ACTIVE COMPONENT ENLISTED APPLICANTS AND ACCESSIONS
Age. By law, Active Component recruits must be between 17 and 35 years old; 17-year-olds must have parental permission to enlist. [footnote 18] Within the 17–35 age range, the Services have different age ceilings. The Army and Navy accept applicants up to age 35; the Air Force accepts recruits prior to their 28th birthday, and the Marine Corps age limit is 29. The age distribution of FY 2004 active duty NPS accessions is shown in Table 2.6.
The average age of enlisted accessions is 20.1 years, ranging from 19.1 for the Marine Corps to 20.7 for the Army. Roughly 87 percent of new recruits are 18- to 24-year-olds, compared to 37 percent of the comparable civilian population. The Marine Corps enlists the greatest percentage of 17- and 18-year-old recruits (50 percent) and the smallest percentage of those over age 21 (10 percent). The Army has the greatest proportion of recruits older than age 21 (29 percent) and the smallest proportion of 17- and 18-year-old recruits (29 percent). The right column of Table 2.6 shows the numerical rate at which civilian youth in each age group enlisted in the Armed Services in FY 2004. For example, an average of 13.3 of every 1,000 18-year-olds and 1.4 of every 1,000 24-year-olds enlisted in FY 2004.
[Footnote 18] 10 U.S.C. 505. [back to paragraph]