For this Memorial Day: This is a solution to the suicides and the many domestic and family issues. There is an answer to the vast isolation from society that many veterans feel, who have joined while young.
If you need support now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
Often when a vet gets home, they feel as if their community does not understand. They can not adapt quickly enough, and by seemingly no choice of their own begin to destroy their own lives in that battle for acceptance. A struggle to fit-in and gain acceptance that an older veteran who has already lived as an adult in society does not experience.
Adaption to society is a young person's ground, the change into adulthood while in the service creates a different universe - it's another world in there.
Please read this with this solutions in mind. Thank you. - James.
By raising the minimum entrance age into our military to twenty-five years old, we could significantly reduce many problems involving the quality of the lives of military personnel and the cost of the issues associated with those lives. In our ancient world, the need to assure military populations are large existed. It no longer exists. So, we no longer need to pluck youthful freedom and the trials of the early years of adult discovery from our young people lives and put guns in their hands.
Additionally, it would be ethical and prudent to ban the entrance to anyone with a dependent/child.
The military does not have to be a social services machine for young people learning how to live with themselves and others. The military should not have to enforce responsibility among developing young adults. It's time for an army which is far less parental. An institution which values personnel without emotional baggage. Not one that instead will expending hundreds of millions in tax dollars, on reigning in grown-ups not yet quite there. We could instead spend a higher percentage of our military funds on strictly military and far less on social services.
This plucking of youth is no longer necessary while our planet's population has reached seven billion. There is no shortage of strong and healthy men and women of more mature age to volunteer in our military. There is no shortage of childless men and women to conduct battle either.
Veterans will tell convey proudly "After I joined after high school my years in the military honed me into the person I am today." I ask to counter this statement "So what did it cost the taxpayers during these developmental years, becoming the person you are today?" I would add the question, "Was it not more difficult to teach you and train you, than it would have been, say if you were twenty-five and not just eighteen?" And "Would you have had an easier time of it had you been twenty-five when you went in?" The answers should be, "Yes, my immaturity cost my government a lot." And, I guess the older guys seemed to pick-up things better and have an easier time of it, overall."
What would we get in a mature military? Mature and smarter and wiser personnel who have made-it confidently to the post developmental age of twenty-five. Consider, the male brain is still in development until the age of approximate twenty-five. We'll have new personnel very likely to have already their civilian life planned when entering service. Many personnel may have already completed college and even began their career, which they may be confident they can return to after service.
An interesting science report of a study of young brains:
Brain Development among youth/males
NPR Story; add to Young Guns in the Military:
Brain Maturity Extends Well Beyond Teen Years: Google Search Results:
It was recently pointed out to me by an older baby boomer that leadership was mostly missing in the Vietnam war, and that was a frequent complaint. In that war, it was common for a platoon to have a young officer assigned to lead them in combat. An absence of trust and confidence in these baby-faced officers was immediately sensed in the unit. This trust and with it confidence in leadership was rarely achieved with these young leaders. Not the case during WWII, where the department of war knew very well that mature enlistees be made sergeants and lieutenants non-com. The Department of War, figured-out, that they statistically better would perform as respected leaders in their units, far more so than the newly shaving wearers of bars.
We could pay college tuition and a stipend to young people to complete a four-year degree before entering service. They would contract with the military to a term of service beginning at age twenty-five. We could then at age twenty-five, re-offer the ability to fulfill their contract or pay the tuition with interest, within for example 10 years. It's a win-win for society economically and educationally, and for all other reasons, a mature military would quickly reveal. Imagine a mostly college-educated fighting force! A platoon of wisdom and massive firepower, where several members are qualified to take the lead. It would be a very lethal group of soldiers, indeed.
We would get personnel less likely to violate code or commit crimes. A significant reduction in events such as assaulting each other or fragging each other, less engaging in brutality and torture against a prisoner. Perhaps, personnel would be more likely to fully identify a family or a wedding party before pushing the fire button from 5,000 miles away in a small steel building?
Domestic abuse among military families and single young people would be significantly reduced with a mature armed service. Domestic violence in the military has risen sharply. In the seven extra years an 18-year-old has to live his or her civilian life, they will be far more practiced at all relationships. Even having likely already experienced a crisis with a friend or loved one, or several crises in relations. We learn with practice, so why make our military a relationship learning grounds? We get personnel who have life skills, because they may have been living on their own for several years of their early twenties. We get people with adapted social skills, who have learned the benefits and consequences of young adult relationships.
No arrest record should be present, as usual, for our new twenty-five-year-olds. The seven years of living as a young adult with no arrest record is an excellent measure that that recruit will likely never have trouble with the military police.
We'll get personnel less likely to go awol as they will know more of honor and commitment than our young military. At twenty-five, our military personnel will be less likely to abuse alcohol and other substances. As the legal experimentation with alcohol years will be behind the twenty-five-year-old volunteers. Pride and honor will more likely be understood, and it's merits practiced on the battlefield more so with a mature military.
The well known early twenties diagnoses of bipolar disorder and clinical depression and schizophrenia will have likely already occurred before age 25. The frequency of personnel receiving psychiatric diagnoses, of an underlying condition, through the military medical system, will be reduced.
We get personnel less likely to impregnate and become pregnant. If a young adult has not learned the benefits and responsibilities of birth control use by the age of twenty-five, they should not get into the United States military. We get personnel less likely to have dependents like a young spouse and babies, a condition that stresses the soldier. Pregnancy surprises and mistakes are the domains of young people and teenagers predominately. During service, these young families cost our government a great deal, in healthcare, housing, daycare, PX resources. No longer does society condone young families. But when they happen, we all embrace the young couples and adore their children anyway - because that's natural and very human. But the military is not their extended family, and an obligation to care for them must be forgotten as an old tradition. A pre-twenty-five-year-old who has their heart set on a military career, will likely, keep in close mind that they won't get in if they have a child.
Perhaps a rule that the military will not extend benefits and services to service person's dependents until 5-10 years in service is reached? Allowing encouragement for career followers to achieve a family as a stable family.
The military doesn't teach life skills, and that should not be their business. While our people are fighting our wars for us, they are not fully living in society, which is a factor in the known difficulties and hardships a veteran young adult encounters. Imagine having to catch-up with the culture after years of military life. Being still inexperienced and having to learn living skills, like applying to jobs, getting into a college, feeding and housing your young family in a real job competitive and low paying economy. Imagine, finding out you are ignorant of much of life's non-military facets? But there you are out in the thick of it. It must be very depressing for many. We should not be surprised that as of this writing, the pentagon's figures for veteran suicides is averaging now 22 veterans per day, and this is very disturbing. With twenty-five-year-old personnel, this misery will be significantly reduced as older young adults are more likely prepared for a sophisticated and tough society in and out of military life.
Not being prepared to be a close witness to something horrific in war makes acceptance more complicated, this is more often a summary in the description of a post-traumatic stress disorder sufferer. A military person who is experiencing the memory of an event which haunts him or her is not moving on in life. The twenty-five-year-old has had several more crucial developmental years in which to contemplate his or her acceptance of the horrors we humans are capable of. His or her choice to risk being close to these horrors is far clearer. The situation they may place themselves in, more thought-out by proxy of the years of real-life they have lived before their service. Age is not the always the predominant factor in PTSD, but young age is there consistently. The misery of PTSD occurrence would be significantly reduced with a mature military.
I see only benefits to our nations' defense from having a mature military at this time. If we had a shortage of able-bodied people in society, I could reason that we need young blood to be military personnel. But that's not the case and likely never will be again as our population is so large.
James Gray Mason
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