Where Everybody Knows Your Name…and your rank…and your serial number

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You’ve heard it before. People are too young to drink, but old enough to die for their country. Well, one Wisconsin lawmaker wants to change all that.

The proposed law would apply only to active-duty state residents, and not to troops from elsewhere but stationed in Wisconsin. Servicemembers who are 19 or 20 years old would need to provide their military ID and state driver’s license to prove their age and position before they would be allowed to order alcohol.

State Rep. Mark Pettis has this to say.

It’s common sense. The men and women of our armed forces should be shown the respect they deserve as adults,” said Pettis, a Republican who served in the Navy. “I respect their judgment.

Well hey, fair enough. But why 19? Why not 18? Like a year is really going to make a difference? The legal drinking age in Canada is 18 or 19 depending on what Province you live in.

However, did you know that the military already allows underage drinking? DoD Instruction 1015.10 already states that any member of active duty can drink anyway, regardless of state law.

Here’s more.

The commander of a DoD installation may waive the above requirements, if such commander determines that the exemption is justified by special circumstances. Special circumstances are those infrequent, non-routine military occasions when an entire unit, as a group, marks at a military installation a uniquely military occasion such as the conclusion of arduous military duty or the anniversary of the establishment of a military service or organization. The event must be held on a military installation. The commander shall ensure that appropriate controls are in place to prevent endangering Military Service members or the surrounding community.

Listen, here’s the deal. I see the representative’s point, but I’m sure he understands this looks like the government is trying to lure teenagers into the Armed Forces with booze! And with military recruitment numbers dropping, the appearance of this looks awful.

So, should we stick with the same laws that DoD already has on the books or open up the can of sardines? What do you think?

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