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Military looks for new recruits at State Fair

Posted October 25, 2009

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— If you attended the North Carolina State Fair this year, you likely saw military recruiters. Despite the job hazards presented by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, active duty and reserve recruiting numbers are up.

Military recruiting booming in down economy Military recruiting booming

During the budget year which ended Sept. 30, the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps met recruiting goals for the first time since 1973, according to the Associated Press.

Recruiter Sgt. Matthew Newberry credits the down economy and increase in pay to the military market boom.

"The economy does play a factor and it does help right now. It helps with recruiting,” Newberry said while recruiting Sunday at the State Fair.

Newberry said one of the most common questions he gets from potential recruits is about benefits. The Army is currently offering $50,000 in benefits for a two-year commitment.

"With everything that is going on, I would like to do my part,” potential Army recruit John Stanley said.

Stanley, 32, said the weak job market is among the many reasons he is considering joining the Army.

"Just the opportunities it presents in general for other doors to open up for me,” Stanley said.

However, becoming a soldier is not as easy at it used to be because the Army has raised its minimum education requirements.

“You have to be a traditional high school graduate to come in now. They are no longer accepting GEDs,” Newberry said.

To help expand the recruiting pool, the Army three years ago boosted the maximum age for active-duty forces to 42.

Newberry said the Army is also getting a lot of interest from recent college graduates at its more than 1,600 recruiting stations nationwide. With tens of thousands of layoffs since last fall, many graduates are having a tough time finding a civilian job.

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  • ScottW76 Oct 30, 2009

    Coming back kind of late, but yeah, some people have hardships that they have to drop out of HS for. Sometimes a GED is the only option if they don't have time to go back for the full HS diploma. I did 10.5 active and then 2 in the Guard before hanging up the uniform at the end of '07, but this is the first I've heard about this. I don't oppose it because I'm sure they have their reasons. Just curious as to why this decision was made and what brought it about.

  • mpheels Oct 27, 2009

    I'm a little taken aback by the HS requirement. Maybe that could accept GED + meeting some additional requirements? There are plenty of reasons beyond pure laziness for a student to get a GED. Plus there is something to be said for a person who reevaluates their choices and decides to make good by getting a GED, to me that demonstrates a certain level of determination and maturity. The truly lazy would just drop out of school and never even bother with the test...

  • OSX Oct 26, 2009

    For some reason, I think the Usmc started back in the 80's requiring High School.

  • Big Bill Oct 26, 2009

    I like that a diploma is required to enter the armed forces now. It shows a willingness to commit to a program and stay with it to its completion. Dedication is key to a strong military.

    Who would want a military full of soldiers (sailors, airmen and Marines) who took the easy route (“High school is too hard, I think I’ll just quit and take a test.”) protecting our country?

  • RonnieR Oct 26, 2009

    Scott, because there are enough with HS. I heartily recommend the Armed Forces for anyone that is young enough and able enough.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Oct 26, 2009

    That's what stands out for me, too. I think well of people who make the effort to go back and get their GED. Maybe schools tell kids that to keep them from dropping out in the first place.

  • ScottW76 Oct 26, 2009

    Wow, now you can't get in with a GED? Wonder when and why that came about?