Support for lower military drinking age

Congressman Kingston claims support for proposal to lower age on military posts

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ST. MARYS, Ga. - Proposed legislation to allow service members under 21 to drink beer and wine at base restaurants and clubs has strong support among military leaders, U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., said Friday.

Ga. Congressman Jack Kingston says military leaders support his effort to get lower drinking age for servicemembers on base.  Chris Viola/ Morris News Service
Chris Viola/ Morris News Service
Ga. Congressman Jack Kingston says military leaders support his effort to get lower drinking age for servicemembers on base.

But the military brass are hesitant to publicly express their opinion, said Kingston, who has introduced the bill that would lower the drinking age to 18 at domestic and foreign bases.

"Unofficially, they agree with us," Kingston said. "Officially, they are reluctant to speak out."

Kingston said military leaders are careful not to take a position on any issue that would differ from their local representatives in Congress. The bill, which has bipartisan support and opposition, should be determined by elected officials, military officials told Kingston.

"It's a civilian-controlled military," he said. "You have to respect the process."

Kingston said he met with leaders at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base on Friday while he was in Camden County, but they never discussed the proposal during a closed-door meeting.

Commanders of the armed services may have to share their opinions, however, before the legislation is approved or rejected. Kingston said he plans to hold public meetings to discuss the legislation.

"We would like to get an official opinion on the issue," he said.

Sheila McNeill, the Navy League's former national president, said she supports the proposal.

"If you are responsible enough to be willing to sacrifice your life for your country, you should be able to drink alcohol," she said. "They should not have to sneak around and do it."

An estimated 60 percent of sailors serving on nuclear submarines are between the ages of 18 and 22 and active-duty soldiers have a 90 percent chance they will be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan, Kingston said.

Sipping on a beer or two while watching a football game might be way for a young service member in a combat zone to relieve stress, he said.

He'd also consider allowing younger troops to drink beer with a low alcohol content as a compromise.

"I'd be fine with 3.2 beer," he said.

Most popular domestic beers are at least 4.6 percent alcohol.

As for potential problems from young drinkers, Kingston said the military has strict rules about drinking, having a designated driver and proper conduct while in public.

The legislation would prohibit the consumption of alcohol anywhere other than designated establishments on bases.

"When you have a uniform, you are held to a higher standard," he said.

gordon.jackson@jacksonville.com, (912) 729-3672

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Riverman1
94227
Points
Riverman1 09/11/10 - 09:27 am
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0
Imagine the Marines on

Imagine the Marines on Guadalcanal after a big battle being given cases of beer. Think they would have told those under 21 they couldn't have any? Yeah, buddy.

Riverrunner30909
149
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Riverrunner30909 09/11/10 - 11:24 am
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Another lowering of
Unpublished

Another lowering of Standards, one more bite out of morallity, one Huge bite for Stupidity. Where do we stop.

Riverrunner30909
149
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Riverrunner30909 09/11/10 - 11:28 am
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Here young man here have a
Unpublished

Here young man here have a beer kill 6+ million brain cells which are never regenerated. The brain cells is one of the cells of the body that do not regenerate, once gone, gone forever. That steers you to being more stupid with each beer, not counting how stupid it makes you from the effects of Alcohol

Frankie-B
48
Points
Frankie-B 09/11/10 - 05:15 pm
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It's 1979 and I'm 18yrs old

It's 1979 and I'm 18yrs old at Navy tech school in Florida. You have an active duty I'D, and you could drink. And I did. Often. And I excelled in training, PT, and made it to Sunday services enough. The club was tremendous (and it made MONEY!), and you felt special going to it. And you were always under the watchful eyes of the Chiefs and Instructors. Jump forward ten years and now I'm an Instructor at the same center. Now the drinking age is 21. Does that stop the youngsters from drinking? Nope. It just drives them off base, unsupervised, and into trouble with local law enforcement as well as with the Command. And the club is pretty much a bingo parlor dive since it has no funds to speak of. These are not "kids". They are voting-age adults who have joined the uniformed services. They deserve to be treated as such.

dwb619
104664
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dwb619 09/11/10 - 08:48 pm
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I think this is pretty

I think this is pretty simple. If you are old enough to get killed for this country, you're old enough to drink. PERIOD!
Personal anecdote, fall of 1969, my buddy comes home from Marine training,on leave prior to going to Viet Nam. We decide to go target shooting, my mother had to go buy his ammunition, because he wasn't 21. That didn't seem right then, and this doesn't seem right now. And I do not drink.

Riverman1
94227
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Riverman1 09/11/10 - 09:06 pm
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Rrunner30909, yeah right.

Rrunner30909, yeah right. People who have been drinking spontaneously combust, too.

dwb619
104664
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dwb619 09/11/10 - 09:10 pm
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Was 3.2 actually any

Was 3.2 actually any different from civilian beer?

Richmnd Cty Votr
1
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Richmnd Cty Votr 09/15/10 - 08:33 am
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And who would you think is

And who would you think is behind all of this, the Alcohol Industry of course. Just follow the money.

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