Military officials have been complaining for years that a growing share –about 25 percent – of the nation’s youth is too obese to enlist in the service. Now comes word that 23 percent can’t pass the military’s initial entrance examination. Even as the U.S. military continues to meet its recruiting goals, the evaporating pool of potential recruits spells trouble down the road.
“I doubt we got over a 50 percent pass rate when I was down in Houston doing recruiting” a couple of years ago, says a veteran Army recruiter. “Some of these kids couldn’t even get a 10 score – that is equal to guessing.” The military’s current ability to achieve its recruiting goals, he warns, is temporary. “Only the bad economy is saving them.”