Military Requirements Keep out Majority of America's Youth - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Military Requirements Keep out Majority of America's Youth

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(KCEN) – According to the Wall Street Journal the Pentagon estimates 71% of America’s youth would not be eligible for the military. So, what’s the reason? The report cites many of the 17 to 24 year-olds do not qualify because they are overweight, don’t have a high school diploma, are ADHD medicated, and other issues.

That number doesn’t even include people being turned away for new tattoo restrictions, like 19-year-old Samantha Hall.

“I was ready to provide for my family and serve my country,” she said. “They told me I was 15 pounds overweight, and the tattoos on my hands and wrist disqualified me.”

The weight – she was fine with. “I would do whatever I had to do to get in shape. I was ready. I was ready to be Army strong,” Samantha said.  The tattoos however, she couldn’t fix. She looked into laser removal. It was out of her price range and would several sessions.

“On a scale from one to ten, I was probably a 15… It really upset me,” she said. “I’m proud of my tattoos.”

One of the tattoos is a small band-aid size tattoo that says daddy that she got in 2007 when her father passed away from cancer. The other two include a small star and the Scorpio sign – both smaller than the size of a quarter on her hands.

“The recruiter that was going to enlist me that told me my tattoos disqualified me was covered in them,” she said.

She’s not alone. More than two-thirds of her age group would also be disqualified because of the strict requirements.

“Every year, and sometimes multiple times in a year, enlistment criteria changes. Sometimes the criteria becomes more restrictive, and sometimes less restrictive,” Major August Murray said.

Murray is the executive officer of recruiting and retention for the Texas National Guard. While some of their criteria differs, he says for the most part their requirements fall in line with the Army’s. And they’re there for a reason.

“Not everyone qualifies for the military. It requires stringent qualifications because you want to make sure those serving in uniform are qualified to do so,” Murray said.

He also says the more restrictive criteria has not hurt their recruiting numbers. “Year after year, even in the past decade, we’ve always found patriotic qualified people to join our ranks,” he said.

Many KCEN Facebook followers agreed saying “The Military SHOULD have high standards” or “Tattoos and piercings fall under professionalism. It doesn’t mean you have questionable character, it means you don’t have the right appearance they are going for”. Others said they too were disqualified for weight, but it’s only motivating them more to lose it.

As for Samantha, she just wishes the tattoo requirements would not be so strict.

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