Tonya Papanikolas ReportingThe United States Army expects to fall short of its recruiting goals this month and next. The biggest concern is the Army National Guard. Nationally the active component of the army and the reserves have reached at least 90-percent of their recruiting goals so far this year. But the National Guard has only hit 75-percent of the numbers they were expecting after falling short last year as well.
Today the Secretary of the Army announced they're taking steps to raise those numbers and said army recruiters would be more innovative this year. The plan includes targeting not only potential recruits, but also their parents. They say they'll appeal to a sense of patriotism and point out to these families the value of serving their country. Army officials have also raised the maximum enlistment age from 34 to 39.
But it seems Utah doesn't have as much trouble recruiting as the rest of the country. While recruiters say the numbers here are also down a little, the Guard has met over 95-percent of recruiting goals. They say it's because Utahns have a great sense of service and love of their country.
Lt. Wayne L. Lee, Utah Air National Guard: “I think Utahns have always been patriotic. I think the Utah National Guard has really proven themselves, especially with the Olympics a few years ago. And we've really stepped up to the challenge, and we're gonna face the future the same way."
Recruiters here say they've had interest in the past from older adults, so they hope raising the maximum age limit will help their cause as well. Summer is traditionally the best recruiting season so they could also make up for some of the numbers then.