Pat sends us a link to the Washington Post which complains that the military is booting folks who are overweight. It shouldn’t really be news. the first time I ever heard of an overweight program in the Army was in 1977. They published height and weight standards, but along with the standards, the Army issued waivers hand over fist. No one took the standards seriously because of the waivers. But when the Jimmy Carter Volar (Volunteer Army) ended and the Reagan Era began, along with our equipment, pay raises, training and training time, they began enforcing the standards. Quite a few of our remaining Vietnam veterans fell victim to it.
Apparently, the Obama Administration sees it as a way to reduce the force;
In 2010, 86,183 troops, or 5.3 percent of the force, received at least one clinical diagnosis of obesity, according to the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center.
The trend has prompted the military to reexamine its training programs and is driving commanders to weed out soldiers who are deemed unfit to fight.
“A healthy and fit force is essential to national security,” said Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde, a Pentagon spokeswoman. “Our service members must be physically prepared to deploy on a moment’s notice anywhere on the globe to extremely austere and demanding conditions.”
During the first 10 months of this year, the Army kicked out 1,625 soldiers for being out of shape, nearly 16 times the number discharged for that reason in 2007, the peak of wartime deployment cycles.
My problem with the Washington Post article is that somehow they conflate obesity with criminal behavior and make it sound like the Bush Administration was pumping the ranks up with fat criminals;
As the Iraq and Afghanistan wars strained the military, the Army granted waivers to recruits who would normally not be eligible, for example taking on overweight soldiers and those with criminal records.
It’s not like the Army was taking 350-pound serial killers or anything. It seems to me that there were certainly enough volunteers while the war was progressing that they didn’t need substandard enlistees. So, the Washington Post makes it sound like Obama is only separating the wheat from the chaff. But, I doubt that there are 80,000 overweight troops to bring the number down to the 490,000 goal. Well, unless they start tossing the wounded troops, like they mention in the article.
Category: Military issues