San Diego Union Tribune

June 11, 2005

Marines, Navy, Air Force hit recruit goals

By Otto Kreisher

WASHINGTON – After missing its targets for signing up new recruits for four straight months, the Marine Corps exceeded its goal for May, joining the Navy and the Air Force in filling the monthly recruiting quotas.

The Army failed again, missing its May enlistment quota by 25 percent.

All of the services except the Air Force fell short of recruiting goals for their reserve forces in May, with the Army Reserve and Army National Guard continuing to have the hardest time.

Service leaders and analysts attribute the recruiting failures to concerns by young people and their parents over the growing casualty count in Iraq and the unusually high and extended activation of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve.

The two services suffering most of the casualties in Iraq – the Army and the Marines – are having the most trouble attracting recruits.

The Marines had met or exceeded their monthly recruiting goals for 10 years before falling slightly short in January. That was followed by near misses over the next three months. But because of a well-stocked "delayed entry pool" of recruits who had signed up last year, the Marines have been able to send the required number of recruits to boot camp each month.

The Army missed its recruiting goal in February and has fallen so short since then that its basic training classes are operating at two-thirds of capacity.

The Marines returned to the positive side in May, signing up 61 more recruits than their goal of 1,843 for the active force. Because of successful recruiting in the early part of the fiscal year, which began in October, the Marines are 306 recruits ahead of the cumulative goal of 17,241. They fell 12 percent short of the May goal for the Marine Corps Reserve, but are slightly ahead for the year.

The Navy topped its May recruiting goal of 1,939 by six for the active force. But it fell 6 percent short of its quota for the reserves, putting it nearly 100 recruits short for the year.

The Army missed its May goal of 6,700 recruits by 1,661 for the active-duty force, leaving it 8,321, or 8 percent, behind for the year. The Army National Guard recruited 71 percent of its monthly goal, falling 9,700 behind for the year. The Army Reserve signed up 82 percent of its May goal, going 2,400 short for the year.

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