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A Discussion of Whether The Drinking Age of Military Members Should Be Lowered to 18

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Legally if you are not 21 you cannot buy alcohol nor can you consume it. “An individual 18 years of age or older may purchase a rifle or shotgun from a federally licensed dealer in any state” (NRA-ILA). It is acceptable for an individual 18 years of age or older to purchase cigarettes if they choose to do so. An individual 17 years of age can sign up and serve in the United States of America Military with the consent of a parent. Additionally, an 18-year-old individual can sign up with no consent necessary and serve in the United States of America Military. These young adults of only 18, 19, 20 years old are given extensive training, handed an array of different weapons and are told to go and protect and defend the United States of America. They are often sent to foreign countries and asked to fight and possibly die for their country. The question that needs to be answered is: Should the legal drinking age be lowered for active members of the Armed Forces?

To begin, lets discuss the changing of the legal drinking age from 18 to 21 years of age and the group largely responsible for it. During the 1980’s the group M.A.D.D. “Mothers Against Drunk Drivers” garnered much interest and support for their cause; to stop drunk drivers. This group was largely responsible for the political decision to change the legal drinking age from 18 years of age to 21. The position held by M.A.D.D and its many supporters was that young adults under the age of 21 were just not mature enough to consume alcoholic beverages. This organization was also instrumental in the decision that reduced the legal B.A.C. “Blood Alcohol Limit” from 0.10 to 0.08. Now According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles “driving while intoxicated (DWI) is defined as drunk driving, and the state uses your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to determine whether you’re too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle. The standards used for determining this are if you 21 years old or older, 0.08%if you are a Commercial driver: 0.04%, and individuals younger than 21 years of age: Any detectable amount” (Brown).

Next, I will cover how other countries approach the issue of the legal drinking age and how they have addressed the “underage” drinking. In an article that was done, regarding the maturity of the young individual. “When seen in that light the issue of drinking at a certain age becomes about maturity. These other counties don’t have near as many driving accidents or intoxicated issues either. This is all because of the hype of underage drinking has been taken away. They have also taken away that mentality that getting drunk is the cool thing to do. These young adults are told they are going to be deploying to a hostile country and to put their training into use but are not considered to be mature enough to have some form of alcoholic beverage. With all the training that these young adults are put through their level of maturity just grows and grows and grows” (Benton).

Our young men and women who join the Armed Forces at such a young age do so most often without the need for parental consent. These young adults kiss their family’s goodbye, are handed a gun and are sent hundreds of thousands of miles away from home. They do this for a variety of different reasons such as: family, history, love of country, college, money to name just a few. They do so without ever having been allowed to have a drink with family and friends before heading off to war. The drinking age for our military service members should be lowered. The fact that a person that is 18, 19, or even 20 can’t have a beer is outrageous. These individuals can sign up to serve and defend our country. They go through training that prepares them for battle, they are asked to kill in defense of our nation. They are asked to die in defense of our nation yet cannot legally drink in the country they have signed-up to serve. In an article on this topic, there is a “Republican who sponsored a bill that proposes changing the legal drinking age in the United States Military to 18 years old. He believes that if you are serving in the Armed Forces and are being trained to kill on the battlefield then why can’t you have a drink? Additionally, all the training these individuals go through really matures these young men and women These young adults are told they are going to be deploying to hostile countries thousands of miles from home, they are told to use this training, but are not considered to be mature enough to have some form of alcoholic beverage. They are entrusted with equipment worth thousands sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars, yet cannot be trusted to drink alcohol. With all the training that these young men and women are put through their level of maturity just grows far beyond that of any of their peers (Benton).”

In conclusion, the drinking age for current active-duty members of the United States of America military should be lowered. The level of maturity that these young adults have is above the rest of those at the same age. This is due to the extensive training they receive and everything else they are asked to endure. Being in the Armed Forces tends to mature you faster than your peers, even if you don’t want it to. Another reason, is because unfortunately some of the soldiers may never see their 21st birthday. They may never reach the age that it is acceptable for them to purchase alcohol in the bar or the store. In another article back in 2015, it states, “A bill proposed by Sen. Ron Young, D-Frederick, would allow active-duty service members who are at least 18-years-old to be served beer and wine” (Press). Even some senators know that the age limit should change for these brave men and women. Even though in this day in age serving as a member of the Armed Forces is not mandatory, it is strictly volunteer but none the less it takes a certain caliber of a young man or woman to freely join the military. They sacrifice a great deal and give up their life to protect the people they love and the neighbors they know and all of the other people in this great nation. It may seem that the argument could be that there are some mature young adults that are not in the military, and that may be the case however, they are not putting their life on the line everyday as their peers.

Works Cited

  • Benton, Leonard. “Drinking Age in the US Military: Age of Maturity • The Havok Journal.” The Havok Journal, 16 Feb. 2019,
  • Brown, David. “DUI and DWI Overview.”, Nolo, 25 Jan. 2017,
  • Nra-Ila. “ILA: Citizen’s Guide To Federal Firearms Laws – Summary.” NRA,
  • Press, The Associated. “Lawmaker: Lower Drinking Age for Active-Duty Troops.” Military Times, Military Times, 8 Aug. 2017,

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