Geriatric Dentists Recruited by Army
Dentist, 84, Gets An Offer To Reenlist In The Army (Philadelphia Inquirer)
The last time Floyd Baker served in the U.S. Army, Dwight D. Eisenhower was still a general. So the 84-year-old, semi-retired Mount Airy dentist was a little surprised last August when he got a letter from a local Army recruiting station inviting him to reenlist. “I was honorably discharged in 1948,” said Baker, who was drafted in 1946 and left the Army with captain’s bars on his shoulders. “I thought the letter belonged to somebody else, knowing when I got in the Army and when I got out. I thought it was a mistake.”
He started believing that maybe it wasn’t a mistake when another letter arrived two months later, offering him a $30,000 signing bonus, a $58,646 loan-repayment option, and a “generous retirement plan” to re-up. Help the soldiers “on the front line fighting the war on terrorism,” it said. “Among the difficulties facing them are receiving adequate dental care prior to being sent to areas of danger and conflict. Our soldiers are sacrificing so much for us and we would greatly appreciate the services of fine professionals like you.” Baker really began taking the Army’s offer seriously last week after talking to a senior-citizen friend at a local Veterans Administration facility who had received a similar letter.
Army officials, after a few gasps and guffaws, called the letters an honest mistake. “We need dentists, but we don’t need them quite that old,” said Maj. Tanya Beecher, a Fort Knox, Ky., Army operations officer who helps process waiver requests for older enlistees. “We’re pushing it when we request [a waiver] for someone 67.”
Amusing. Apparently, though, the Army really is hurting for dentists and other medical professionals and is going through extraordinary lengths to sign them.