WASHINGTON - The US Army said Wednesday it is raising the maximum age for enlistment from 40 to 42 in an effort to expand its pool of potential recruits.

The move comes just six months after the army raised the maximum age from 35 to 40, reflecting continuing concerns about recruiting even though it has met its monthly goals for the past 12 months.

"Experience has shown that older recruits who can meet the physical demands of military service generally make excellent soldiers based on their maturity, motivation, loyalty, and patriotism," the army recruiting command said in a statement.

It said recruits between the ages of 40 to 42 must meet the same physical standards as younger ones but will be subjected to additional medical screening.

Both men and women in that age bracket can enlist and are eligible for the same signing bonuses and other incentives as younger recruits.

The command said more than 1,000 individuals over the age of 35 have enlisted since the maximum age was raised in January.

The next four months are crucial to the army's efforts to enlist 80,000 new recruits this fiscal year. Last year it fell about eight percent short of the mark.

The service will have to meet higher recruiting targets in the last four months than they did last year to reach the 80,000 mark.

06/21/2006 19:47 GMT

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