4 Age

This Chapter:

AC Officers

This Section:

Pay Grade
Marital Status

Age.  As shown in Table 4.4, officers, on average, tend to be older than enlisted personnel.  Upon commissioning in FY 1997, the average officer was 26 years old in contrast to 20 years old for the average enlisted accession.  The mean age of all active officers was 34 years and that of enlisted members was 27 years.  The mean age of officer accessions varies by source of commission.  In FY 1997, the average age of newly commissioned officers ranged from 23 years for Service academy graduates to 33 years for officers commissioned directly.

 Table 4.4.  FY 1997 Mean Age of Active Component Officer Accessions and Officer Corps in Comparison to Enlisted Personnel




Active Component Accessions



Active Component Force



Also see Appendix Table B-31 (Age by Service).

Figures 4.3 and 4.4 (together with Appendix Table B-31) highlight the military's emphasis on youth.  In particular, Marine Corps officer accessions and officer corps were younger than those in other Services.  Less than 6 percent of Marine Corps officers were 30 or older upon entry.  The proportion within this age range among the other Services' newly commissioned officers was greater but still notably small.  The percentage 30 years or older was 13 percent in the Army, 23 percent in the Navy, and 21 percent in the Air Force.  The rigorous physical demands and rapid deployment of Marines, and this Service's absence of officers in medical and ministry fields, no doubt are related to the relative youth of  Marine Corps officers.

Figure 4.3.  Age of FY 1997 Active Component officer accessions, by Service.

Figure 4.4.  Age of FY 1997 Active Component officer corps, by Service.

Figure 4.5 shows that along with age, there has been a steady increase in the tenure of officers.  On average, as of FY 1997, the typical commissioned officer was around 34 years old and had been in uniform for about 11 years.

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