Lethality

Anchors Aweigh: Navy, Marine Corps Looking for Bright, Fit Recruits

Jan. 24, 2019 | BY David Vergun

The highest-ranking enlisted leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps discussed recruiting challenges in the sea services during a panel at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Ronald Green and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith explained why it isn’t always easy to find the right people to fill the ranks of their respective services in a discussion titled "Maritime Priorities for 2019 from the Senior Enlisted Perspective."

What you need to know

1
People the Navy wants:
The Navy is looking for recruits who are smart, particularly in science, technology, engineering and math-related career fields, Smith said. He noted that the Navy’s subs, planes and ships require high levels of technical expertise.
A helicopter hovers over a ship.
Helicopter Hover
A helicopter, assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262, takes off from the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp in the Philippine Sea, Jan. 23, 2019.
Photo By: Petty Officer 3rd Class Sean Galbreath
VIRIN: 190123-N-SA412-0128
2
People the Marines want:
The Marines also want smart recruits who can operate complex weapons systems. They must be tough as well and be ready to "protect the Marines on their left and right and be willing to lay down their lives for them," Green said. The old recruiting slogan, "The Few, the Proud, the Marines," is still very relevant today, he added. "We’ve never changed."
Marine recruits carry each other.
Fireman's Carry
Recruits with Fox Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, navigate a section of Confidence Course II at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Jan. 8, 2019.
Photo By: Lance Cpl. Jose Gonzalez
VIRIN: 190108-M-EH454-0023
3
Why finding the right people is tough:
Only about 21 percent of Americans are eligible to serve, mainly due to failure to meet physical and educational standards, or getting into trouble with the law, both leaders said. Of that 21 percent, just 1 percent of those are willing to serve, they noted. Many want to go into private industry where they can earn a big paycheck. Others opt for college. Green said an additional hurdle is that some colleges and high schools don’t allow recruiters on their campuses.
Navy performance division recruits carry state flags.
Graduation Performance
Navy performance division recruits carry state flags during a graduation ceremony at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill., Jan. 4, 2018.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Spencer Fling
VIRIN: 190104-N-PL946-1046C
4
Why they say joining the military is a great option:
The services offer college funding help so it doesn’t have to be a choice between joining the military or going to college — you can do both, they said. Also, they said the military offers great job training, from welding and aircraft maintenance to cryptography and culinary arts. They said America benefits when these veterans leave the services because they tend to have the employment and leadership skills that industry needs and they are good citizens.
Marines march in rows during training.
Family Day March
The new Marines of Delta Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, finish almost 13 weeks of training before reuniting with their loved ones on Family Day at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Jan. 10, 2019.
Photo By: Cpl. Brooke C Woods
VIRIN: 190110-M-OQ594-025