Age Restrictions on Alcohol Relative to Military Eligibility Essay

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This is a topic that was near and dear to my husband’s heart. As he is in the military, it comes up often during mobilizations for deployment. I drink very little, so I hadn’t given it much consideration until he was deploying himself. I think that military personnel under the age of 21 should be allowed to consume alcoholic beverages under supervision.

We have two sons that joined the National Guard at the ages of 17years and 19 years old. The legal age to purchase and consume alcohol in this state is 21 years of age. Our sons were pretty quickly deployed to Iraq. Granted, they didn’t drink at the time, but under the circumstances: I think that if their squads and platoons had offered them beer before going away to war, there should be no qualms about it. If they are able to go off and risk their safety or their lives, then there should not be a problem with having two beers with their buddies.

Compared to college freshmen, there is a lot of supervision and control in a military environment. On campuses around the country, binge drinking is prevalent and sometimes problematic. This is not to say that it doesn’t happen in the military but there is so much more structure to the lifestyles of soldiers, sailors, etc. College and high school campuses provide much more independence. Teens often sneak into their parents bars when their away and imbibe without supervision, and most often without parental consent.

My husband entered military service in 1985 and he says that then it was the norm for the military to have two beers during lunch. It was being phased out, but the older soldiers held to the tradition. There were quite a few Vietnam vets still in at that time. When he went to Germany, they would have beer tents set up after exercises and all of the soldiers would be allowed to drink their fill. During the nineties, the policy changed to the State’s legal age, based on the location of the particular Post or Base. Currently, the military is campaigning to...
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