USA Today: Nearly 90,000 soldiers not fit for combat for medical, other reasons.

Image: While the Army says it can fill combat…


While the Army says it can fill combat brigades heading to Afghanistan with healthy soldiers — some rushed in at the last minute as units head overseas — the growing list of ill, injured or wounded is making the job tougher, say military officials.

“The problem of a growing population of not-medically-ready soldiers has begun to erode the readiness of the Army,” the service’s surgeon general, Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, recently said at a military conference in Washington, D.C.

Army data show record numbers of soldiers either on the sick list, with limited-duty issues, or unfit and waiting months to receive their medical retirement. Plans are in place to reduce the Army by nearly 50,000 soldiers in coming years, further diminishing the pool of healthy GIs, according to a spokesman for the House Armed Services Committee.

The Army has 565,400 active-duty soldiers augmented by 52,600 mobilized National Guard and Reserve soldiers. There are another 500,000 Guard and Reserve soldiers available to call up.

The categories of staffing problems include:

• 47,000 soldiers who are temporarily out of action recovering from wounds, injuries and illnesses, says Lt. Col. Tim Beninato, another spokesman.

• 23,000 soldiers who are on limited duty. Many have health issues, though some deploy for restricted jobs. Others are unavailable for war because they are in transit between bases, caught up in legal cases or in school, though many of these could be sent to war in an emergency.

• 18,178 soldiers are in a disability process for soldiers who are no longer fit for combat that takes more than a year on average to complete.

Source: Gregg Zoroya for USA Today.

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  • Mark

    This old news, my old man was a D.I (Drill Sgt) back in the 72, his graduation rate was less than 50%. He sent many back home to Moma because they were unfit. But many D.I’s wanted their numbers to look good for the brass. He retired in 76, because things were getting worse. If your last name wasn’t Rodrigezs or Washington your were passed up on promotions. Because brass wanted or needed more minorities to be promoted because so many were whinning about not being treated fair. I can imagine what that let through nowadays, I deal with the military in my business and I can tell you there are many in the service who have no business to be wearing the uniform. Thugs,over weight black women, short little Asian’s. How they made it through basic tranning be stow’s me.

  • Herman

    From what I’ve seen on the local base I’d say it’s more, for no other reason than I don’t ever remember seeing this many fat GI’s walking around!