80% of Americans ages 17 to 24 are unfit for military service
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The United States has seen military enlistment numbers drop and there’s a big reason behind that. According to a study from the Department of Defense, 80% of Americans between the ages of 17 to 24 are unfit for military service.
Reasons people have been deemed unfit are being overweight, drug use, or physical and mental health. The U.S. Army has been trying to combat that with a 90 day program called, the Future Solders Preparatory course.
“Say they go to the course for aptitude, they’ll learn a lot of the basic knowledge stuff that you need in order to pass the ASVAB and qualify for a job in the Army,” said Michael Carroll, First Sergeant at Grand Island Detachment. “If you go for the obesity version you’ll work with Army nutritionist and solders that specialize in fitness.”
The course has been in place since August of 2022, and Carroll said the program has a 93 percent success rate. Adding, particular areas of the military has seen a 35 percent drop in enlistment. Also contributing to the enlistment drop is simply a general disinterest in joining the military.
“What I would say to those young people is you know, to come in and talk to us ask any questions that you have about the service, about what it means to serve in the Army,” said Carroll. “Just walking in the door doesn’t mean you’re going to join. You can come in here, you can get information, information is free.”
Other veterans feel changing the military narrative is pivotal to appealing military service to American youth.
“Cover the good stories,” said Michael Sarraille, CEO of Talent War Group. “Cover the stories about veterans doing amazing work, and yes cover the stories about some veterans who are struggling and let’s talk about the solutions we can put in place. But do not paint in broad strokes veterans as these broken warriors.”
Sarraille served 20 years in the military, and said we have to be cautious and conscious about the narrative in regards to the military. Adding, the United States Army is the largest supplier of college scholarships in the country.
“Hollywood does not do a good job of representing the military,” said Sarraille. “Hollywood shows an archetype of what a solder or Marine or special operator is but they got it wrong. The most lethal warriors in the world, who I had the privilege to serve along side they were kind, they were empathetic, they were respectful, they were amazing human beings.”
Sarraille said he would like to see people focus more on military success stories.
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