As the South Florida real estate market disintegrated and the number of jobless rose, 40-year-old Jorge Gil Muela made a young man's decision.
A 185-pound Muela will report for duty at Fort Sill, Okla., next month, leaving his wife, children and grandchildren behind in Miami.
''It's the only answer for me to secure our way of life right now,'' he said soberly, noting that the 21st century GI bill means that he can pass college benefits along to his 18-year-old son.
Muela's tale shows how the financial crisis may be subtly aiding the Army, which struggled to meet its recruitment goals in 2004 and 2005.
Muela was able to become ''GI Jorge'' because Congress in 2006 raised the Army's age cap from 35 to 42.
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