BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Retired military leaders released a new report that shows 75 percent of the state's young adults are unable to join the military because they are too uneducated, too overweight and have a record of crime or drug abuse.
Major General Ron Richard, U.S. Marine Corps, (Retired); Rear Admiral David Callahan, U.S. Coast Guard, (Retired); and Brigadier General Gary Jones, U.S. Army, (Retired); joined local lawmakers for a press conference at the State Capitol on Thursday, March 1.
During the press conference, they put a call out to state legislators to prioritize funding for early child care and education, specifically for the Child Care Assistance Program during this Special Legislative Session.
"If we do not address this trend that we see right now we're just not going to have an insufficient pool of talent of young men and women to serve in our military in the future," explained Rear Admiral David Callahan, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired). "It's a national security issue. So I'd say the best way to address these disqualifiers is to start early. The important of children's earliest years can't be overstated."
The retired military leaders are part of an initiative called Mission: Readiness, whose goals are to ensure kids stay in school, stay fit and healthy, and out of trouble.
This group believes the issue starts from the get-go, emphasizing the need for high-quality child care programs to lay the foundation for active, healthy lifestyles from a young age.
To view the full report, CLICK HERE.