Drinking Age Limit For Military Soldiers


Until about the mid 80s there really wasn’t a legal drinking age for military personnel. This was because most place would serve military soldiers no matter their age. This all changed when MADD or Mothers Against Drunk Driving lobbied to have the Federal law changed. The law was called United States Code Title 10 Section 2683, which made military bases adopt the same drinking age in the state in which they were stationed. The only expectation to this rule was bases that were located in places that had a lower drinking age younger than 21 and if the base is within fifty miles of Canada and Mexico.

Outside of the United States there are places where the drinking age is much lower than 18, in some places the age is as low as 16, so the military made the minimum age to drink in these countries to be 18, which makes sense since you have to be 18 to join the U.S. military. And they also have to follow the guidelines set in treaties and agreements in other countries if the drinking age is much higher than the United States.

But the commander of the Department of Defense may waive these laws if there is a special circumstance, like for a celebration, i.e. end of military duty, anniversary and so on. But it is up to the commander to keep control of these kind of celebrations so that the community or service members don’t become endangered in the process. While military soldiers can drink at a younger age within fifty miles of a country that has a lower age for consumption, the Secretary of the Navy prohibits their service members from doing it. A few years after the Navy did this, the Army did as well, prohibiting their service members near the border of Mexico from drinking under the age of 21.

While there are many loopholes that allow military soldiers to drink under the legal age of 21 in other countries and for special circumstances it is still illegal for them to be consuming alcohol. If there weren’t in the military, they would get charged with under aged drinking and the commanders and whoever else supplied the alcohol would be charged as well. Being in the military should give you special treatment over a substance when the rest of the world has to follow the laws.