Army Should Let Patriotic Deaf Man Enlist

rotcKeith Nolan really wants to serve in the army, but the trouble is, he's deaf. And as of now, the army doesn't allow the hearing disabled to sign up. Nolan and a California congressman might be able to change that though, especially after Nolan's latest performance. After 10 years of petitioning for a spot in the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) at California State University at Northridge, Nolan was finally granted a spot when an officer agreed to let him audit classes. The rest is hooah history.

Nolan was the star performer in the classes, even showing up for the 5 a.m. runs. The officers were really impressed with his performance and let him wear a uniform even though, again, he was just sitting in on the classes. But when it came time to "graduate" from the program, that's where Nolan's road ended.


Since Nolan couldn't pass the required hearing test to be commissioned into the army, his army dream ended when the ROTC classes were over. But like a real fighter, Nolan isn't giving up that easily. Through a sign language interpreter, he said:

All I really want to do is join the Army. I want to do my duty, serve my country and experience that camaraderie, and I can't, owed to the fact that I'm deaf. I am convinced that there is a non-combat position that I can do in the military without harming our armed forces' effectiveness and readiness.

One of the officers of the ROTC classes said Nolan was a top performer, and got a perfect score in his military science class. Top performer and acing classes? Can't we give this guy a job somewhere in the armed forces? When anyone has the desire to perform and the skills to perform, they shouldn't be denied a job. That's the stuff model employees are made of.

His congressman agrees. Representative Henry A. Waxman is trying to sponsor a bill that would allow deaf people to join the army.

While I see it from both sides, I think that Nolan's specific aptitude and drive outweigh any "dangers" he might pose since he's unable to hear. He's an extremely capable 29-year-old man with the training and background to become a valued member of our armed forces, so I hope his dream of serving for the US Army comes true.

If you want to support Nolan's cause, you can "like" his Facebook page called Commission Cadet Nolan Now.

What do you think?

Photo via MVWorks/Flickr (photo not of Keith Nolan nor his ROTC group)

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