It’s hard to believe that it’s been 21 years since the attack on September 11. Two of our sons were serving in the Navy that day. It was hard to think of the challenges that lay ahead for them and for all the people serving in the military at that time.
That thought made me curious about men and women serving in our military today. As I searched the internet, I found the demographics report for U.S. Armed Forces that was published by the Department of Defense.
There are more than 1.3 million people currently serving on Active Duty in our Armed Forces. Forty-five percent of those serving are under 25 years of age. I doubt that they remember the attack. Less than 8 percent are over the age of 41. One statistic stated that almost 88 percent of the forces are based in the United States or in U.S. Territories. I could not determine if naval staff on deployments were counted as based in the United States or if they were included in the 12 percent serving overseas.
The gender of the Armed Forces is 82.8 percent male and 17.2 percent female. Nearly 50 percent are married, sometimes with both spouses serving in the military, and 35.9 percent have children.
In April 2017 the Pew Research Center published data on the average level of education for members of the armed forces. They made a distinction between individuals who enlisted versus those who were commissioned as officers. The majority of those commissioned as officers have either graduated from a service academy or graduated college as part of a Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program.
Pew lists the educational level for adults between the ages of 18 to 44, as 60 percent having completed high school or some college and 19 percent having a bachelor’s degree. For the enlisted members of the Armed Force, 92 percent have completed high school or some college and 7 percent have a bachelor’s degree. (Many of the people enlist in the Armed Forces after graduating from high school in order to be eligible for education benefits under the provisions of the GI Bill.) More than 80 percent of the Officers have bachelor’s degrees with 42 percent of the Officers holding advanced degrees.
I thank the members of the Armed Forces who are committed to protect our freedoms. I also thank all their spouses and children for the sacrifices they make as they support those who serve. May they never be challenged by another attack on our United States.