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Posted: 10/4/2005 5:34:49 PM EDT
October 04, 2005

Senate gives nod to recruiting older citizens

By Rick Maze
Times staff writer

Legislation allowing military recruits to enter service up to age 42 and to create a new $1,000 finder’s fee for service members who tip off recruiters to good prospects has received tentative approval in the Senate.

A package of 81 approved amendments to the 2006 defense authorization bill unveiled Monday includes a recruiting and retention plan, proposed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and prepared by the Army, that also:

• Raises the maximum enlistment bonus.

• Allows people with prior military service to get more than one bonus for joining the reserves.

• Increases the maximum bonus for officers joining the reserves.

Sen. John Warner, R-Va., the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman who submitted the package of approved amendments, said the 81 amendments in it represented those on which agreement had been reached between Democrats and Republicans during the two-month delay in work on the defense bill.

Warner said the package has amendments offered by 68 of the 100 senators, and that he and Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, his committee’s ranking Democrat, would urge its adoption when the Senate gets back to work on the bill, which could be this week.

Raising enlistment and re-enlistment bonuses is the military’s traditional response to past problems in manning the force, but increasing the maximum recruiting age and paying a referral bonus are new ideas, both aimed at the Army and its recruiting difficulties.

The current age limit for active-duty recruits, 35, would increase to 42 for the all of the services.

The provision is not controversial because it is expected the military would use the new authority sparingly. The Army is the only service to express interest, and Army officials told the House Armed Services Committee earlier this year that the new authority would be used only for a few critical specialties.

The finder’s fee idea, however, does come with some controversy. Under the proposal, a member of the Army, Army Reserve or Army National Guard could receive a $1,000 bonus for referring a person who has never served in the armed forces to a recruiter.

For the finder to get the fee, the potential recruit would have to enlist in the Army, Army Reserve or Army National Guard and finish basic and advanced training. No payments would be given for referring an immediate family member, and anyone in a recruiting or career counselor assignment would be ineligible.

McCain’s proposal limits the number of bonuses to 1,000 as an initial test and would cancel the program on Jan. 1, 2008.

Army officials have talked about wanting to offer bonuses of up to $2,500 and another new enlistment incentive of up to $25,000 that could be used as a down payment on the purchase of a home.
Link Posted: 10/4/2005 5:40:23 PM EDT
I see it says all the services, I wonder how my wife would feel about joining the Marines
Link Posted: 10/4/2005 5:43:36 PM EDT
wow we are really getting desperate!
Link Posted: 10/4/2005 6:09:26 PM EDT
So when are we going to start referer threads.
Link Posted: 10/4/2005 6:33:29 PM EDT
Hmm, how long until they start recruiting the 16 y/o high school drop-outs. We can make units of 16 and 42 y/o's :) Wait, I think someone tried that once back around '45. It woul dbe interesting going through Matrine boot camp with someone in their 40's.
Link Posted: 10/4/2005 6:46:08 PM EDT
I'll be 38 in less than a month and would join yesterday if they would issue medical waivers for having had spinal surgery. I had the first at 21 and the fifth one 5 years ago and can't get in. How many years could I get in prison if I lied and said the scars were from a car wreck as a teen and the hospital that did the surgery destroys records after 3 years.
Link Posted: 10/4/2005 6:51:42 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/5/2005 4:23:40 AM EDT
This shit really pisses me off... I Was laid off last year and figured I'd look into the service as I regret not doing it when I was younger. Army? Yep, Guard? Yep, Marines? Son, if you were 6 months younger.....

I was only 31!

Screw that. I'm fit, motivated, and wanting to join for the 'right' reasons. Given a choice, I'd want to be a Marine, but they couldn't make it happen.
Link Posted: 10/5/2005 4:29:03 AM EDT
It's about time!!! Alot of the older guys are in better shape than the new generation anyway. I know this from experince
Link Posted: 10/5/2005 4:36:27 AM EDT
42 years old?

I was the old man in my basic training flight at 25!

Makes me feel young
Link Posted: 10/5/2005 4:39:47 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/5/2005 4:57:37 AM EDT
tisfor texas,
They aren't going to send you to prison, just discharge you if you get caught. The question is though how impaired are you, will you make it through basic and AIT and be able to go out into the field?
Link Posted: 10/5/2005 9:02:38 AM EDT
So I can join again and do 21 more years, sweet.
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