The Littlest Soldiers

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The Pentagon always has had an exquisite sense of timing. Take this week, for example. The U.S. military announced Wednesday it has launched a website – – so youngsters can learn more about military careers. “The fact is, we found existing career and/or college exploration websites not affiliated with the DoD provide little, if any, coverage of the military and its career opportunities,” Pentagon marketeer Matt Boehmer says. “ helps inform young adults who might not normally consider service about the benefits of a military career.”

DoD photo

The unveiling came a day after a scholar offered a “sneak peek” of a disquieting study now in its final stages. Amy Richardson of the Rand Corp. told an Army gathering that the school-age children of soldiers who have been deployed for 19 months or more, have lower achievement-test scores than kids whose soldier-parents had gone off to war for less time, or not at all. Richardson told a standing-room family forum in Washington, D.C., that the study focuses on students with military parents in North Carolina and Washington state. “We also found that children are facing some behavioral health challenges that can impact their academic success,” she added, “and for many of the children [resilience] seemed to be waning.”

Apparently, it’s not only the financial costs of these wars we’re bequeathing to the next generation. Perhaps we should add report cards, college admissions and future career success to the debit side of the ledger as well.