VA scandals discourage recruits

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Looking back on his childhood and early adult life, Vietnam War veteran Ronald Baltierra believes he had an undiagnosed hyperactivity disorder.

“I’ve been told I was a good soldier but I couldn’t sit still,” Baltierra, who received a bronze star for valor, says. “In Vietnam they didn’t care if you were hyper.”

These days hyperactivity disorders are treated with prescription medications, and such treatment can bar you from enlisting in the military.

Obesity, some tattoos and body piercings also can keep you out. The Department of Defense estimates that a whopping 71 percent of 17- to 24-year-olds would fail to meet enlistment standards, as reported in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal.

Teens and 20-somethings eager to sign up need to consider all that, but they should think harder about this: Will the military meet their needs down the line?

Maybe.

Veterans’ access to medical care has been terrible in some places. We are gaining a better understanding about backlogged appointments and the lengths administrators went to hide the backlogs in the Veterans Affairs scandal that has rocked the military. Five senior VA officials have left their posts since the misconduct gained national attention in May.

The military’s quality of medical care for veterans has been regarded as top-notch, but that doesn’t appear to be true for active military members treated at some military hospitals in the U.S.

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