a little more appropriately.

        So yeah, all the doctrine argument aside, everyone in .mil is a foot soldier first and a "WTF else" second. There's no such thing as a "cyber warrior" who won't be standing guard at least once in a while. I found guard duty relaxing and as its often done in teams I made a lot of friends, although there was plenty of standing out in the rain BS that I didn't particularly care for.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @03:04PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @03:04PM (#110543)
      I'm not fit for the military- I'm the sort who may decide to not follow orders if I think they're stupid or pointless.

      And if I'm going to do any killing I might even decide to shoot the leader of my country in the head if he tries to declare war for bad reasons. I might die for that, but I'd consider that dying for my country and definitely more patriotic than killing strangers in some other country for stupid reasons.

      The military don't want people like that.
    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday October 27 2014, @09:05PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday October 27 2014, @09:05PM (#110664)

      I'm a cyclist, and I'm pretty sure I'm more than fit enough to join. However, at 40 I'm probably over their age limit too. Maybe they should cease the age discrimination.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by chromas on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:07PM

    by chromas (34) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:07PM (#110352) Journal

    Obesity

    I thought that's what training was for.

    criminal histories

    I thought that's what training was for.

    lack of edumukashun

    Their ads keep telling me I'll get an awesome degree and the best days of my life if I join. Is it a lie? When has a recruiter ever lied?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:33PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:33PM (#110361)

      > Their ads keep telling me I'll get an awesome degree and the best days of my life if I join. Is it a lie? When has a recruiter ever lied?

      Best days and worst days. My nephew dropped out of college freshman year to become an army ranger. He loved it and hated it. He wears a black kia bracelet.

      Now he's got a full-ride to george washington university, one of the most expensive in the nation and even if it isn't ivy-league it pumps out a lot of connected people [wikipedia.org] like Anousheh Ansari, Elizabeth Warren and Colin Powell.

    • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Monday October 27 2014, @12:23AM

      by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 27 2014, @12:23AM (#110384) Homepage Journal

      One of my labour economics classes discussed army recruitment, and specifically the requirement for a high school diploma. While the topics covered in class may not be 100% relevant for a grunt, the ability to follow orders and be responsible is. And being able to schedule your time enough to complete high school is a good indicator of responsibility.

      I believe that this mentality extends to the criminal component. Society laid down a set of rules, and if you cannot follow them how will you react to receiving orders?

      For obesity, I imagine that currently the recruitment rates are sufficient. If we needed bodies I imagine this rule would be revised early on. Still, it must be easier to train a group of relatively similar fitness.

    • (Score: 2) by jcross on Monday October 27 2014, @12:46AM

      by jcross (4009) on Monday October 27 2014, @12:46AM (#110390)

      An elegant solution to the problem might be to add extra training time for recruits and sell the military as a weight-loss program. If anyone could come up with a pragmatic and efficient regime for losing weight it would probably be the military. They basically own your body once you sign up, and they have a big incentive to get it in better shape when you leave than when you join up. I mean, they already invest in research into all kinds of stuff like alternative medicine for pain management, so why not rapid fitness?

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Kell on Monday October 27 2014, @08:36AM

        by Kell (292) on Monday October 27 2014, @08:36AM (#110447)

        This is an interesting idea. Make a deal with the military - paid time off work to get you into shape, with the provisio you become a reservist for a fixed period of time afterwards. If you can't make the cut, ok maybe you aren't up to it and there is no requirement to serve, but instead you need to pay back the cost of their fitness program. If you are serious about getting into shape, it might be a sensible choice for someone who can't afford to lose weight because of work/time commitments.

        --
        Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @04:51AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @04:51AM (#110431)

      criminal histories

      Indeed. Many of the people that have criminal histories were involved in gangs. They joined because they "wanted to belong" somewhere. Now they are disqualified from the army - a place where many of them could belong and shape up. Instead, they'll most likely end up in the prison system.

      Lack of HS is also related to the above. Mostly caused by shitty childhood and lack of role models.

      Obesity, you can work on. Maybe the Army needs to invest a few more resources into training proper recruits instead of getting them on a silver platter. Imagine that - Army could have positive effect on society instead of just training people to kill.

      • (Score: 3) by cafebabe on Monday October 27 2014, @09:33AM

        by cafebabe (894) on Monday October 27 2014, @09:33AM (#110458) Journal

        Instead, they'll most likely end up in the prison system.

        We have a problem where to people who seek a sense of belonging end up in prison whether or not they join the military. Someone needs to take a very hard look at this even if it is only for economic reasons.

        --
        1702845791×2
    • (Score: 3) by VLM on Monday October 27 2014, @11:53AM

      by VLM (445) on Monday October 27 2014, @11:53AM (#110476)

      Obesity

      I thought that's what training was for.

      Having actually been there a short quarter century ago, we had HUGE problems with jocks blowing out their knees, ankles, whatevers and then limping around with crutches and profile paperwork. It looks pitiful when you've got like 4 people in crutches in one platoon. They started lining them up into a fifth squad once the numbers got over 5 or so. We also had the occasional heat exhaustion case.

      I think you'd have to detail a combat medic team to continuously following each platoon it you let fat people in.

      criminal histories

      I thought that's what training was for.

      Again in my personal experience every platoon had some dirtbag off the streets who thought he was tough and the drill sgts kind of cleaned him up. Give them one guy from the 'hood and the DS team can handle him. I donno what you do with 10 kids from the hood and the other recruits (the real recruits) are not going to enjoy the experience.

      Admittedly most criminal issues for teens relate to drugs and alcohol rather than "real" delinquency so ...

      One HUGE problem is maybe if you got caught smoking weed the USAR will let you in... buy my MOS needed a secret clearance and that might be problematic. So join up to be what amounts to a sysadmin, join your unit. cool your heels doing lawn mowing and day room shit like that until your get your clearance, oh whoops denied. Didn't happen to me because I didn't get caught smoking weed, but I know guys who had problems. The problem actually appears at AIT which is your MOS job specific training, no clearance badge means no classroom time... The Army had a lot of compassion in those days and if your contract said "55R MOS" then if they refused to train you, you'd process out. I could see in other times, if you fail in a "cool" MOS then say hello to driving a truck or 11B or something like that which might not require a clearance.

      the best days of my life if I join. Is it a lie?

      I had fun. Did crazy stuff, cool experiences. Didn't really ever accomplish anything, I always wondered what it would have been like to actually "do" something. I spent my whole time in between the two Iraqi wars, yes you can just barely fit 8 years of reserves duty and IRR time in between the first war and 9/11. Its an education in itself that re-enacting scenes from "Animal House" is only one form of a fun complete waste of time, and another form of a fun complete waste of time is our visit to the grenade range, or the assault course hill, or visiting the tear gas chamber, or the obstacle course and the confidence course (they are two separate concepts and two separate courses) or get a sharpshooter qual on the rifle range (one step down from expert aka welcome to sniper school).

      None the less a quarter century later I assure you it was a complete waste of time.

      • (Score: 2) by Spook brat on Monday October 27 2014, @03:06PM

        by Spook brat (775) on Monday October 27 2014, @03:06PM (#110545)

        One HUGE problem is maybe if you got caught smoking weed the USAR will let you in... buy [sic] my MOS needed a secret clearance and that might be problematic. So join up to be what amounts to a sysadmin, join your unit. cool your heels doing lawn mowing and day room shit like that until your get your clearance, oh whoops denied. Didn't happen to me because I didn't get caught smoking weed, but I know guys who had problems. (emphasis added)

        I'll see your anecdote and raise you a counterexample. I knew a soldier who enlisted for 97B (counterintelligence agent), a position that requires Top Secret clearance. On her clearance application she confessed to habitual marijuana use and having been involved in a drive-by shooting as the shooter. Her TS clearance was finalized before classes started.

        The trick to getting your clearance seems to be to not let them find anything new. Assume you're going to get caught and cut them off at the pass. Apparently, it's not "getting caught" if you report it on the clearance application. Maybe there's a difference if you've been arrested/charged or not before applying, I dunno. Of course, YMMV, if you want legal advice on Army stuff find your own JAG officer, I'm not one.

        --
        Travel the galaxy! Meet fascinating life forms... And kill them [schlockmercenary.com]
        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday October 27 2014, @03:39PM

          by VLM (445) on Monday October 27 2014, @03:39PM (#110555)

          The trick to getting your clearance seems to be to not let them find anything new

          Not let them find anything someone else can use as leverage on you. Before "dont ask dont tell" that was the old claim about why they would get their clearance revoked and kicked out in a somewhat recursive display of idiocy, the only reason on paper anyone cares is because if we care then they'll get kicked out or blackmailed so we have to care. Of course if no one cares then it doesn't matter beyond the usual Army hyper sensitivity toward fraternization and favoritism especially in the chain of command.

          The security weenies got all wound up about financial matters and debt, too. "If we know that you owe $30K, then the Russians know, and they might help you with that in exchange for...". And they also got all wound up about "separated but the divorce isn't final yet" and stuff like that.

          Her

          Not going to be very politically correct to point it out, but females, especially minority females, pretty much have a golden pass to do whatever they want, the kind of thing where a white dude would get kicked out so fast you'd hear a sonic boom.

      • (Score: 2) by scruffybeard on Monday October 27 2014, @04:40PM

        by scruffybeard (533) on Monday October 27 2014, @04:40PM (#110579)

        Having actually been there a short quarter century ago, we had HUGE problems with jocks blowing out their knees, ankles, whatevers and then limping around with crutches and profile paperwork.

        Could some of these injuries be mitigated by a longer training/conditioning period? The marginal candidates could be sent for 4 weeks of pre-boot camp conditioning that starts them out at a much lower pace, allowing them to build up the stamina. I would imaging that many of the 18-24 year-old obese recruits could be rehabilitated with the proper training. The article discussed a "conditional enlistment" but was vague on details. I say bring them in, but train them appropriately. Yes, it is more costly, but if we can learn how to do it in peace time, that would help in the event of another large scale conflict where we might need to scale such a system to meet the demand for recruits.

        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday October 27 2014, @05:07PM

          by VLM (445) on Monday October 27 2014, @05:07PM (#110589)

          Possibly, but probably not. So you take some jock who's been into track and field or football or basketball for 6 years, superficially a couple weeks isn't going to help.

          However its also true that the same kids are not used to a 50 pound pack on their backs (or whatever it added up to) and slippery muddy trails. I was, because I've always been a hiker. I saw a lot of jocks really suffering.

          Some of it might be intensity. So fine keep on taking 5 mile road marches with full packs to work us up to the 15 mile march. Just stop also taking us on 2 mile marches to the dining facility, an extra mile here and there to the barracks, 3 mile march to the range on the same day or the next day. The lack of recovery time might be an issue.

          Observationally I thought it interesting that basic training wasn't very difficult physically as long as you avoided injury, then it became pure hell to the injured.

          A quarter century ago we had the delayed entry program where you sign all the papers sometime in your senior year then F off until June. Our recruitment station made a lame attempt at teaching us. Well, they tried. But if they tried a little harder, boy scout-like, maybe that would help. The problem is, like I wrote, the Army liked recruiting jocks, so there is no time in the entire week that someone isn't at school, practice, or a meet. Maybe if you made joining "a sport" a mandatory recruitment requirement.... Then I'd probably not have joined, LOL but on average it would probably help toughen them up.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:21PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:21PM (#110356)

    Taking recruits for a new version of BBC? Basement Boot Camp?

    Trying to clear the basements rather then the stockades?

    The Filthy Thirteen, [military.com] sometimes referred to as the Baker's Dirty Dozen, were in the stockades for lesser charges then portrayed by Hollywood in the movie. [wikipedia.org] The Filthy Thirteen [wikipedia.org] was an interesting bunch assigned demolition jobs behind enemy lines. The Army likely wants a cyber warfare version. Seen any unwashed nerds in Mohawks lately?

    Twinkies and pizza are examples of baked goods frequently brought to basements.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:21PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:21PM (#110357)

    US Army: RU teh l337?

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Gravis on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:22PM

    by Gravis (4596) on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:22PM (#110358)

    if you let the food industry make nothing but fattening foods that are addictive, you are going to end up with a fat population.

    hmm... perhaps if we had some sort of food agency, we could restrict how far they modify (add sugar) foods. oh and if they had the ability to regulate drugs that are given to our cattle that would be good too.

    try buying bread that hasn't had sugar added to it. now try to find bread that also isn't priced outrageously. now try to find bread that is also sold in the US. what's that? doesnt exist? hmm...

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:44PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:44PM (#110366) Journal

      hmm... perhaps if we had some sort of food agency, we could restrict how far they modify (add sugar) foods. oh and if they had the ability to regulate drugs that are given to our cattle that would be good too.

      Or we could use that food agency to make the problem worse. There's all sorts of options here.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday October 27 2014, @03:46PM

        by VLM (445) on Monday October 27 2014, @03:46PM (#110557)

        I know! We could staff that agency in a revolving door policy where they regulate the same industry they recently worked in as execs and soon will work again as execs. Couldn't possibly be any conflict of interest. Look how well its worked for the banks and the FCC!

    • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Monday October 27 2014, @12:30AM

      by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 27 2014, @12:30AM (#110385) Homepage Journal

      National Geographic recently had an article on hunger in America, which tied in directly with obesity issues. People with limited income who are "food insecure" often are overweight, for the issues you describe.

      If you want to get fingerprinting, one of the easiest places to look is the US government (as always). Farm subsidies typically go to cereals (typically corn), which then also get turned into cheap meat and high fructose corn syrup. Foods based on these ingredients often are some of the cheapest and worst for you.

      There are many other factors as well, such as how easy and affordable fast food is. Particularly when working multiple weird-hour part time jobs, and a family needs to be fed (the recruits from this army article).

    • (Score: 1) by aos on Monday October 27 2014, @12:56PM

      by aos (758) on Monday October 27 2014, @12:56PM (#110486)

      I found commercial bread tastes like sludge unless you get it fresh from a bakery; I am surprised it remains popular as food item. Maybe that is because of the sugar making it palatable ;).

      As someone who makes all of his own bread, sugar in some form is needed to feed the yeast in order to get bread to rise. Personally I use blackstrap molasses with whole grains, slightly modifying the recipes from Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Breads Every Day" (recommended if you want to get into it; making bread is quite easy!). If there is truly no sugar whatsoever, I presume it is risen with baking powder, which would have a very different flavour.

      • (Score: 2) by Kromagv0 on Monday October 27 2014, @01:48PM

        by Kromagv0 (1825) on Monday October 27 2014, @01:48PM (#110503) Homepage

        You might want to try out some Irish Soda bread. The recipe I use has flour, buttermilk, salt, and baking soda (or it is baking powder I always forget). Simple and hearty and goes great with a nice stew.

        --
        T-Shirts and bumper stickers [zazzle.com] to offend someone
  • (Score: 1) by cngn on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:26PM

    by cngn (1609) on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:26PM (#110360)

    And here I was, an Indian (with mixed Danish - Indian descent) living in Australia, with quite a big beer belly, hoping to get into the US Marine Corp.

    Ahh what the heck I'll stick with beer

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by cafebabe on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:39PM

    by cafebabe (894) on Sunday October 26 2014, @10:39PM (#110363) Journal

    I'm vaguely disappointed that some of Tom Lehrer's jokes [iankitching.me.uk] don't apply nowadays:-

    It Makes A Fellow Proud To Be A Soldier

    I have only comparatively recently emerged from the United States Army, so that I am now, of course, in the radioactive reserve. And, the usual jokes about the Army aside, one of the many fine things one has to admit is the way that the Army has carried the American democratic ideal to its logical conclusion, in the sense that not only do they prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, creed, and color, but also on the grounds of ability.

    Be that as it may, some of you may recall the publicity a few years ago attendant upon the Army's search for an official Army song to be the counterpart of the Navy's Anchors Aweigh and the Air Force's Up In The Air, Junior Birdman song. I was in basic training at the time, and I recall our platoon sergeant, who was an unfrocked Marine... (Actually, the change of service had come as quite a blow to him because it meant that he had to memorize a new serial number which took up most of his time.)

    At any rate, I recall this sergeant's informing me and my roommates of this rather deplorable fact that the Army didn't have any official... excuse me, didn't have no official song and suggested that we work on this in our copious free time. Well, I submitted the following song, which is called It Makes A Fellow Proud To Be A Soldier which, I think, demonstrates the proper spirit, you'll agree. However, the fact that it did not win the contest I can ascribe only to blatant favoritism on part of the judges:-

    The heart of every man in our platoon must swell with pride,
    For the nation's youth, the cream of which is marching at his side.
    For the fascinating rules and regulations that we share,
    And the quaint and curious costumes that we're called upon to wear.

    Now Al joined up to do his part defending you and me.
    He wants to fight and bleed and kill and die for liberty.
    With the hell of war he's come to grips,
    Policing up the filter tips,
    It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier!

    When Pete was only in the seventh grade, he stabbed a cop.
    He's real RA material, and he was glad to swap
    His switchblade and his old zip gun
    For a bayonet and a new M-1.
    It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier!

    After Johnny got through basic training, he
    Was a soldier through and through when he was done.
    Its effects were so well rooted,
    That the next day he saluted
    A Good Humor man, an usher, and a nun.

    Now, Fred's an intellectual, brings a book to every meal.
    He likes the deep philosophers, like Norman Vincent Peale.
    He thinks the army's just the thing,
    Because he finds it broadening.
    It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier!

    Now, Ed flunked out of second grade, and never finished school.
    He doesn't know a shelter half from an entrenching tool.
    But, he's going to be a big success,
    He heads his class at OCS.
    It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier!

    Our old mess sergeant's taste buds had been shot off in the war.
    But his savory collations add to our esprit de corps.
    To think of all the marvelous ways
    They're using plastics nowadays.
    It makes a fellow proud to be a soldier!

    Our lieutenant is the up-and-coming type,
    Played with soldiers as a boy, you just can bet.
    It is written in the stars
    He will get his captain's bars,
    But he hasn't got enough box tops yet.

    Our captain has a handicap to cope with, sad to tell.
    He's from Georgia, and he doesn't speak the language very well.
    He used to be, so rumor has,
    The Dean of Men... at Alcatraz.
    It makes a fellow proud to be,
    What as a kid I vowed to be,
    What luck to be allowed to be a soldier.

    (At ease!)

    --
    1702845791×2
  • (Score: 2) by wonkey_monkey on Sunday October 26 2014, @11:04PM

    by wonkey_monkey (279) on Sunday October 26 2014, @11:04PM (#110373) Homepage

    US Army says Only 30% of Americans Qualified to Join

    That's not news. "Only 30% qualify!" - well, it had to be a number, and I didn't have much reason to expect that it wouldn't be around 30% (or 20%, or 60%...)

    The news here is that they're thinking of relaxing qualification requirements because the things the modern US Army thinks it requires are changing - and tubby guys with beards are the future!

    --
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    • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Monday October 27 2014, @12:09AM

      by cafebabe (894) on Monday October 27 2014, @12:09AM (#110383) Journal

      If you want an example of a techie who didn't meet military physical requirements, Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper was 5'6" and 105 pounds. By my calculations, that's a BMI of 17.

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      1702845791×2
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @12:32AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @12:32AM (#110386)

      The news here is that they're thinking of relaxing qualification requirements because the things the modern US Army thinks it requires are changing - and tubby guys with beards are the future!

      Ah, I see. Mental note to self: pick up a box of twinkies at the store on the way home tonight. I am a patriot after all.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @02:29AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @02:29AM (#110402)

      That's not news. "Only 30% qualify!" - well, it had to be a number, and I didn't have much reason to expect that it wouldn't be around 30% (or 20%, or 60%...)

      Well that and less than 0.5% of the US population serves in the military so 30% is still tons of margin.

      • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Monday October 27 2014, @05:33PM

        by cafebabe (894) on Monday October 27 2014, @05:33PM (#110600) Journal

        My initial thought was that supply exceeds demand, so what's the problem? The problem is that 70% of your recruitment leads go nowhere. This is costly. Furthermore, it only has to dip slightly to become increasingly costly. In the remaining 30%, the military is competing for people who could become plumbers, carpenters, bricklayers, professional sportspeople or take any lucrative job which doesn't require physical ability.

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        1702845791×2
    • (Score: 2) by JeanCroix on Monday October 27 2014, @03:07PM

      by JeanCroix (573) on Monday October 27 2014, @03:07PM (#110546)
      Seriously. The military just needs to check its thin privilege and stop body shaming.
  • (Score: 2) by mendax on Monday October 27 2014, @01:32AM

    by mendax (2840) on Monday October 27 2014, @01:32AM (#110394)

    It's ironic in a way because in the past in some places people were given a choice: go to jail or join the army or the navy. The discipline of the military can help a young man straighten his life out. The army helped straighten out my brother.... more or less. It got him off the drugs, at least while in the army, and made him want to finish high school. After he got out he was a different person, although he did manage to get a drug arrest but the charge was dropped. He ended up getting a university degree in history which qualifies him to do nearly nothing except work at McDonalds or, as in what he does now, drive a truck. But that job does keep him to stay away from drugs. I think his kids and his responsibilities toward them also help in that area as well.

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @02:36AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @02:36AM (#110404)

      So maybe he just grew up coincident to being in the military. It isn't like people are frozen and the single variable that changes is enlisting. Young men have been ageing into more responsible lives all on their own for millions of years.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @02:24AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @02:24AM (#110401)

    do much any more these days except enforcing the pens of the banking class?

    It seems like we hardly protect ourselves, rather the whole point of military might seems to be one's ability to force his will upon others. Just like a gang.

    I guess my fear is that China will learn how this game is played, then one day play it. In their hand are all the factories; in USA's hand will be the layoff slips for our engineers and skilled tradespeople, bundles of bank notes, ownership deeds, debt instruments, and pens.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @09:10AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @09:10AM (#110455)

      "We didn't have to worry too much about it because supply was adequate to demand. It just doesn't look like that is going to be the case going forward."

      Translation: Re-instate the draft.

      Now, again, try to re-educate the youth. "You are young. You have strength. We want it. We will take it from you. By force, if necessary. Obey."

      While at the same time trying to convince everyone " I have a song. You want it. You copied it or shared with a friend. You took it from us. You broke the law!"

      Thus saith the man of the suit, tie, and handshake.

      I remember well the years I was old enough for killing, but not old enough for voting.

      If this "free enterprise" thing is all its cracked up to be, and not just an economic extortion tool for the one percenters to use to enslave the rest of us, we, too, must be free to set the price of our services just as any business is free to price their services to what the market will pay..

      As long as the one-percenters can buy law to exact someone else's property or life, they will have a really hard time convincing me that my doing the same towards them is somehow wrong.

  • (Score: 2) by ilPapa on Monday October 27 2014, @03:01AM

    by ilPapa (2366) on Monday October 27 2014, @03:01AM (#110407) Journal

    Over the past few weeks, I've gotten an education in the mental state of draft-age males by following the #gamergate story.

    I think the 30% number is probably kind of high. We're talking serious section 8 here. Mentally unfit for service.

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    You are still welcome on my lawn.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @04:07AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @04:07AM (#110422)

      Yeah but then you look at the career progression options. I.e. When the guy who owns the entire military can be an actor who played a cowboy on TV, how good do new recruits really need to be?

      • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Monday October 27 2014, @04:57AM

        by aristarchus (2645) on Monday October 27 2014, @04:57AM (#110432) Journal

        They can still qualify to sign up with whatever Blackwater is called these days! (Animal House!!! "Fat, Drunk, and Stupid is no way to go through life" {Dean Wormer} "Unless you're a mercenary!" {Eric Prince [of Thieves]})

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    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @11:01PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @11:01PM (#110688)

      I'm not sure the connection to gamergate you're trying to draw. It's a bunch of women and men, gamers, who got tired of the journalists covering their hobby being hateful people who despise their fans. [gamasutra.com]

      And they've organized a truly fearsome response to those years of abuse which is probably going to end up bankrupting Gawker. [inquisitr.com]

  • (Score: 2) by PizzaRollPlinkett on Monday October 27 2014, @11:04AM

    by PizzaRollPlinkett (4512) on Monday October 27 2014, @11:04AM (#110466)

    From what I remember, 30% is about normal in terms of the historical percent. This isn't really news. I'd say the military wants about 10% of the eligible population to fight, and more to do support and logistics. When you get beyond that, you start culling from the bottom, as Germany had to do in both world wars.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @02:54PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 27 2014, @02:54PM (#110538)

    It would help if the militaries would concentrate on their own countries' defense instead of working for companies sealing deals, scaring the competition away, etc.
    It would also help if the U,S military would be recalled home from all over the world.
    When was the last time the U.S was attacked? *1

    *1. Pearl Harbour doesn't count. If you think it does, then read some history and see for yourself that the Americans wanted and tried very hard to get into the Second WW.

  • (Score: 2) by everdred on Monday October 27 2014, @09:48PM

    by everdred (110) Subscriber Badge on Monday October 27 2014, @09:48PM (#110671) Homepage Journal

    ...the Marines' "The few, the proud" slogan.

    Or perhaps more ironically, the Army's own "An army of one."