Debate and Discussion

Old enough to wear a military uniform, old enough to drink?
CharleyHorse at 4:53PM, Jan. 10, 2008
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Or to put it the way we did in my youth; old enough to be drafted to fight and die for your country, old enough to drink?

This topic shouldn't matter to me at my age, but I'm wondering how the younger generation feels about the issue. Sure, in the United States there is no military draft , but doesn't it seem strange that today you can volunteer for the service at eighteen but officially cannot consume alcoholic drinks until you turn twenty-one?

Pull the trigger or push the button that is going to result in the deliberate extermination of another human being's life and yet be denied the possible balm of alcohol because you are too young? Seems weird to me.

So what do you think?

Oh, yes, I was twenty-one when I entered the service and I damn well did buy rounds for my underage peers. I felt that if they were old enough to volunteer and tough enough to make it through basic training then they were old enough to drink.

Although I am fully aware that alcohol consumption is frequently a curse and I don't even drink nowadays, I still feel the same way about this issue.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
Priest_Revan at 12:15AM, Jan. 11, 2008
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Personally, the whole “drinking age” thing never made much sense to me… nor did many age based warnings or laws (sex, smoking, etc.)

If you're in the military, then do what you wish as long as you don't go on some type of killing spree. If you're 18 and more mature than a 21 year old, then go for it…

but I'm sort of the wrong person to ask this. I think all people who drink are idiots.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:49PM
CharleyHorse at 5:07AM, Jan. 11, 2008
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As I said I, myself, don't drink anymore. I think the habit causes more troubles than it . . . well, I don't know what problems it may solve. I've never found any. It is however, a part of the maturing process for most people - drinking and coping with one's personal tolerance for the chemical.

As far as the military is concerned they would just as soon see the habit vanish from the services, because of the inevitable destruction of property charges, disorderly conduct charges, being late to formation or classes charges and so on.

But again we are talking about rights and equality and fair treatment as much as anything here – and this was particularly an issue when we used to draft young men for the services and then send them off to war. How can you claim that a person is old enough to go through the rigorous training, have their entire life turned upside down and then simultaneously assert that the soldier, sailor, marine is too young and immature to have a drink?

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
ozoneocean at 7:28AM, Jan. 11, 2008
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In Australia the military age is 18, I think… The drinking age is also 18. Same for the voting age. Sexual consent is 16, unless you're in Tasmania or South Australia, then it's 17. The age for male homosexual consent is the same as straight, unless you're in Queensland, then it's 18.

-I wouldn't have known but there's a similar topic in General Discussion and I just had to look it up :)

As for the rights and wrongs… They're mostly a product of social construction. What the mind and body can cope with does have a bearing on age, but mostly it depends on the individual; their development and maturity.

But you can't run a country with laws targeted towards individuals… I don't think so anyway. So you may as well do for what your particular society says is right and have the majority decide, so the drinking, voting, consent, fighting, working, and criminal responsibility ages as whatever they say it is, and I think that's fine enough. You can always campaign for things to change again…
-The drinking ages have changed a lot in the US over the years.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
Hawk at 8:52AM, Jan. 11, 2008
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I'm not a drinker, so I don't have much sympathy for teens impatiently waiting to be able to drink. But more on the subject, I think it's possible that the level of maturity at which you can handle alcohol, and the level of maturity required to defend your country may be two different levels. I can't say it from experience, though. So take my opinion with a grain of salt.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
ozoneocean at 9:56AM, Jan. 11, 2008
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Hawk
So take my opinion with a grain of salt.
Ah… A tequila fan, I see. ;)
lol!

That “defend your country” line is interesting. For one thing it's usually a euphemism for "attack whatever other countries you're told to". When it does come down to true defence of one's own nation though, recruitment ages go way down and way up so that people who would normally be too young or two old are now able to serve. I don't think maturity ever comes into it with the military, they just want people who're able to do the job and they trust the training to weed out the people who can't cope.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
Priceman at 12:27PM, Jan. 11, 2008
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Dude, I signed up for the military at age 19. One of the answers I was got when i seriously thought about this was:

“Everything has rules associated to it. You knew the rules for smoking, drinking, and service. If one or two of those rules overlap and prevent one or the other, then it's your choice to decide which is more important. Either sign up early and don't drink, or wait a few years and do. You obviously chose the former, so live with it. You can destory your liver later.”

I couldn't help but kick myself for my late logic afterwards.

However, if i joined by a draft, then there'd be no excuse and I would've drank early either way. The point is, there's no winning this argument. Even on assignments where the drinking age is lower, the military follows the U.S. laws and holds everyone accountable.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:47PM
spacehamster at 1:42PM, Jan. 11, 2008
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I don't know, but being taught how to kill and being allowed to drink alcoholic beverages kinda isn't really in the same ballpark for me.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:50PM
CharleyHorse at 1:47PM, Jan. 11, 2008
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A far as youthful drinking goes, everyone makes mistakes in the beginning, and so one can only hope that they are around responsible friends and/or adults - or that they are simply lucky. That aside, I saw experienced adults in the service having no business even getting within sniffing distance of alcohol. On the other hand I met responsible seventeen and eighteen year olds capable of handling their drink. Regardless, it's probably never a good thing to abuse one's body in general and kidneys and liver in particular, but then military duty itself - in peace or war time - is generally considered hazardous to one's health anyway.

We all know that anyone wanting to take a nip now and again, or get stinking sloshed to the gills for that matter, can do so with a bit of conniving. I know I did during my middle teens. What the United States is doing - at least where it's military signals are concerned - is telling youths required to do man-sized jobs but then simultaneously telling them that they are too young to handle the DANGERS of imbibing alcohol. I know that when I was in service more than thirty years ago it stuck in the craw of the younger service members to be treated in a half-and-half manner.

I don't expect to settle any sort of question with this, I just wanted to toss it out with the military spin attached to see what would happen.

By the way, it's pretty much impossible to lower the join up age below eighteen any more as there are specific laws against doing so, but during the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars venture the legal age for the back-door draft rose dramatically from thirty-eight to around forty-five or forty-nine or so. That was impressive. I don't know about other middle-aged guys but I know that at forty-five I would have been very hard pressed just to survive reorientation training again much less be of any real use on active duty.

Ah well, and so it goes.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
Hawk at 2:02PM, Jan. 11, 2008
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ozoneocean
That “defend your country” line is interesting. For one thing it's usually a euphemism for "attack whatever other countries you're told to".

You're right, I was trying to use the rhetoric they feed you to get you into the army. You know, if I phrased it as “old enough to kill a man”, it does make the disparity between the drinking age and enlistment age seem a bit odd.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
CharleyHorse at 2:24PM, Jan. 11, 2008
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In my day we couldn't spell euphemism much less hope to know what it meant. I seriously doubt that today's service members have a whole lot of truck with it in private when it's just them and a card table and the midnight hour has long since snuck past. At times like that you tend to let political correctness rest and lay it on the line between one another.

I was a nuclear missile technician in those days and knew that I was being trained to maintain fu–ing weapons of mass destruction and then help launch nuclear Armageddon on Soviet heads. I once calculated that a full payload of one submarine's missiles would pretty much move the entire east coast of the United States of America back by one state's width along most of the coastlines length. That gave me a pretty fair idea of what our payload would do to the Soviets if we ever launched. That was just one boomer submarine and we were not alone out there. At any one time there were enough U.S. subs out there to pretty much turn the Soviet territories into a permanently glowing wasteland of fused glass and us MT's KNEW that we were being trained to serve as killers - albeit by remote control. A buddy of mine used to walk around with the tee-shirt that cynically proclaimed “A MT trained Baby Killer and Proud of it!”

Not too surprisingly, perhaps, many of us tended to drink a bit more than was good for us on liberty and back at base simply because we also considered ourselves potential mass murderers of women and children. A gloomy subject, eh? War and war preparation isn't nice.

I guess that's the other thing that got me. Here I was at age twenty-one a legal adult and considered perfectly capable of getting s–t faced on liberty in a responsible manner but my best buddy, who might actually be more mature and capable and steady than I would be considered immature at age twenty and some odd months.

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
Phantom Penguin at 4:45PM, Jan. 11, 2008
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Im in the Army, Im only 19. And Im also here to say those drinking laws have never stopped any of us from getting into a bar or buying a beer. We just show our ID and the people say “I'll do it this once” every single time and I keep doing. Now would it be nice for us to be able to skip that little bump? yes. Will it happen? No.

Because everyone knows when your 18 your good enough to fight a war, but the magicial age of 21 grants you new insight to the world, you can see far beyond what little old me sees and lord knows whenever us younger folk get drunk all we do is rape and pillage!
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:42PM
Phantom Penguin at 4:47PM, Jan. 11, 2008
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ozoneocean
That “defend your country” line is interesting. For one thing it's usually a euphemism for "attack whatever other countries you're told to".


You say tomato…..
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:42PM
CharleyHorse at 8:36AM, Jan. 12, 2008
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From my personal experience and close observation of fellow idiots - uh - I mean co-workers I think that the real separation in thought and habit patterns between males occurs around age twenty-five, again takes a significant jump at around twenty-seven, and then rests up until around age thirty-two. This is not a science, of course, and I have no statistics to throw at you.

I just don't recall much of a maturity difference in outlook or habits, though, between eighteen year olds and twenty-one year olds. In point of fact, aside from a few individuals that are the exception to this rule, maturity is a very gradual process that includes not only physical aging but depends in part on accumulated life experiences and their intensity thereof. On the other hand, few things in life are more intensity saturated than military life.

Pretty much I think it is an insult to tell a uniformed eighteen year old that he or she is too immature to drink but tell a twenty-one year old that he is unquestionably old enough to drink. Meanwhile all age groups are ordered to do the precise same duties, and these duties frequently require maturity in judgment, careful attention to detail, and loads of common sense.

It's an institutionalized double standard and it is, I believe, wrong.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
DAJB at 9:15AM, Jan. 12, 2008
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Of course the age threshholds should be different.

There's enough trouble caused by sober kids running around with guns. You want 'em drunk as well?!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
CharleyHorse at 12:28PM, Jan. 12, 2008
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DAJB, you're being tongue in cheek here I presume. As we all know in the U.S. services drinking is limited to off duty hours.

Now that was a stricture that I had no real problem with in the service, even though that meant for me an enforced dry spell for upwards of seventy days at a stretch; and back in those days I routinely drank like a fish. At sea, however, there is no booze tolerated and boomer submarines in those days routinely spent seventy days under water at a gulp. It wasn't fun going on the wagon but who in the hell wanted their health and safety to depend on the alcohol impaired judgment of others?

That was/is the U.S. military service. The British military did reserve a daily or weekly ‘rum’ ration for their enlisted personnel and. I think, their officers were allowed to drink at sea at will.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
DAJB at 5:03AM, Jan. 13, 2008
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CharleyHorse
DAJB, you're being tongue in cheek here I presume.
Moi? ;)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
Phantom Penguin at 9:05AM, Jan. 13, 2008
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There is no booze in Iraq, or there wasn't when I was there. Of course the Iraqis still have some but damned if they are going to sell it to us, it will get them in trouble…

Bastards.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:42PM
flyingwind66 at 1:12PM, Jan. 13, 2008
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interesting topic and I agree wholeheartedly that if someone is considered mature enough to kill someone, they are mature enough to knowingly consume poison XP it does seem to be a lame double standard over there…

here in Canada I think you need to be 18 to join the army but legal drinking age varies from province to province, I know that in BC the legal drinking age is 19 but in Alberta it's 18.

I think in Japan, legal age for everything is 20… drinking, legal adult, smoking blah blah… tho I think the legal age for sex and marriage is younger there… *shrugs
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:30PM
Lokidoll at 10:01PM, Jan. 25, 2008
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It does seem pretty silly to me. I don't like the idea of going into the Military in general ( just a personal preference) and I'm not all that into drinking either, but I think there's a reason why the US has SO many accidents with alcohol compared to the UK where children are allowed to start drinking basic alcoholic beverages from a young age. As for the whole drinking issue in general, I think if people LEARNED how to drink responsibly and while they were younger they wouldn't be AS likely to go get smashed with their friends as often and so “secretly”.
But to your over all question, yes. I do find it ridiculous we can go off to war at 18 and yet still not drink until we're 21.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:38PM
albone at 10:48AM, Jan. 28, 2008
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I'm okay with the thought that you're old enough to wear a military uniform but not old enough to drink. If they drilled kids with the same responsibility of protecting our nation, potentially dying, killing and sacrificing into drinking responsibly, I'd be okay with it. I would even go so far to say that military personnel regardless of age could drink (responsibly).
You are part of the rebel alliance and a traitor!
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:48AM
donkas at 11:47PM, Jan. 28, 2008
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in the australain navy, even in the warzones,

two drinks, per person, per day, per haps.

six years in the puss and at sea I only rember two days when i didnt drink. and ashore, whos gunna stop you?

Amarican sailors have my condolances, your dry ships must be hell.

canadian sailors,(by accounts) and singaporean, and japanese sailors have bar stroes on board.

raffies ground crew drink ethenol and juice,
and the pongos and mudmen drink anything.
if your underage, you mates but it for you, and its never strictly enforced most days anyway

and never inforced at all on ANZAC Day
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:13PM
Calbeck at 6:04AM, Jan. 29, 2008
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Phantom Penguin
There is no booze in Iraq, or there wasn't when I was there. Of course the Iraqis still have some but damned if they are going to sell it to us, it will get them in trouble…

Bastards.

3rd ACR, in an Abrams, 1991.

We got exactly one shipment of booze from two Saudis who drove out in a Jeep Cherokee with two crates of Jack Daniel's. It was their way of saying thanks. They also had this to say:

“You are not Muslims. We know that you are infidels (said completely inoffensively, as though he were describing the color of sand). Why do you insist on acting like Muslims?”

It's also well-known that then, and now, there is a Prohibition Culture in Saudi Arabia complete with smuggling rings, moonshine runs and speakeasys.

Our other source was the homemade still we put together, having no clue as to the value or use of yeast, or even where to get any. We ended up mixing isopropyl alcohol with fruit juice and boiling it, filtering the steam through coiled copper piping into a cup.

Oh GOD was that awful. None of us had much before giving up on it as a bad job.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:35AM
KomradeDave at 3:33PM, Jan. 30, 2008
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Underage Marines are allowed to drink at authorized command functions (if held on federal property) and, like the Navy, while at an overseas post where the drinking age is 18. It is, however, possible to join at 17 with early graduation and letter of consent from both legal gaurdians, these people are not allowed to drink under any circumstances.
Think about in legal terms, you must follow local laws. I'm able to safely handle an AT4 but will the state of California let me keep an armed AT4 in my shed? That's against the rules. Besides, a lot of the younger service member are more squared away than the 7 year Lance Corporals we have, maybe it could help keep them on the straight and narrow.
Handshakes and mustaches are the only ways to know how much you can truly trust a man.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:20PM
horseboy at 2:03PM, Jan. 31, 2008
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Holding the power of life and death in your hands matures someone a sight faster than College Algebra. A military ID should be good enough to buy booze. Outside of that, let's face it American kids today just really aren't mature enough. Now I don't mean this to be about kids and how the Hell much they need to stay off of my lawn. After all, my property is clearly posted with signs waring trespassers that they will be violated.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:50PM

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