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Local History

Despite National Increase, Local Army Recruits Remain Constant

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/despitenat_3889.mp3

A national poll released by the Pentagon shows an increase in the number of young people interested in pursuing a career in the military. But how do these figures translate into real volunteers at the local level? KSMU’s Brett Moser went out to a Springfield recruiting office to find out.

The poll sponsored by the Pentagon questioned over 3,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 21. According to the results, the number of young people who said they’d join the military rose from 9% to 11% in the first half of this year.
But at the US Army recruiting station on Seminole Street in Springfield, Sergeant Duane West says that other than a small increase in walk-in traffic, recruitment numbers have pretty much remained the same.
West says that what has changed is that potential recruits are taking a second look at what a career in the military can provide.
West says benefits like job training, medical care, and college funds appeal to younger people, especially with the current state of the economy and job market.
However, West doesn’t attribute interest in signing up solely to the economy.
West adds that his office has seen around thirty new recruits in the last two months, with ages ranging from early 20s to early 30s.
Professor of economics at Missouri State University, Tom Wyrick says that increased interest in the military is common for times of economic downturn. He says other factors on the national scene could influence that decision as well.
Wyrick adds that one more reason the military may see an increase in recruits is because it is now seen as a less risky career, given a recent decrease in the number of casualties among US troops in Iraq.
For KSMU News, I’m Brett Moser.