In the last two years, the U.S. Army has raised the maximum age of
new recruits from 35 to 42. Pundits deplored this as a desperate measure by an
army unable to attract enough recruits. The army has since snagged 653 new
recruits older than 35. The army has also been obtaining more than its required
80,000 new recruits a year. Interestingly, the higher age limit made the
difference. Last year, the army took in 80,635 new recruits. Without the older
ones, they would have only gotten 99.98 percent of the recruits it
older recruits, as expected, had a harder time adapting to military life.
Experience has shown that older men have less physical stamina, and less
psychological flexibility, than younger guys. Thus 11.5 percent of the older
recruits washed out within a year, compared to 6.5 percent of the younger
recruits. One way the army made its recruiting goals last year was lowering
standards (allowing people with more tattoos, less education and more of a
past, in). More money helped, with pay going up (not just base pay, but bonuses
for hazardous duty and reenlistment).