Military Service Out of Reach for Most Young Adults in Philadelphia

Jun 10, 2010, 12:38 ET from Mission: Readiness

DA Joins Retired PA Generals to Issue Report Calling for Stronger Support For State and Federal Early Learning Programs to Address National Security Issue

PHILADELPHIA, June 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Military service is out of reach for the vast majority of young adults in Philadelphia, according to a new report to be released on Monday, June 14 by Mission: Readiness, a national nonprofit group composed of more than 145 retired generals and admirals, including eight from Pennsylvania. The report will show that 75% of young adults nationwide – and an even larger percentage of young Philadelphians – are currently ineligible to join the military due to high dropout, juvenile crime and obesity rates.

Three retired Army generals from Pennsylvania, joined by District Attorney R. Seth Williams and Dr. Eugene J. Richardson, an original Tuskegee Airman from Philadelphia, will urge state and federal lawmakers to support high-quality early education programs as one way to increase graduation rates, cut future crime rates and ultimately expand the number of Philadelphia youth that qualify for military service and its advancement opportunities. The retired military brass will specifically ask Pennsylvania's State Legislature to retain current funding levels for the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Program and other early learning continuum programs that are serving thousands of City children, and ask the state's Congressional delegation to support the renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, including incentives for states to provide more children with access to high-quality pre-kindergarten programs.


News conference to release national security/pre-kindergarten report


Lieutenant General Dennis Benchoff (Ret.), U.S. Army (former Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Recruiting Command)

Major General William Burns (Ret.), U.S. Army (former Deputy Commandant, U.S. Army War College)

Major General Joe Perugino (Ret.), U.S. Army (former Commander, 28th Infantry Div. PA National Guard)

Hon. R. Seth Williams, Philadelphia District Attorney; Major, Judge Advocate General Corps – U.S. Army Reserves

Dr. Eugene J. Richardson, Jr., Philadelphia educator and Tuskegee airman who served in World War II

Amy Dawson Taggart, National Director, Mission: Readiness

Also attending: The Adjutant General, Major General Jessica Wright, PA National Guard


June 14, 2010 at 1:30 p.m.


The Armory, First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry

22 South 23rd Street (near Market and Chestnut Streets)    

Parking available at adjacent lot on 23rd Street or street parking.

PA Army National Guard Recruiter will be present for follow-up media questions.

B-Roll available of Pre-K classroom and military basic training

Mission: Readiness is the nonprofit, bi-partisan organization of senior retired military leaders ensuring continued American security and prosperity into the 21st century by calling for smart investments in the next generation of American children.

CONTACTS: Steve Doster, Office: 717-233-1521  Cell: 717-222-2281

Mike Kiernan, Office: 202-464-7016, Cell: 202-412-7579,    

SOURCE Mission: Readiness