National Guard misses recruiting goal for 9th straight month
As a former Guardsman, I can tell you that the #1 reason I joined was to find a way to pay for college. I didn't want to be in the Active Duty military; I had my schooling and my music to consider. But also, I wasn't actively lobbying President Reagan to invade and occupy any Middle Eastern countries at the time, either.
The idea of a weekend a month and two weeks a year in service to my country was just the right level of commitment for me at that time. I also liked that I would be stationed in my own state and could remain close to friends and family.
Finally, it was philosophically easier to accept that I was more likely to be filling sandbags during a flood or providing support for a forest fire and not shooting at other people and trying not to get blown up. After all, the Guard would only be mobilized for real, active duty warfare on the slim chance that we were invaded or some other national emergency. This was back in the late-1980's when we still believed in the Guard as only a support force of last resort.
So it is no big surprise that the National Guard has missed its recruiting goal for the ninth straight month. If potential Guardsmen wanted a full-time job shooting people in the desert, they would have joined the regular Army -- and apparently, not many people want that job, either.
The Army Guard was seeking 5,032 new soldiers in June but signed up only 4,337, a 14 percent shortfall, according to statistics released Monday by the Pentagon. It is more than 10,000 soldiers behind its year-to-date goal of almost 45,000 recruits, and has missed its recruiting target during at least 17 of the last 18 months.With the tremendous shortfall of new recruits for the President's Glorious Mission to Democratize the Middle East by Blowing The Hell Out Of It, now is the time, more than ever, to encourage those young College Republican war supporters to visit their National Guard Recruiter. If the plan to keep half the Guard forces stateside proves true, then our Yellow Elephants have a fifty/fifty chance of spending their Guard service stateside, as did President Bush and I. Then they can serve their weekend-a-month, two-weeks-a-year and cheerlead for the war with a clear conscience.
Some governors have complained about shortages of troops and equipment in their Guard units, prompting the Guard to set a goal of keeping half of each state's Guard forces at home at any given time.
Guard troops make up more than one-third of the soldiers in Iraq, numbering six brigades plus a division headquarters. In the next rotation of troops, to take place over the next two years, the Guard's portion of the total force in Iraq is expected to drop substantially as newly reorganized active-duty Army units come on-line and take up more duties there, officials said.
The entire Army is suffering from recruiting problems, but the other components of the service -- the active-duty force and the Reserve -- made their goals for June. Both, however, remain well behind their annual goals, which they measure from October 2004 to September 2005.
The regular Army has recruited 47,121 soldiers, or 86 percent of its goal of 54,935 for this point in the year. It is trying to reach 80,000 by the end of September. Officials are becoming less hopeful they will make it, even though the summer is considered the high season for recruiting, as recent high school graduates look for jobs.
The Army Reserve has recruited 15,540 soldiers, or 79 percent of its goal of 19,753 at this point in the year.