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Army Reserve Components Boost Enlistment Age Limit

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2005 – The Army Reserve and the Army National Guard have raised the age limit for recruits from 34 to 39, Defense Department officials said.

The move will add 22.6 million people to those who could potentially enlist in the reserve components, said Pentagon spokeswoman Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke.

No other reserve component is contemplating such a move, officials said, and raising the age limit on active duty soldiers would require a change in law.

The idea came from the Army Reserve's translator aide program. That program admits Arab linguists to the service up to age 41.

The new program will run for three years, Krenke said.

The Army National Guard and Army Reserve need people. The Army Reserve has recruited 6,230 soldiers through the end of February. This is 89.7 percent of the year-to-date mission. The Army Guard is at 76 percent of their year-to-date mission, having recruited 16,835 soldiers. The Guard started the year with a 5,000-soldier deficit.

The limit to age 34 goes back to at least 1968, but older citizens have been allowed to enlist in the past. Dashiell Hammett, born in 1894, served nearly a half century later during World War II as an Army private in the Aleutian Islands.

Doctors, lawyers and chaplains also are allowed to join the officer ranks beyond age 34.

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