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ALL-VOLUNTEER AMERICAN MILITARY – EXCEEDING THE STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE



Ginny Welcomes Home Sgt. Anthony Candelario of Dade City

 

Washington, D.C., Nov 3 -

By now, many Americans are familiar with Senator John Kerry’s remarks about the education level of our soldiers.  His implication was that the men and women serving in our military are of “inferior” scholastic backgrounds and had no options available to them other than military service.  Perhaps he did not mean it, but his comments insulted many military members and their families.  Given this controversy, I wanted to share with you some of the rigorous requirements needed to join our all-volunteer armed forces.

According to the Department of Defense (DOD), approximately two-thirds of recruits performed in the top half of the country in math and verbal aptitude tests.  Additionally, approximately 99 percent of our soldiers possess a high school diploma or its equivalent.  The fact that nearly 100 percent of newly enlisted soldiers have completed a high school education is striking when you consider that only 80 percent of Americans in the 18-24 year-old age range have achieved this same status.  

Americans looking to join the United States military today face the most stringent entrance requirements in history.  The physical attributes demanded of potential recruits are rigorous to say the least.  Based on physical and medical characteristics alone, DOD estimates that nearly half of our youth population is not qualified to join the military.  Disqualifying medical conditions range from asthma to obesity.   

Additionally, upstanding moral character is paramount – a wide variety of criminal offenses preclude potential recruits from military service.  The military is an organization that relies on teamwork, trust, and discipline.  Individuals that might disrupt a unit’s chemistry or pose a security risk to their fellow soldiers will be ineligible.  Family members waiting at home for news of their loved ones serving overseas know that our soldiers are model citizens.  All Americans should look to the shining example our military set. 

The bottom line is that the American military is the finest in the world.  Our all-volunteer army trains and develops some of the best and brightest men and women our nation has to offer.  The standards to enter the military are set high; as are the expectations of conduct and commitment once these brave soldiers begin their service.

While the men and women in our military come from all walks of life, they share a common bond forged through their ability to meet some of the most strenuous admission requirements, and further, through their completion of the world’s most difficult training.  Americans should be proud of all of the soldiers serving in our military.  With Veterans’ Day drawing near, I ask that we all take a moment to recognize these brave servicemen and women.

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© 2005 Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite. All Rights Reserved.