Editor’s Note: This is the first piece in a series from veteranslist.us. ...
Height and Weight
By Mr. Twisted
On the radio this morning I heard that the number one reason for the US Army turning away potential recruits is obesity. The story went on to add that, due to upcoming budget cutbacks, the Army is using its height and weight standards to ship soldiers out the door faster.
This brings up a couple questions.
Number one, why did it take a financial crisis—the likes of which our country has never seen—for the Army to finally begin following its own standards? I remember seeing numerous soldiers who, just by their appearance, were clearly in violation of at least height and weight standards, if not Physical Training standards, as well. Yet they continued to not only be soldiers, but be promoted.
I do understand that, in a time of war, we needed “cheeks in seats,” as one recently said—meaning that we needed warm bodies filling slots. But what is the cost to our force, overall? Have those extra bodies helped in the long run or simply made the Army weaker as a whole?
The second question the radio show brought up was me simply wondering—given that I’ve seen some rather hefty people in the Army, how fat is America that obesity is becoming the number one reason people are being turned away from serving? Is it that we’re getting bigger as a country, or is it the fact that, due to economic woes, many more people are attempting to enlist?
My own personal feelings (on the first question, at least) are simply that the Army has, for far too long, disregarded even the simplest of standards for several years. This can be evidenced by the fact that there is a substantial percentage of the green machine that has far more familiarity with topics like sexual harassment training and racial sensitivity than they do with Crossfit or combatives. I had soldiers who had considerably more hours logged in rape prevention class than they did running. This seems inherently wrong, yet that was the reality.
What say you, Ranger Up nation? We are curious to know how the community feels about this and, though I would like to see more Ninja Warrior obstacle courses in every day Army life, I do realize that there are other, valid opinions on the state of our troops. Is the idea to start axing people out of service for height, weight, and fitness failures a good idea? Will it make the Army stronger in the long run or will it weaken it due to a substantial decrease in numbers?
I could ramble on here about the economics aspect of this argument or the concept of a smaller, faster force, etc. However, The Rhino Den would very much like to hear your input on this topic. Or, if you would rather just write a comment debating whether or not “Jedi” is a worthy alternative religion, if North Korea’s current leader could sing “I’m So Ronery” as well as his father, or how depressed you are that upcoming Tom Cruise movies actually look good, well then that’s okay, too.
Give us your thoughts.