FORT HOOD, Texas — Every day brave men and women sign up to serve their country and go to war if needed but lately the recruiting numbers for the U.S. Army have been pretty low.
It's an issue that recruiters are running into right here in Central Texas.
”It’s no secret that recruiting has been down across the board,” said 1LT Connor Felty, executive officer of Waco Recruiting Company. “One of the biggest issues that we have is just finding people who qualify. Less than 5 percent of America’s pullulation qualifies for the Army and so, just finding the right individuals.”
Finding qualified people isn’t the only hurdle they have been trying to overcome in recent years.
”The big one is COVID,” said 1LT Felty. “With virtual learning, we weren’t able to get inside of high schools and talk to high school students and that definitely had a negative impact on our recruiting mission.”
Now the 3rd Armored Corps at Fort Hood is doing what it can to help bring numbers up - including bringing recruiters to public events like one they recently held at the Texas Motor Speedway.
”The recruiters will be there, and they can talk to a lot of those people and make those contacts,” said COL Wayne Marotto, III Corps Public Affairs. “So, we’re going to help them out as best we can. We're all one team in this Army and we’re going to do the best we can to get those numbers up and I think we will this coming year.”
III Corps said they are also having junior enlisted soldiers on hand to speak to high school kids close to their age.
”These high school kids are asking these young soldiers like, tell me about your job,” said COL Marotto. “What do you do in the Army and what’s the Army like? Those young soldiers kept it real and authentic, and they talked to each other. Those young soldiers are probably our best recruiters.”
Soldiers like Specialist Mitchum said the Army changed his life and that’s why he urges folks to simply look into it.
”Because you’ll be surprised just by the amount of opportunity that you will get from the Army,” said SPC Nicholas Mitchum, Specialist with III Corps. “Go and have that conversation. If it’s a Friday and you get off school early or get off work early, go have that conversation. An hour can’t hurt you.”
While recruiting numbers are low, III Corps is confident that the trend will turn around as long as everyone works as a team to accomplish the mission.