of the all-volunteer force, evidence seemed to support the prediction that military recruits would be drawn disproportionately from the nation's lower socioeconomic classes. Since the mid-1980s, however, studies suggest that military recruits tend to come from families in both the middle and lower half of the SES distribution. At the same time, although recruits can be found at all SES levels, persons at the top and the bottom of the scale are underrepresented. These studies, it should be noted, have examined enlisted recruits only and have not taken into account officers, who enter the military as college graduates (U.S. Department of Defense, 1997).

Occupational Distribution of Women and Racial/Ethnic Groups

Table 6.2 shows the distribution of men and women in the Army's active-duty enlisted force by occupational area. Almost one-third of all male soldiers serve in the Army's general combat

TABLE 6.2

Percentage Distribution of Army Enlisted Personnel, Active Duty, by Occupational Area and Gender, September 1996

Occupational Area and Codea

Male

Female

Total

(0) Infantry, gun crews, and seamanship specialities

32.9

5.8

29.0

(1) Electronic equipment repairers

6.9

4.8

6.6

(2) Communications and intelligence specialists

9.9

8.1

9.6

(3) Medical and dental specialists

6.1

15.9

7.5

(4) Other allied specialists

2.9

2.7

2.9

(5) Functional support and administration

13.3

36.2

16.6

(6) Electrical/mechanical equipment repairers

14.6

8.3

13.7

(7) Craftsmen

2.0

1.6

1.9

(8) Service and supply handlers

10.9

16.3

11.6

(9) Nonoccupational

0.6

0.4

0.6

Totalb

100.0

100.0

100.0

a Based on the Department of Defense (DoD) occupational conversion index. DoD numerical designator appears in parentheses.

b Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

SOURCE: Defense Manpower Data Center, Monterey, California.



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