This very first appeared in The Havok newspaper on February 3, 2015… however it continues to it is in an issue. What space your thoughts?


North Dakota State Rep. Andrew Maragos newly sponsored a bill the proposes transforming the legal drinking age in the U.S. Army to period 18. This has sparked a bit of controversy among military personnel, past and present, and also even within the Havok newspaper writers’ group.

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My watch is simple. If you deserve to draft a male at 18 and also put a rifle in his hand and trust him to safeguard this country on the ar of battle, you can trust that to manage a drink as soon as he is 18 as well, a cup the mead because that the warrior if friend please.

The states all uniformly have collection the drinking period at 21 for a range of reasons with the majority being that the maturity of an 18-year-old is questionable and drinking and also driving mishaps were lessened when the drinking period was elevated to 21.

This is all fine and also well because that the average population but the military population is not average. I know the implications, I know the risk, yet there is a difference of opinion that has developed contention.

I think the a soldier that is ready to die for their country should be able to hoist a libation if serving their country. A usual theme because that a memorial salute to a fallen comrade is a drink set on a bar together a token of memory. Just how ironic if such tokens are left because that our fallen that might not actually legally drink?

Are 18-year-olds mature? In the military, there is a committed process come train and create skilled warriors. Anyone who has subjected themselves voluntarily to the shaping procedure is arguably much more mature 보다 a peer who has not make the exact same decisions.

The dispute is that permitting 18- come 20-year-olds come drink will rise the disruptions on army installations, erode discipline, and cause a organize of problems past those as much as including fatality either by drinking and also driving or other acts of stupidity that are alcohol-related.

All this is undoubtedly part of the risk, but those troubles exist currently in the military and outside it and are compounded by the extr charge of underage drinking and also collateral damage for those who contributed to the delinquency.

I don’t have actually a catch-all solution but I believe that the trouble can be overcome with a little of leadership. The military has a leadership of course however there room several problems from the outset.

The trouble that increases the danger of potential negative behavior transaction in major part come disenfranchisement through military organization by soldiers. We placed weapons in the hand of 18-year-olds and also sent them off to war to make life and also death decisions. Castle kill, lock die, yet they are not trusted through the responsibility of alcohol.

Leadership in the military basically says the they perform not to trust soldiers come behave.

There is the truth but that truth is subjective. Underage drink is happening ideal now and also we recognize it. What we don’t understand is how prevalent the is. Us only know when they acquire caught. If getting captured is a measure up of immaturity, climate the converse is the those who don’t are not only behaving much more responsibly, however they are doing therefore in a semi-intelligent fashion due to the fact that they room not acquiring caught.

That is logical yet the logic is undermined because they room in reality disobeying regulations and also lawful assignment if they room drinking underage also if they space not caught. As a leader, i was taught no to offer an order i knew was no going to it is in obeyed.

Doing so undermined mine authority and eroded the respect mine personnel had actually for any type of future orders because they taken into consideration them suspect.

Additionally exacerbating the worry is the fact that in a garrison environment, weak leaders will to massive punishment because that infractions nevertheless of the level that responsibility any type of individual leader might have. Once a soldier commits one infraction against good order and also discipline the first question that routinely gets asked wherein the an initial line leader was.

In the military, you space responsible for every little thing your subordinates do or fail come do. This is army discipline. However, it fails to acknowledge that people can and will execute the damndest points without regard to training or guidance.

What walk this imply? In a truly reliable leadership organization, such together is uncovered in tight-knit one-of-a-kind operations units, the peer press to be your ideal is the main force of discipline. You want to support your team. In continual military formations, cooperation is given more lip service since while team cohesion is a an excellent thing and also promoted, team punishment end the infraction of one is a major motivation killer. The leader is not permitted to take care of things in ~ the shortest level due to the fact that the problems are elevated beyond their authority.

At fort Hood, the III Corps Commanding basic individually spends thirty minutes each week offering his guidance to every new soldier that arrives in ~ the installation. Every week, uneven he sends out someone else who is constantly a general officer, without fail the undermines the authority of every level that command listed below him. He could not check out it that means and together the Corp and also Garrison Commander no one else have the right to gainsay him, yet how an important are the words of a Sergeant when a general feels the must be the one transmitting an individual instructions.

As a leader at the formation level, ns told mine personnel my variation of the great news and also the poor news. The an excellent news was the they only had actually to admire one person. The negative news was that the human being they had to impress was me.

There to be a corollary to that comment. No one would discipline them however me and if ns was wrong, I would not happen the warm down come them. If they were wrong, I would certainly be the one to deal with them.

There to be times, based on UCMJ that I might not store that promise. However by heading off the young infractions and also controlling my team without the consistent involvement of an elderly leadership, I created a team that was disciplined, motivated, and capable.

During the Iraq War, the junior leaders were the ones on the prior lines do the decisions, planning the missions, and also fighting the battles. The trust the was inserted in them encouraged them come perform since they own the mission. The successes were personal and the losses were personal and no senior leaders were constantly involved in the day to day operations. In plenty of cases, the platoon sergeant or platoon leader was the only an elderly person castle saw and also even climate it was not often.

Staff Sergeants and Sergeants arranged their people, performed their inspections, and rolled out into harm’s means every day.

Now ago in garrison, they are not reliable to control their people without entry from an elderly leaders in day-to-day contact.

The Iraq War proved that if you offer someone trust and also responsibility, lock can and also will increase to the occasion. If you don’t give them the chance, castle won’t.

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Changing the drink age might indeed cause rise in problems associated with alcohol the the military has inadequately addressed in those over the period of 21. Perhaps in having actually a brand-new conversation and also showing the newest warrior to the tribe that they space going to be treated together an adult until they prove otherwise, and then if they fail, deal with the individual for your failure, us might readjust the paradigm the continually plagues us.