Posted on Oct 6, 2019
SGT Tim. Wilson
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If we can send them to a combat zone then why shouldn't they be able to? Also, do bases still allow service members under 21 to buy cigarettes? I know most states are moving to that age requirement.
If that is the case, basically saying your not old enough to decide to do something until your 21, then should we be allowing them to even join before 21? Allow them to live or go to school for a couple years before potentially sending them off to war!
Just wondering what thoughts are on this.
Thanks!
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Responses: 27
SP6 Guy Slater
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Way back when-in 1971, effective Jan 1 1972, the Federal Law was changed giving all 18 year olds their majority. They were now adults, able to own, able to sign contracts, etc. AND able to drink booze. About three years later, the ability to drink was raised to 21, because some 18 year olds are still in High School, and some of them were supplying booze to their underage friends.

That's the background.

What I think is the same as I thought as an 18 year old in Vietnam: If I'm old enough to die for this Country, I also am old enough to Vote for who leads this Country. Carrying that thought to this discussion, If an 18 year old is old enough to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan, or to any other war zone, they are adults and should be afforded adult privilege, be that the consumption of alcohol or tobacco.
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MAJ Michael Roe
MAJ Michael Roe
1 y
Old enough to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan, but never old enough to drink there.
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SFC Patient Service Tech
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I used to be one of the thinkers that "If you're old enough to die for, then you can drink for, your country." That was in my younger days. Having served for 20+ years, from Texas to Honduras, I don't think that way any more. I have seen first hand what happens when young troops get their hands on alcohol both on and off post. It is never pretty. For what ever reason, there is a switch in their head that gets flipped to insane when they are allowed alcohol access. So no, I do not feel Soldiers under the age of 21 should be allowed to drink alcohol. But, then the other side to that coin is that I've seen plenty of Soldiers ABOVE the age of 21 that should never be allowed to drink alcohol ever again.
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SPC John Tacetta
SPC John Tacetta
1 mo
You just got older Thomas. Happens to the best of us. ;)

I definitely agree their are some that should never drink, regardless of their age.
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CPT Lawrence Cable
CPT Lawrence Cable
1 mo
Let me make a comment on socialization and alcohol. I grew up in a rural area, predominately protestant, but outside of church and school functions, not a lot of other stuff to do (fish and hunt), so most high schooler drove fast cars, drank and smoked pot for recreation. Since there was no socialization in how to drink, they drank like their buddies did, to get hammered. Those are the same kids that join the Army. I thought that was just the way teens acted, until I hit Germany. As many of you here know, during the old Reforger's, Brigade TOC's were often set up in a Sportzplas (SP?), which is like a soccer version of a Little League complex here. The Germans didn't shut down when we were there, so if you didn't have duty, you could watch one of the games. I was watching one of the games, the teams would have been High School age, and afterwards one of the coaches brought out a crate that had a mix of beer and those weird Sobee kind of drinks that are popular in Germany. My first thought was that would have made my HS team a lot more interesting, but watching the kids, the great majority of them took soft drinks, a few grabbed a beer. One of the section sergeants had been watching the game too, so I asked if that would have been the response on his high school team, to which he said no, there would have been a riot getting to the beer. But he pointed out that these kids could go home, go to the Fridge, and drink a beer in front of mom and pop, or for that matter, stop at the store and buy a six pack. I seldom saw German teens out drunk and even at things like an Octoberfest, the rowdy drunks tend to be foreigner. So the moral to that story is that teens that are brought up to be responsible drinkers tend to remain responsible drinkers, those that learn from their teenage buddies may or may not.

I am aware that there are cultures that drinking to get hammered is socially acceptable, the Brits, Russians and the Japanese, as bad examples. But those that have a more social use of alcohol, the Germans, French, etc, seem to have a lot less problems with teenage drinking than we do.

The other comment I will make is that in the US, we tend to treat teenagers like they are 12 years old, then miraculously expect them to be responsible adults at 18.
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SSG Senior Desk Sergeant
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Edited 1 y ago
Def not! We have enough alcohol related incidents as it is, giving them that freedom to do it before 21 will double the problems we already have. I get that yes they volunteer to go to the Army and put their lives on the line, but soldiers will be soldiers and too many joes under 21 are irresponsible.

Exhibit A: the lift on the curfew in Korea, it took two and a half weeks for a soldier to screw up.

I'm in Italy and soldiers can drink under 21, and guess how many 173rd guys get DUIs or get involved in an alcohol related incident? I've lost count....and don't get me started on 3BCT out of Bliss lol
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Cpl Stephen hawk Jr
Cpl Stephen hawk Jr
1 y
When I was stationed in okinawa there were many restrictions on E3 and below that higher ranks (regardless of age) didn't have to abide by. Most of these restrictions were implemented because an E6 and above had done something stupid while drunk. E6 gets a DUI? E4 and under can't drive a pov. E7 caught with a minor? E3 and below get a curfew. On board the Pelileu in August of 2001 we had several grunts under 18. 6 months later they'd be fighting in the deserts of Pakistan but they couldn't buy a pack of smokes or a can of Copenhagen in the ships store. As and E3 aged 26 i could only but or possess a six pack in the barracks per day. But the E4 two doors down could have a case the day he turned 21. He hit E4 2 weeks after graduating his C school while my MOS was closed for 4 years. I had 3 years time in service and time in grade on him on top of 7 years life experience but he was an E4 so obviously he must be more responsible with his alcohol even before he can legally purchase it. Don't give me that crap about alcohol related incidents. Most of those happen out in town where young men and women are sneaking drinks. If the E clubs still served to all ages then many of those incidents would never have happened or could be handled with NJP rather than a page 11 entry since they had to be picked up from the local PD
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MAJ Byron O.
MAJ Byron O.
1 y
I would agree with you if I could argue 21yo olds are any better than 18yo olds, but that is a tough argument to make. My medic is 22, and incredible soldier at work, and off duty, well he makes decisions like a 22 yo. I see you are an MP, you get to see as many or more stupid acts than I do in the ER. Insurance companies will agree with me males probably dont start to mature till at least 25 but if we raised everything to that, who would serve? We have to trust kids at some point with adult decisions and I really do not think 21 is any better than 18.
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LTC Battalion Commander
LTC (Join to see)
1 mo
I don't care if it is 18 or 22, but we should be consistent. If you are old enough to be responsible with a grenade, you are old enough to have a drink. If you are responsible enough to yield the power of a vote (arguably the most powerful tool anyone has) you can handle a beer. Alcohol, being charged as an adult, being drafted, voting, etc. all require responsibility. If we are going to assign an age to it, it should be a consistent age.
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SSG Dr Pedro Deliz
SSG Dr Pedro Deliz
1 mo
As a kid (10 y/o), my grandpa used to give me "cured Pitorro" which is an illegal rum (very strong) in Puerto Rico. Cured means that they put fruit, such as grapes and pieces of apples, prunes, and other small fruit, to give it a fruity taste. I love fruit so much that all I wanted was a tiny fruit, full of pitorro. It tasted good, left me a little dizzy but I have never been a drinker. I may drink 1 beer, maybe 2, or perhaps wine and that would be it. I can proudly say that I have never been drunk or abused alcoholic drinks. Have had access to liquor since the age of 10 and never had any issues because I have always behaved and never abused the privilege. Two is tops for me.
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