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All Services Set to Make 2002 Recruiting Goals

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2002 – The Army threw a very public party today to mark the service's meeting its recruitment goals for 2002. And the news is just as good across the services.

Army officials held a press conference and swearing-in ceremony in the Pentagon courtyard to swear in the 79,500th soldier recruited this year. That means the Army met its active duty recruiting goal nearly six weeks before the end of the fiscal year.

Army retention rates are so high, that service announced on Aug. 16 that it had suspended all re-enlistment bonuses for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Air Force officials said in early May they had enough people contracted to start basic training to more than cover their recruiting goal of 37,283 for this year. That is the earliest that service has met its annual goal since 1986, officials said.

The Navy and Marines define recruiting goals a little differently. They don't count someone as recruited until that individual "ships" to boot camp. Still, those services say they have more than enough potential recruits identified to meet their recruiting goals by the end of the fiscal year.

The Marines intend to enlist 38,642 recruits this year. Sgt. Jimmie Perkins, a spokesman for Marine Corps Recruiting Command in Quantico, Va., said 31,523 had shipped as of July 31.

The service has a higher number of people who have signed contracts, he said, "but it really only matters once they go to boot camp."

For the past several months, the Marines have been running about 3 percent ahead of their monthly recruiting goals, and the service has met its monthly goals for 84 consecutive months.

"That's seven years of meeting recruiting goals. It's a pretty big deal around here," Perkins said. "Marines are walking around with a lot of pride over that."

The Navy has dropped its recruiting goals four times during the year because they're retaining sailors at "unprecedented rates," Cmdr. Steve Lowry said.

Lowry, public affairs officer for Navy Recruiting Command in Millington, Tenn., said the sea service is well on its way to meeting its annual recruitment goal of 46,500. Like the Marines, the Navy doesn't count a recruit until the individual ships to boot camp.

Since the Navy has only one boot camp and its schedule is closely mapped out early in the year, the service isn't likely to hit its goal of recruits shipped until close to Sept. 30. But, Lowry said, the Navy has more than enough recruits contracted to meet that goal and many others are preparing to ship out to boot camp after the start of fiscal 2003.

Lowry said quality-of-life improvements in the military have a lot to do with good recruitment rates, and the sluggish economy with rising unemployment rates don't exactly hurt. But, he said, most of the credit goes to hardworking recruiters.

"Those are dedicated sailors out there working to identify future shipmates," he said.

Army Undersecretary Les Brownlee echoed that sentiment during today's Pentagon ceremony. He said achieving 100 percent of recruitment goals is "a testament to the hard work of many dedicated people and organizations."

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