Military Drinking Age Bill Proposed

A Wisconsin State Representative thinks the drinking age for those serving their country in the U.S. military should be lowered.

Representative Mark Pettis considers it “unconscionable” those adults age 19 and 20 can risk their lives defending their country but can’t legally have a drink. The U. S. military recognizes 19 and 20-year-olds as the adults they are. Therefore, it grants them great responsibility, including the command of others, the operation of complex and dangerous weapons, and the ability to make major split-second decisions. Persons who are 19 and 20 are clearly adults and the military treats them as such.

Representative Pettis proposes that a two-year pilot program be enacted permitting adults over 18 serving in the active military to consume alcoholic beverages. Lawmakers could then determine if young adults serving in the military are mature enough to drink in moderation legally.

However, if Wisconsin passes the legislation it could lose millions of dollars in federal highway aid. Therefore, the legislator says the bill wouldn’t become law unless the state could get a waiver from the government to protect that aid.


  • Military drinking age bill. WKOW TV News Headlines, March 1, 2005, 6:33 pm.