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Are too many applicants for military service rejected due to health or tattoos?

United States military enlistment recruiters are rejecting 71 percent of all applicants according to the U.S. Pentagon because the applicants are too obese, too unhealthy, or not bright enough to learn to be soldiers. You may wish to check out the June 28, 2014 article, "US Military Enlistment Recruiters Reject 71 Percent Of Applicants for Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force." Most of the applicants are too fat to fight, or just not fit physically and mentally says the article, "Most Americans not Fit to Join."

Are too many applicants for military service rejected due to health, arrest records, or tattoos?
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Or the military doesn't like the applicant's tattoos. A lot of applicants for military service are trying to find jobs to pay back college loans. Others fresh out of high school can't find work other than minimum-wage jobs in food service or retail if they don't have internships or don't have contacts or skills and experience to do work, even if it's washing floors or dishes. Some undocumented immigrants want to be able to use military service as a path to U.S. citizenship and are protesting.

Some applicants are taking steady doses of ritalin. Others are overweight. Some are couch potatoes. Body art, certain kinds of body piercing, and various types of tattoos is still grounds for rejection. If the body art is objectionable, the applicant may be rejected. See, "Rising number of soldiers being dismissed for failing fitness tests."

Uncle Sam really doesn't want you if you're not fit and don't present the image of the American soldier. The military service branches don't like certain types of tattoos. You can be rejected if the tattoos are on your neck, are gang-related tattoos, are offensive, or conflict with military standards on integrity, respect, and team work. Some applicants can ask for waivers for some types of tattoos. See, "Military turns down 80 percent of applicants as armed forces shrink."

Are you intelligent enough to learn military job skills?

And you have to be intelligent enough as well as weight below the maximum weight the military wants based on your height and other factors. They don't want people who aren't able to exercise and who sit all day or people on certain medicines or mental issues. See, "Racial, Ethnic and Gender Preferences in Admissions to the US Military Academy and the US Naval Academy."

Rejects may be too uneducated, flawed, just let out of juvenile detention or prison programs, and have other baggage that the military doesn't want. The military may refer to your issues as baggage. But the recruiting has to be in line with current budgets for each year.

Many applicants are not eligible to apply for military careers or service

Recruiters also may be blaming the pool of applicants. For example, when someone gets out of high school or college and can't find a job that pays enough for financial independence such as living away from one's parent's home, sometimes the first job alternative that looks like it has opportunities seems to be the military, especially if there aren't enough government jobs or internships for applicants looking for more job security than they might expect from some private industries.

Recruiters from the military struggle each year to compete with colleges and companies for the nation's best and brightest, plan for future needs and maintain diversity. You have to look over figures from the Census Bureau. What's happening is that the overall pool of people who would be in the military's prime target age has shrunk as American society ages. There were 1 million fewer 18- to 24-year olds in 2004 than in 2000, according to the Census Bureau.

Military recruiters are weeding out the least bright applicants

The pool of soldiers actually recruiting is shrinking. In fact, the pool is sized down to 13.6 million when only high school graduates and those who score in the upper half on a military service aptitude test are considered. The 30 percent who are high school dropouts are not the top choice of today's professional, all-volunteer and increasingly high-tech military force, explains the article, "Most Americans not Fit to Join." An applicant can be rejected due to medical or mental issues, obesity, criminal records, asthma, vision problems, or tattoos. Rejection also can be due to not getting high enough scores on standardized tests, such as intelligence or ability to learn military-related skills, or if someone takes certain prescription medications such as stimulants.

Most reasons why someone is rejected focus on being overweight or obese. The number of fit applicants is declining. Applicants not being able to pass a treadmill test may also not be physically fit enough to be accepted into the military. How many teenagers are working out daily to pass the military physical fitness requirements?

Another reason why applicants for military service are rejected is if they have to take Ritalin or various other stimulants for their under aroused nervous systems and brains or to treat attention deficit disorders or hyperactivity. If someone takes drugs such as Ritalin or similar medicines, they may not be eligible for military service, for example, if they've taken such drugs in the year before they apply to the military. With about 2 million children and 1 million adults a month taking these types of prescribed medicines, you can estimate how many taking these drugs which are stimulants are applying to serve in the military.

Recruiters are looking for academic performance not hampered by having to take prescription medicines for various health or mental conditions. Some are rejected for being overweight. Other applicants area rejected for their criminal backgrounds and arrest records. That adds up to another 4.4 million applicants who either are overweight or on prescription medicines for attention deficit disorder or other health issues. Some are rejected for severe allergies and asthma. For example, what happens to someone allergic to peanuts who goes into shock if served military food that contains some peanut-derived ingredient?

Other applicants have severe vision problems. You have 2.6 million rejected because of severe health issues, according to Army estimates. What you have left are about 4.3 million fully qualified potential recruits and an estimated 2.3 million more who might qualify if given waivers on some of their problems. This adds up to about 6.6 million potential recruits from all men and women in the 32 million-person age group.

On top of all these requirements is the budget. Some recruits ask for waivers due to medical problems. You have applicants with arrest problems. If the Army wants another 80,000 people one year, it's going to change another year. This year all the services are recruiting about 180,000, according to the article, "Most Americans not Fit to Join."

President Obama recently touted the Afghanistan war ending, and how many US troops will be coming home, he’d still like to keep a military unit of about 10,000 soldiers stationed there for years to come. What’s more, even if you exclude the military expenses the cost of rebuilding Afghanistan will be $15 billion in 2014 alone, and $6 to $10 billion is expected to be spent every year, says the article, "U.S. Military Enlistment Recruiters Reject 71 Percent Of Applicants." The various percentages mentioned in different news articles could affect the quality of the U.S. military for years into the future.

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