Monday, August 08, 2005

Oregon Recruiters Try Unconventional Techniques, Still Fail to Meet Quotas

From today's Oregonian
A 30-foot climbing wall towered over vendors hawking subwoofers and puka shell necklaces at Portland's stop on the Pro Wakeboard Tour. Next to the wall flew a black-and-gold banner promoting "An Army of One." At the base stood Sgt. Richard Ray.

"We're getting more innovative," said Ray, who heads the Army's Gresham recruiting station and who is one of five recruiters who spent the last Saturday afternoon in July working the wakeboard crowd at Blue Lake Park.

Targeting the tanned throng at extreme sports events is one example of the innovations.

The Army sponsors stock cars and drag racers to appeal to speed demons. Cyber-recruiters go after young adults who spend their lives online, and "America's Army," an online computer game that simulates missions in the war on terror, goes after video-game junkies.

But even with new approaches and new enticements -- $20,000 signing bonuses and service terms as short as 18 months -- the Army is struggling to meet the demand for soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe and elsewhere.

As of Wednesday, with just under two months left in the fiscal year, the Portland area's 43 Army recruiters had enlisted 323, nowhere near their goal of 569. The Army also missed its Portland-area goal last year, according to Gary Stauffer, public affairs officer for the Portland battalion.
And for the few nibbles at the $20,000/18-month-terms* bait there are many who are dissuaded by friends and family or disqualified for lack of education, physical ailments, or troubles with the law:
At the Blue Lake wakeboard competition, children clamored for free Army-logo memorabilia while adults tackled the wall. But those of military age -- 17 to 35 for active duty, 17 to 40 for the reserves -- seemed wary.

As a sunburned wakeboarding fan in his 20s signed a release form to climb the wall, his friend said, laughing: "This probably means they're gonna ship you out to Iran at 6 in the morning tomorrow."

At the wakeboard event, a middle-age woman asked Ray for an application for her son. After a few more questions, Ray discovered that the son was trying to escape a troubled past.

"If you can't hack it in high school," Ray said later, "what makes you think you can make it in the real world?"

More than half of the people who want to join the Army get turned away.... Among the ineligible are those who lack a GED certificate or high school diploma, score low on a standardized career aptitude test, suffer physical ailments or have a criminal record.

"We're finding that even though a young man or young woman may be interested in going, they're possibly being discouraged by a parent or another influencer in their life."
Hmm, targeting pro wakeboarding fans, car racing fans, and video game fans doesn't seem to be working. If only there were a group of young men and women for the recruiters to target, young folks in peak physical condition, possessing high school (and maybe some college) education, with no criminal record, whose friends and family all believe in President George AWOL Bush and his Struggle Against Ideological Extremists Who Do Not Believe In Free Societies Who Happen To Use Terror As A Weapon To Try To Shake The Conscience Of The Free World. Instead of the "Fans of the X Games" crowd, maybe they should look toward the "Fans of the W Wars" crowd.

The Kenosha Kid noted the usual reply from a typical Yellow Elephant: "You don't have to be a firefighter to support the fire department, so what's your point?" Digby's point is good, but here's how I reply: "True, you do not have to be a firefighter to support the fire department. But if you just appointed a serial arsonist to be commissioner of the fire department and your house mysteriously catches fire, your neighbors and the overworked firefighters have every right to expect you to grab your garden hose and start spraying."

* Somebody might want to explain to my brother-in-law how that 18-month-term thing works out. He signed up for one of those old-fashioned 24-month terms in the National Guard and is now approaching his fourth full year in Afghanistan fixing Apache helicopters thanks to stop-loss.


At 08 August, 2005 22:32, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oregon has a republican senator that mamkes them a terrorist state

At 09 August, 2005 03:48, Anonymous Happenstance said...

Maybe the Armed Forces need to totally overhaul their image.

Step One: Stop calling it "war" and start calling it "Mortal Kombat XXX-TREME!!" ("Dude, we totally PWNED Terroraq! Now--finish 'em!!")

Step Two: Get rid of all the armored transports and replace them with rocket-powered skateboards mounted with surface-to-air missiles. Or flying motorcycles like the ones in Megaforce, that would be totally radical.

Step Three: Create new G.I.Joe and Rambo cartoons--dude, like, duh.

Step Four: Depict amputees as futuristic Terminator-like supercyborgs.

Step Five: Replace the Purple Heart with a X-Box--and call the free burial at Arlington a "case mod."

At 09 August, 2005 10:25, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lacking a GED does not disqualify a young person for signing up. I know a wonderful young man who is 17 and has not graduated from high school or gotten a GED. No problem, says the recruiter. Just hang out with the recruiter for 80 hours and we can forget about the graduation thing.

At 09 August, 2005 13:15, Anonymous Anonymous said...

not too many essays to write while out killing sand niggers?

At 09 August, 2005 16:42, Anonymous Mook said...

The "logic" OYE espouses is absolutely ridiculous. To be clear, it asserts one can't support the war on terror / Bush / the Republican platform / etc. without having first served in the military.

We have a volunteer army. If you don't agree with the war, you don't have to sign up. Indeed newspapers are reporting the military is falling short of recruitment, and that can be interpreted as an aggregate decline in support. But to suggest that someone's position is invalid because of a lack of experience, (i.e., military service), _when you yourself are lacking the very same experience_ negates the foundation for your assertion.

I'd be interested in seeing CREDIBLE polling data that breaks down the party affiliation of our armed men and women. I suspect that given we do not have a draft, most would consider themselves Republican, especially because compensation alone does not make enlistment a particularly desirable choice.

To reiterate, don't attack others' views citing lack of experience if you don't have the experience yourself. It's childish. Stick to advertising and let the adults handle policy decisions.

I read comments suggesting Bush and his administration is preying on America's youth to fight this war. Is it really such a surprise that 18 to 30 year-olds overwhelmingly believe they're immortal? The war, believe it or not, is about more than simply increasingly the nation's supply to cheap oil. It's about preserving a way of life. It's about providing opportunities for others to lead life as he or she chooses, and disagree with government without fear of retaliation. It's about the right to create a gimicky yellow logo and use poor logic to attack policy.

Do you not understand this war manifests Voltaire's statement; I disagree with what you say, but I will fight to the death to defend your right to say it? Do you not understand complacency maintains a status quo, keeping innocent men, women and children in oppression?

Yes, it hurts to fight this war, especially when a son or daughter, father or mother, friend or relative gives the ultimate sacrifice. I know that pain and wish it on nobody. Yet the sacrifice, or lack of sacrifice does NOT make an opinion more or less valid.

At 09 August, 2005 17:31, Blogger burnplant said...


No one here is saying you have to be a veteran to speak out for or against the war. You are misreading the mission from the get-go.

We have a volunteer army because the President is more concerned with politics and polls than correctly doing the job he started in Iraq. If he could admit that he needs more troops to "preserve life" and "provide opportunity" (when did those become the reasons for invasion?) he would certainly need more than a volunteer army. But with midterms coming up, don't expect that to happen.

The volunteer army isn't working, it keeps guardsmen and reservists serving much longer than they should be asked to serve. All the Yellow Elephants and Chickenhawks point to the "volunteer" army as their get-out-of-jail-free-card. It's a lie, and if you buy that lie your argument is flawed from the beginning.

College and Young Republicans vote for, lobby for, push for, cheat for, and lie for every part of this war except the part that might require them to put their asses on the line. That's the problem.

At 09 August, 2005 17:37, Anonymous arensb said...

Among the ineligible are those who lack a GED certificate or high school diploma, score low on a standardized career aptitude test, suffer physical ailments or have a criminal record.

Not to mention the ones who love the wrong kind of person.

At 09 August, 2005 21:07, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we want MORE rpeublicans to join the army so that MORE republicans will be killed by brown people and this includes republican asspounders

At 09 August, 2005 22:03, Anonymous Happenstance said...

Mook claps his hands over his ears, squeezes his eyelids shut, and throws himself on the floor, kicking and screaming at the top of his lungs, lest reality invade his feeble mind.

It's simple, simp. You love this war? Go fight it. Can't fight it? Start getting on your government reps--including President Vacation Boy--to get the troops what they need to survive, and get them out ASAP...AND reward them properly for their service and sacrifice afterwards.

Ah, but the average Yellow Elephant thinks differently, of course. He parties at home or college, concerned only with how things affect HIM. He'll bravely fight "a war of words," then laugh as the GOP slashes benefits for the survivors of their idiot war plans--dreaming of tax cuts and cheap gas.

They fancy themselves "members of the club" who will one day succeed Cheney and his little puppet. I wish I could see the look on every one of their faces when each one figures out they're just another pawn in the game.

At 09 August, 2005 22:29, Blogger Jamie said...

Hey young republicans - Join an army of keggers and tax-breaks. Spend your summer enjoying the sun of the Green Zone and help paint it Yellow. You can do it.

I read a post somewhere the other day that a man went to his local recruiter and said he would like to help the Army out. This guy was older and couldn't enlist. He asked the recruiters for a bunch of cards to hand out. Now whenever he sees a big F.U. mobile with that little yellow ribbon, he hands them a card and says "go ahead and support our troops". I love that plan!!


At 09 August, 2005 23:52, Blogger disabledvet said...

You're assertion that many in the service voted for Bush has a number of problems.
First: How many of these guys were underage when the election was held? Many signed up as soon as they turned 18 AFTER 9/11!
Second: Recruiters tend to recruit in the lower socioeconomic classes that tend to vote Democratic. Rich kids don't need to escape poverty, earn money for college, get training for a career on someone else's dime, etc. Mom and Dad can buy that stuff for them!
Third: Most people in the military are aware that although the Republicans talk a good game, their chances of getting raises, better benefits, etc. are better with the Dems. As a disabled vet, I've watched W take the VA from free perscription drugs to the point where I am paying more now that most people with a decent Insurance program (Thats just 1 example - I got more!)
Finally, a lot of soldiers who did vote for Bush were Conned bigtime! You can't blame them - he tricked an awful lot of civilians too. And soldiers tend to be younger (18, 19) and therefore a little easier to con than someone who remembers Tricky Dick.

At 09 August, 2005 23:56, Anonymous Anonymous said...

why are they turning all these volunteer facists away? what qualification does it take to be cannon fodder?

At 10 August, 2005 00:13, Blogger disabledvet said...

They're not - what are you talking about?
Warm body, fog on the mirror - You're in boy!
Qualification=show up
If they turn anyone down its for mental and physical reasons. Usually not even then.

At 10 August, 2005 07:21, Blogger zelda1 said...

I don't understand why Bush's daughters haven't enlisted. It would make their father so proud and it would show the rest of the Americans that the Bush family walks the walk. But then why should they enlist? They don't have to have an education paid for by loans or, like in many of the enlisted men and women, by the military. They don't need insurance, money for a home, or even money for a down payment on a nice car. But you'd think that they would do it because it is a cause their father believes in. By the way, my uncle was a prisoner of war during WWII and one of my brothers died during Vietnam and the other one, well he was captured for a short time, but fortuanately for him he was rescued within the first three days. The brother, who was killed, died the day before his 21 birthday. When I see a recruiter at the university where I attend, I tell the students hanging around the booth, run for your lives, you don't want to go fight a rich man's war, you don't want to kill or be killed. Run, run, he is the boogey man that was under your bed and you never saw. It pisses the recruiters off but hey, I do what I can to influences the young people to do the right thing and the right things isn't going to war.

At 10 August, 2005 08:03, Blogger Karl said...

Jenna Bush would be a real star on the U.S. Army Women's Mud-Wrestling Team!

Let's continue to encourage her to consider Army opportunities:

Ms. Jenna Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington DC 20500


At 10 August, 2005 14:16, Anonymous Anonymous said...

facists wont let womyn in combat

At 11 August, 2005 18:23, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 12 August, 2005 19:38, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 16 August, 2005 01:07, Anonymous stevenyc said...



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