Military recruitment in Cache county has declined since the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Although recruiting has been fairly constant for the past few years, there has been a concerted effort on behalf of the armed forces to enlist a higher quality of soldier instead of a higher quantity of bodies.
Sargent Wheeler has been a recruiter for the United States Army in Logan, Utah since 2012. He relies on personal connections to sell what the Army has to offer to potential recruits. “The Army is an education haven”, says Sargent Wheeler. He stated that the Army will pay $4,000.00 per year to soldiers for tuition in addition to the $14,000.00 G.I. bill. Sargent Wheeler explained the training a soldier receives can be transferred as credit hours to the majority of universities. However, when asked if higher tuition costs and an influx of 2,000 new students at Utah State University would result in a higher number of recruits, he expressed doubt that more would enlist.
The standards the military have adopted in recent years are more stringent for the recruits, but are more lenient for recruiters. Sargent Wheeler stated that during the peak of the war effort, recruiters were bound by quotas that resulted in intense stress, and even suicide in extreme cases. The quotas have since been cast aside and been replaced with “missions”, which are more like guidelines than deadlines.
Recruits are required to have a high school diploma, and little to no criminal record. Chief O’Malley of the U.S. Navy said even an inordinate amount of traffic violations could bar you from enlisting. He believes it shows a pattern of behavior consistent with insubordination. Even tattoos, which have a lengthy history with the U.S. military, are being restricted to a number of 4 below the elbows and knees.
Technological changes have also effected the amount of recruits that are being enlisted. Chief O’Malley stated that lower numbers of recruits are required, because modern military equipment requires fewer people for operation. All in all, He is pleased with the recruiting regulations. Chief O’Malley says the new breed of sailor is vastly more competent then they were at the beginning of his career.
However, no system is completely flawless. Chief O’Malley would like more money to be put into social media for recruiting. He stated the branches of the armed forces are modeling themselves after Fortune 500 companies, and they need to further embrace paperless routes for recruiting. Sargent Wheeler says, “Recruiters need better training.” Recruiters are currently required to complete the Army recruiter course, which lacks the one-on-one training that Sargent Wheeler believes is necessary for effective recruiting.