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Jeremy Staat was a college roomate of Pat Tillman. Like Tillman he moved on to an NFL career, playing defense for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the St. Louis Rams.
Like Tillman, he's decided to play defense for America:
Staat said he was felt compelled to join the military after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks but Tillman, who was his roommate at Arizona State, advised him to stay with professional football until he qualified for retirement benefits.PFC Jeremy Staat, USMC, graduated from the San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Friday.
"He told me, 'You're a good player, you need to get good play.' Then four months later, at his wedding, I learn he's going to the Army," Staat said.
Tillman's death gave him "more motivation" to enlist, Staat said.
The Army Guard said Friday that it signed up more than 26,000 soldiers in the first five months of fiscal 2006, exceeding its target by 7 percent in its best performance in 13 years. At this pace, Guard leaders say they are confident they will reach their goal of boosting manpower from the current 336,000 to the congressionally authorized level of 350,000 by the end of the year.The Washington Post attributes the turn around to bonus money ($2,000) offered to members for recruiting others into the service.
"Will we make 350,000? The answer is: Absolutely," said Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau.
The rebound is striking because since 2003, the Army Guard has performed worse in annual recruiting than any other branch of the U.S. military. The Guard was shrinking while it was being asked to shoulder a big part of the burden in Iraq. Together with the Army Reserve, it supplied as many as 40 percent of the troops in Iraq while also dispatching tens of thousands of members to domestic disasters.
Today, the Guard is surpassing its goals and growing in strength -- a welcome boost for an all-volunteer Army stretched thin by unprecedented deployments. In recent months, the Guard enlisted nearly as many troops as the active-duty Army, even though it is a much smaller force. Indeed, the Army Guard, present in about 3,500 U.S. communities, will launch pilot programs this year to recruit for the entire Army.
"We're seeing quantum leaps," said Lt. Gen. Clyde A. Vaughn, director of the Army National Guard. "We should probably be America's recruiter for the Army."
DOD: All Active-Duty Branches Exceeded February Recruiting GoalsOn the other end of some military careers, desertion rates continue to plummet, a trend that continues from 9/11.
The Army achieved 102 percent of its goal with 6,114 recruits; the Navy, 104 percent of its goal with 2,696 recruits; the Marines also got 104 percent of its goal with 1,734 recruits; and the Air Force made 101 percent of its goal with 2,375 recruits, the figures show.
Of the reserve components, the Air Force Reserve made 117 percent of its February goal with 573 recruits and the Army Reserve made 101 percent of its goal with 6,583 recruits, the figures show
The Navy Reserve made 81 percent of its goal with 710 recruits; the Marine Corps Reserve made 86 percent of its goal with 469 recruits; the Air National Guard made 88 percent of its goal with 680 recruits; and the Army Reserve made 97 percent of its goal with 2,279 recruits, the figures show.
WASHINGTON, March 7 (UPI) -- Desertions from the all-volunteer U.S. military have dropped to half the number faced at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, a report said.More:
The 2005 desertion rate was 0.24 percent of the 1.4 million members of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines. In 2001 there were just over 9,500 desertions from all services, while last year there were just over 4,900.
Vietnam-era desertions were far higher. In 1971, the U.S. Army had more than 33,000 desertions, a desertion rate of 3.4 percent.
Some 8,000 U.S. military members have deserted since the start of the war in Iraq in the fall of 2003 -- the vast majority while still in the United States.
Desertion numbers have dropped since 9/11. The Army, Navy and Air Force reported 7,978 desertions in 2001, compared with 3,456 in 2005. The Marines showed 1,603 deserters in 2001. That declined by 148 in 2005.Oddly, USA Today offers two versions of this story online - with two different headlines:
The desertion rate was much higher during the Vietnam era. The Army saw a high of 33,094 deserters in 1971 — 3.4% of the Army force. But there was a draft and the active-duty force was 2.7 million.
Desertions in 2005 represent 0.24% of the 1.4 million U.S. forces.
Opposition to the war prompts a small fraction of desertions, says Army spokeswoman Maj. Elizabeth Robbins. “People always desert, and most do it because they don't adapt well to the military,” she says. The majority of desertions happen inside the USA, Robbins says. There is only one known case of desertion in Iraq.
Most deserters return without coercion. Commander Randy Lescault, spokesman for the Naval Personnel Command, says that between 2001 and 2005, 58% of Navy deserters walked back in. Of the rest, most are apprehended during traffic stops.
That second one may be designed to appeal to the "reality-based" community.
But that's service - its all a matter of choice.
Update: More here.
I have heard that they have really had to lower their qualification standards to keep replacement levels up to need: accepting lower test & academic scores and higher criminal-offense (drug, etc.) issues.
Know anything about that?Posted by nealjking at March 12, 2006 02:38 PM
Paul Harvey was saying that the academies are having high turn-down rates. Is that true? (It doesn't seem to me as important as the figures you give anyway, but when I heard that, I wondered if it was spin or truth.)Posted by Ginny at March 12, 2006 02:45 PM
I've seen reports that academy applications are down - but as these are among the most exclusive schools in the nation the vast majority of applicants will still be turned away.
A GAO report from last fall revealed that 58% of age-eligible youths couldn't meet military entry-level standards for health, education, aptitude, and other requirements - and were thus ineligible to serve. In other words, the majority of American youth were not qualified for military service.
An example - 6 minor traffic tickets disqualified a potential recruit for service in the Army.
Quote: "The total number of those ineligible was about 14 million, leaving only 10 million qualified. But of those, the report said 6 million go to college, leaving only 4 million potential recruits."
Thus followed the lowered standards. But that just scratches the surface of the issue. More details here.Posted by Greyhawk at March 12, 2006 04:22 PM
The Marine Corps has not reduced their qualification standards and they have exceded their goals (104%). The Corps was at 102% for FY2005. Retention rates are in the 115% if memory serves.
The Army supposedly doubled their CatIV recruit quota - from 2% to 4% if memory serves. If they are recruiting at 102% than they are not recruiting into the CatIVs. I am certain you want folks with GEDs that are not on the Deans List of a College or University to be able to join the military - don't you???
As noted above, the CatIVs don't include about 58% of our public schooled kiddies that can't read, write, multiply, run, do pull-ups, or a couple of push-ups. I think that is more an issue with the public school system when over half of their graduates can't meet basic mental and physical requirements for the military. Was it always this way - or did you vote for it since the 60's?Posted by Boghie at March 12, 2006 04:56 PM
I'm glad to see the Rep. Murtha's active campaign against recruitment did not affect the numbers.Posted by Jim Hoft at March 12, 2006 05:42 PM
"I think that is more an issue with the public school system when over half of their graduates can't meet basic mental and physical requirements for the military. Was it always this way - or did you vote for it since the 60's?"
We voted for it since the 60's. Many honest educaters will say that you can have quality education, or equality education, but not both.Posted by Soldier's Dad at March 12, 2006 06:09 PM
"Paul Harvey was saying that the academies are having high turn-down rates. Is that true?"
"I have heard that they have really had to lower their qualification standards to keep replacement levels up to need: accepting lower test & academic scores and higher criminal-offense (drug, etc.) issues."
Well, when the service academies have over 11,000 applicants for 2000 slots, I don't see how 200 or 300 fewer applicants returning their packages could have any effect on the caliber or number of officers out the back end of the school.
And I am unaware of any reduction in qualification standards for recruits whatsoever. The qualification standards today are pretty much what they were 5 or 10 years ago.
Just because more young Men and Women have recognized that someone has to actually serve and fight to protect our lives I don't see how anyone can paint that as they are being duped or maybe they aren't the creme de la creme (excuse my French) of our society. Perhaps the only standards that have changed are the standards which say youngsters who enlist to defend America are worthy of our respect and our admiration for their service.
One of the finest sailors I ever served with, and a Man who taught me much about standing watch and running nuclear reactors was only in the Navy because the judge told him, "4 years in the service or 20 years for grand theft auto, which'll it be, boy." Thank God he chose the service. It made a Man of him, a nuke out of me, and a better person out of most who came near him. He told us how joining the Navy had saved him from a life of crime and prison, and made him much happier today than he ever thought he would have been.
These are good statistics. There is no reasonable way to make this a bad story. Those who try are looking to hurt America or find fault where none exists. I guess that gives "reality-based" a whole new meaning to me. Sorry if that offends you. Get over it.
"maybe they aren't the creme de la creme (excuse my French) of our society."
Subsunk, I beg to differ. Virtually everyone in uniform not in the brig is a far better citizen than almost all of their contemporaries on the campuses of Harvard, Yale, or any school of your choice. They are indeed the creme de la creme, and we are damned lucky to have them, even though most of us don't deserve them or their service, regardless of how they come to serve.Posted by Tim at March 12, 2006 07:42 PM
Going back to the issue of standards:
This is probably what I read some time ago that gave me a different impression:
It's a NYT article from 10/1/04: "Its Recruitment Goals Pressing, the Army Will Ease Some Standards."
Is it incorrect, or are we talking about different interpretations?Posted by nealjking at March 12, 2006 09:37 PM
Too bad it took so little time for "wilsonkolb" to prove my point.Posted by Tim at March 12, 2006 11:11 PM
nealjking, the NYT is about as accurate as Wikipedia (or even less), so you might want to look for better sources. I don't have time to look now or I would give you some links myself, but just about every policy and recent set of statistics on the military can be found on the internet. It's much more productive to read the original policies and data than to read what some reporter at the NYT says about somethingPosted by Don Miguel at March 13, 2006 01:08 AM
Tim, I'm not interested in wilsonkolb's rant. I'm just trying to find out the relationship between these two views: the one as presented by the NYT article in 10/04, the other as reported by others on this comment log. How do you reconcile these reported facts? The one seems to say that recruitments are up, without any reduction in standards; the other that higher percentages of less-qualified people were accepted than ordinarily would have been allowed.Posted by nealjking at March 13, 2006 01:08 AM
nealjking, I'm not sure reconciliation is necessary (or possible - it could be both are essentially accurate, although I don't know - I'd bet politics distorts reported "facts" in this case). The lowest category of eligibles is also the smallest - doubling from 2 to 4 percent for the Army is probably still significantly lower than the Army's average basic training failure rate (and smaller than two standard deviations away from mean in a standard distribution bell curve) per induction class. Additionally, it seems reasonable to include in this analysis the effect of the Army getting bigger - it should be obvious the Army has decided because it is getting bigger, it needs to accept the best applicants from those they previously turned away - kind of like colleges implementing affirmative action programs once they decided to "diversify" their student bodies. So even if the Army is lowering its standards, it seems inconsequential to the bigger picture, since, unlike colleges and businesses, no one gets a job or promotion they've not earned.
Regardless, the number that most impresses me isn't the Army meeting its enlistment rates for either the Active or Guard, but rather it far surpassing its re-enlistment goal, especially evident amongst our troops in the sandbox. Despite the media distortions, the guys charged with executing the policies seem quite satisfied, overall.Posted by Tim at March 13, 2006 02:46 AM
I blogged on the misleading headline in the USA Today article, but didn't know there was a second one floating around. That's rather curious.
Patriots like Staat are very inspiring.Posted by wordsmith at March 13, 2006 04:39 AM
Yes because wilsonkolb has experience in firefights. Did not realize you served bro. That's cool. Let me paint a very realistic scenario for you. Huge firefight with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Bullets flying everywhere, Tillman is shot and killed. At first people attribute it to the Taliban, but once the body is back in the rear and people start taking a closer look, the true story comes out.
Is it possible any of the above could happen Wilson? Or are you just talking out of your butt.Posted by James Stephenson at March 13, 2006 12:11 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(15) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)