• I’m 23, so this is no longer an issue for me.  But I have heard people say that “if you are able to fight and die for your country, then you should be able to buy alcohol regardless of age.”  What do all of you guys think?

  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    A person’s permission to drink alcohol should be based on their ability to behave in a civil and responsible manner after having drank alcohol. The trouble is that is not a practical way to decide matters for a populace. I recently watched Mrs. Henderson Presents, “If we are to ask these young men to sacrifice their lives it is wrong to ask them to sacrifice joy as well.”

    So yes active duty Military personal under 21 should be allowed alcohol subject to the same restrictions and rules as those over 21.

  • You make a good point Frimmel:  Active duty military or not, it IS all about one’s ability to behave appropriately.  I’ve met some guys who are around 30, but they still can’t drink without acting like an a$$.  Other guys are underage, but can handle their alcohol responsibly.

  • Hmmmm . . . i gotta’ admit - i kind of like the Dutch model.  In the Netherlands the drinking age is 16, and the driving age is 18.  I guess the theory is that turning 18 is not a cause for drinking, so the DUI MVC’s are lower.  I don’t know the stats on this tho’.

  • Was so nice when I was at USAFA… I fell under the grandfather clause for 3.2 beer, so I could drink at Arnold Hall 🙂  Didn’t even have to leave the grounds and could pound down a few 🙂

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    I can see the arguement for 16 year old drivers though.  Perhaps restricting them to family passengers only would be wise.  However, the accident rate for 16 year old drivers should be pretty close to identical to 18 year old drivers if you raise the legal driving age to 18.  At least in my mind.  That’s because most accidents by 16 year olds occur because they do not have the experience to know better yet at that age.  Well, how do you get experience?  You cannot get it from a class room, you can only get it by driving.  Thus, if you raised the legal driving age to 30, you’d still have considerable amount of rookie drivers out there getting into accidents.

    As for alcohol for the military…uhm, where you guys been?  I don’t know a single barkeep in an army or air-force town, or base, that won’t serve someone in uniform or flashing a military id alcohol, regardless of age.  I’d wager that holds true for Marines and Navy…even though those bloody sea dogs couldn’t hold their liquor in a bucket on Sunday while driving to church… 🙂

  • My logic:

    I am 19 years old. I am an adult. I have the legal responsibilities of an adult. If I commit a crime, I am held as an adult, not a half-adult. Yet, in regards to alchohol, and law does not regard me as an adult, and that is insulting.

    And for the record, I don’t drink.

  • I am 34, so the laws of under age drinking do not apply to me.  However, I have kept my same stance on this ever since I was 16.  If you are trusted with a weapon to go out and kill someone, and in turn be killed at the age of 18… it is utter hypocricy to say that they are not resp. enough to have a beer.

    Resp. enough to die for their country, but not resp. to have a drink?

  • Underage drinking no longer applies to me anymore either, has not for some time.

    But it is true… you are an adult in EVERY OTHER WAY in this country at 18… every way except being able to legally drink.

    THis is another of those foibles caused by our Puritanical background.  We hyper restrict all of these “sins”, but by doing so we are putting a big red sign on them that says “DO THIS!”.  ANd the result is that we have among the worst alcoholism rates in the world; drug use is again on a dramatic rise, etc.

    Drinking when I was under 21 and it was “dangerous and illegal” was a thrill.  Breaking that taboo made it special and daring.  I attended my first “kegger” the summer before 9th grade (David’s mom was way cool, getting a keg for the team…).  I drank heavilly in college, and consumed VAST quantities of Black Velvet and Stolychnya.  When I turned 21, I pretty much quit drinking for more than a decade.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator


    My logic:

    I am 19 years old. I am an adult. I have the legal responsibilities of an adult. If I commit a crime, I am held as an adult, not a half-adult. Yet, in regards to alchohol, and law does not regard me as an adult, and that is insulting.

    And for the record, I don’t drink.

    I drink, I don’t get drunk.  But I do drink, at least I’ve been seen in a bar or two or having a beer at a cookout.

    However, let’s extrapolate this arguement a little farther.

    At 18 you can die for your country, you can vote for your leaders, you can run for public office; but you cannot drink.  However, at 16 you can be taxed, but you cannot die for your country, you cannot vote for your leaders, you cannot run for public office and you cannot drink.  Taxation without representation?

    Personally, I think if you are old enough to pay taxes (and only if you actually PAY taxes) then you should be at least allowed to vote for the politicians that will be spending your tax dollars….

  • Ah, NOW we are back to that argument I posted a few months ago about the “makers” being the only ones who should be allowed to vote, etc.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    Not necessarily.  But I think that if you pay taxes the least the government can do is allow you to vote.  After all, you ARE funding the government.

  • Jennifer, you are right about the military being able to buy alcohol anyway, but that’s technically illegal. (not to sound like a narc)  But if a 19 year-old soldier is pulled over for reckless driving, and it turns out he’s drunk, then he gets nailed for an underage DUI, at least as far as I know.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    Technically, yes, AO (which, btw, do you know what Agent Orange is?) However, it’s been my experience that most police officers don’t do a dang thing to soldiers as long as what they are doing does not endanger anyone else’s life. (If it does, they call the MPs.)  So caught drunk driving, they’d have the MPs called, getting caught drinking in a bar, they’d be ignored.

    But yes, it is illegal.

  • I was going to say that it should be available to all 18 year olds, not just military personnel (yeah, give the guys with the guns alcohol - smart), but Yanny already elaborated on that.

    What’s interesting is that it was basically a federal mandate, and they strong-armed all the states into adopting it by withholding federal funds for interstate creation and improvement.  I believe the republic of Texas (where I’m from) held out for some time until they needed that sweet, sweet cash from their sugardaddy, and, even then, people still got away drinking and driving (still do, I’m sure).

    I definitely found alcohol more appealing when it was forbidden, and I’ve definitely chilled out about now I can get it anytime besides Sundays.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    Personally, I think it would be best to allow drinking at the age of ten, if with your parent or guardian.  At least a glass of watered down wine with dinner, for pete’s sake even the American Medical Association has come to admit that wine is good for you in moderation and how many thousands of years did our forefathers survive on sweet wine with all their meals?

    We can limit hard alcohols to age 21.  But let the lighter stuff be available to teach children moderation.

  • I like your approach Jennifer.  In fact, my mom told me that at age 15, she would sit down and have a drink with me, if only to teach me that alcohol is really no big deal.

    Yes, I do know what Agent Orange was.  But it has been my tag of choice ever since I went on cruise in 2004.  I came up with it when we were playing Halo every night for about a month straight. (I know this came up in another topic.)

  • The only issue there is the effect of alcohol on developing brains (puberty age).

    I mean, look at France.  Lots of alcohol from an early age.  Is that REALLY the direction we want to go?  LOL

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    Well, I really wasn’t thinking of getting children drunk.  But I see no harm in a glass of watered down wine with dinner 3 nights a week for children age ten.  And with all the studies comming out showing that wine, in moderation, is good for you, I can see some benefits.

    Obviously, hard liquors such as my favorite, Vodka (but only if it comes from Mutha Russia!), Brandy, Scotch, etc would still be prohibited until an appropriate age.

  • Two issues there Jen…

    1.  The studies you cite were done on adults, not on children.

    2.  Back to the start of this discussion… what is an “appropriate age”?

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    I’d say appropriate is when the government decides you are mature enough to die for your country.  After all, if you can poison yourself with tobacco at 18, why can’t you help your health until you are 21?

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