Wednesday, October 06, 2004

If He's Old Enough to Collect Social Security, He's Old Enough to Serve His Country 

Via Zemblan patriot K.Z. and our esteemed colleagues at the All Spin Zone: Age . . . 67?!?
Charles Ham, a 67-year-old Lexington psychiatrist and grandfather, is headed back to his man-in-uniform days.

A retired Army Reserve colonel, Ham said last week he will report in February to Fort Benning, Ga. There, he will spend two to three weeks taking refresher training before he is deployed.

“They won’t tell me where I’ll be deployed,” he said. “They just told me I will be deployed.”

In July, The State newspaper reported that the Army, stretched thin by the war in Iraq, had ordered Ham to take a physical at Fort Jackson.

“Once you’re a soldier, you’re always a soldier,” said Sgt. Warren Brown, a trainer at Fort Jackson . . . .

When he retired seven years ago after 41 years of service, Ham signed an agreement saying he would serve if needed. He said he considered the agreement his patriotic duty.

Still, when Ham was first notified by the Army of his call-up, he asked the service to look for someone younger. After all, he is on Medicare.

Ham was called back and told he was needed; the Army needs doctors to help the troops.

A recent study found the suicide rate of soldiers serving in Iraq is higher than for other GIs. The suicide rate in Iraq is 17.3 per 100,000 soldiers compared with 12.8 for the Army overall.

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