Posted on Aug 23, 2018
SSG Product Manager
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I've been curious about this ever since I met a solider on deployment who was 18 and had been held back in Kuwait until his birthday. Meanwhile the rest of 1st CAV had been downrange for a few months until he could join them. I'm assuming it's legal reason but I was wondering what that is. Why let them join if they can't deploy?
Posted in these groups: Imgres Deployment
Edited >1 y ago
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CSM Richard StCyr
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Has to do with the UN and child warriors. One of the many charters we signed on to and is supposed to keep kids out of the uniformed services like you used to run into in central America in the 70's and 80's and the pictures you see in Africa circa the same time frame of the Angolan and Rhodesian rebels.
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CSM Richard StCyr
CSM Richard StCyr
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SSG (Join to see) - In the case of invasion theoretically we would still have to abide by the charter. With the asymmetric warfare we see now the front would be and was even in Iraq hard to define.
Also consider with the 2nd amendment; Like Yamashita said in WWII to para phrase "an attack on the American mainland would be futile as there would be a gun behind every blade of grass"
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CSM Richard StCyr
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvin_Graham
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Bullock

We weren’t as strict on paperwork back then. Particularly in the case of PFC Bullock, who was killed after the creation of the UN.
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CSM Richard StCyr
CSM Richard StCyr
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SGT (Join to see) - Roger, there are instances of this in every war with young patriots. But remember each and every one of these great folks fibbed about their age in order to serve. Many caught a great deal of grief over it.
Also the UN charter or convention on children didn't exist for the folks in WWII, only the individual national laws set the age for conscription or voluntary service.
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CSM Richard StCyr - understood, just throwing out some fun facts. Graham, despite his courageous efforts in combat...at the age of...12...got all sorts of jerked around.
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SPC David Stephenson
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Edited >1 y ago
Here's something I found - the legal reason:

Convention on the rights of the child on the involvement of children in armed conflict - child soldier protocol. The protocol states parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that members of their armed forces who have not attained the age of 18 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.

However I think there is a part in the convention that talks about self defense.

The legal seems to be based on a moral standard that kids shouldn't be involved in the use of force.

https://www.marines.mil/News/Messages/Messages-Display/Article/894107/17-year-old-marines-in-combat/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optional_Protocol_on_the_Involvement_of_Children_in_Armed_Conflict
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SSG Product Manager
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"ALL FEASIBLE MEASURES" ARE DEFINED AS THOSE MEASURES WHICH
ARE PRACTICABLE OR PRACTICALLY POSSIBLE, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT ALL
THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES KNOWN AND AVAILABLE TO THE
AFFECTED COMMANDER AT THE TIME, INCLUDING RELEVANT HUMANITARIAN
AND MILITARY CONSIDERATIONS.

Interesting. So more of a policy than strict law. Though I'd hate to be that CO who did not figure out a "feasible measure" to avoid it from happening.
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SPC David Stephenson
SPC David Stephenson
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Once combatants get behind the wire I'm guessing most policies aren't top of mind but agree hate to be that guy making that call.
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LTC Jason Mackay
LTC Jason Mackay
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SSG (Join to see) - SPC David Stephenson here is what the ICRC is pushing out, they reference the 1977 Geneva Protocols.

"The 1977 Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions were the first international treaties to try and tackle these situations. They prohibit the recruitment and participation in hostilities of children under the age of 15. In international armed conflicts, the first Additional Protocol also requires military recruitment of 15 to 18 year olds to prioritize the oldest."

I actually remember talking about this in a Command and Staff Meeting when the US started observing this relative to 17 year old soldiers. We assumed away most of the problem, as most soldiers would be 18 by the time they got to us and be deployable. There were a handful of MOS's that were short, I remember Combat Engineer and Cooks were a possible source of 17year olds from a different command and staff (issue was high school girls in the barracks).

My recollection was we were taking another nation to task on child soldiers and we had to tighten up what we were doing. For the life of me can't remember when.
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SSG(P) Drill Sergeant
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So everyone here has said the correct answer on it being a Legal issue of a minor. So in 2001 I graduated high school in june, enlisted into the Dep program in July and shipped off to PI in August. I didn't turn 18 until 2 days before I graduated from that wonderful Island.
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