The Air Force said today that it is winning its "war on recruiting" by reaching this year's goal with the recent signing of the 34,000th enlistment contract in Mt. Vernon, Ill.
With 26,070 new airmen sent to basic training since the beginning of the fiscal year, the Air Force has enough contracts with new recruits to enter basic training by Sept. 30 to meet its annual goal.
"This is a great accomplishment for not only our recruiters, but for the entire United States Air Force," said Secretary of the Air Force Whit Peters,. "We made recruiting a top priority this year and are pleased to see the initial fruits of our labor. However, we won't let up; we will continue to work hard to reach both our future recruiting and retention goals."
Last year, the Air Force missed its recruiting goal for the first time in 20 years. An increase in the number of recruiters, targeted enlistment bonuses in hard to fill areas and months, and a first-ever paid television advertising campaign contributed to this year's success.
In addition to increasing its overall manning, the Air Force deployed 100 recruiters from headquarters and staff positions for 90 days, recalled 170 former recruiters to serve 120 days on temporary duty status and deferred assignments for nearly 100 recruiters. This boosted its number of "on the street" recruiters from less than 900 last fall to approximately 1,300 current recruiters.
"Our front-line recruiters and the entire Air Force Recruiting team are doing excellent work," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Ryan,. "They've responded to the challenge and we are extremely pleased with the quantity and quality of our new recruits. We will continue to make recruiting and retention a top priority."
Even with 34,000 sign-ups in hand, recruiters are still hard at work recruiting additional candidates in anticipation of possible cancellations and to begin filling an expected 34,600 new jobs for next year.
"We really don't yet have the time to stop and celebrate, " said Brig. Gen. (select) Duane Deal, Air Force Recruiting Service commander. "This is an indicator of how hard our recruiters are working, but we still have a daunting challenge ahead of us."
Recruits cite the opportunity to further their education as the top reason for joining the Air Force, according to a recent survey. All new recruits are automatically enrolled in the Community College of the Air Force, the only accredited junior college among the armed services.
"When our great recruiters talk to young people today, they recognize that joining the Air Force equals enrolling in college - it's automatic on their enlistment, and new trainees earn between 15 and 72 college hours when they complete training, depending on their skill areas. Added to that, they are gaining a skill, immediate responsibility and being part of the world's greatest aerospace team," Deal said.
With an ever-increasing emphasis placed on high-tech operations and weapon systems, the Air Force is recruiting the best of America's youth. Young people entering today's Air Force can qualify for more than 200 skills. The Air Force is currently placing special emphasis on recruiting qualified high school graduates and college students interested in electronic and mechanical fields.
For more information on the recruiting program, contact Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs, Randolph AFB, Texas at (210) 652-5993 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information about Air Force career opportunities, visit the Air Force Recruiting Service web site at http://www.airforce.com