Army has been accepting overweight women for years, Vice report blames Trump for it

Applicants engage in friendly conversation and jokes with one another while waiting to be sent to their next evaluation at the Military Entrance Processing Station on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., Oct. 7, 2014. (Photo by Army Sgt. Richard W. Hoppe, released)

HBO news outlet VICE is claiming that the US Army is lowering recruiting standards as President Trump urges for a stronger, larger, military- but is it true?

In yesterday’s published video, titled Trump Wants To Beef Up The Military, But Recruiters Are Having Trouble Finding People, the infotainment outlet sent Elle Reeve to Kentucky’s Fort Knox to see how recruiters were adapting to the daunting task of recruiting more soldiers.

“Donald Trump wants a bigger Army,” the video description said. “Much bigger- the target has been set to 80,000 recruits this year, up from 68,000. And that means that for recruiters, a hard job just got harder. The low unemployment rate makes the Army less appealing for young people, as does a decade and a half of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. And the rise is obesity means fewer young people are qualified for the armed forces. So the Army is making itself more attractive, by increasing bonuses and allowing more waivers for people who’ve used marijuana. It even has a program to help potential recruits lose weight.”

The US Army Recruiting Command, based out of Fort Knox, has had its share of issues when it comes to recruiting. One of the toughest branches to recruit for, the Army has had to increase recruitment bonuses and teach recruiters how to be more savvy and able to select good candidates.

For some potential recruits, it’s a matter of being in shape. With a large segment of the American population considered to be obese, there are simply fewer good specimens to choose from when it comes to turning civilians into soldiers.

That, however, is where Vice seemed to run with the narrative, albeit incorrectly.

Reeve spoke of relaxed standards, including “moral waivers” for marijuana usage or minor criminal misgivings in one’s past. However, claiming that body fat standards have been lowered was anything but the case.

From 2006 to present day, the maximum allowable body fat percentages have remained unchanged, with males aged 17-20 being cut off from enlistment if their body fat is over 20% and females of the same age bracket being rendered ineligible if they exceed 30% body fat.

“A body fat level of 30 percent is excessive for either gender. Even if the scale puts you in a weight category that seems OK for your height, having this much body fat makes you vulnerable to the same health complications that obesity does,” according to LiveStrong.com.

While many do approach the US Army in poor physical condition, Army recruiters around the country have PT programs to get future soldiers into an acceptable weight bracket. This process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months, and largely depend on the personal dedication of the potential recruit.

As the Army pushes into a future that requires a different class of soldier, they must find ways to work with, frankly, an inferior class of civilian applicant than found in the past. With civilians becoming fatter, dumber, more open to drug use and less motivated than ever, such challenges are held to the flame as President Trump demands a troop build-up.

That does not, however, mean that standards are lower than they have been in the past but it does mean you’re going to be seeing overweight feamale Americans raising their right hand- the same way they have since at least 2006.

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