At an age when most baby boomers might be looking ahead to retirement, 55-year-old John Taffe has been running, low-crawling and doing pushups at Army basic combat training for the past 2 1/2-months.
Taffe, of Alameda, California, finished basic training on Thursday at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, making him one of the oldest recruits to do so, NBC Bay Area reports.
It’s certainly an unusual case, as most new joins to the military come straight of high school or college. But Taffe, now a Sergeant First Class (E-7) due to prior active-duty service in the Navy, had wanted to get back in since 9/11.
“After 9/11 I really felt compelled to rejoin the military, but the organisation I worked for was not supportive of the idea,” Taffe told NBC. “It wasn’t until almost 14 years later that the opportunity presented itself again while I was exploring other positions within the government. At this time my only choice was the U.S. Army due to my age.”
He just made the cutoff. Army regulations require a waiver for soldiers over the age of 55, but Taffe enlisted 36 hours prior to his birthday, according to the Army. Since he joined the Army Reserve, he’ll return to the Bay Area next week and resume his job as a security specialist for the Coast Guard, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“I don’t think I have ever sent a Soldier to Basic Combat Training who could outrank his drill sergeants,” Taffe’s recruiter, Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Karr, told Army Public Affairs.
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