Military recruiting on the rise in down economy

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - In the midst of the down economy, more people are turning to the US military to make a living.

Nationwide, the US military has met all their goals for the first time since the all-volunteer force was created in 1973.

economy is affecting military recruiting stations right here in the lake area.

Sot it's kind of recession proof," says Sergeant First Class Eric S. Rizzo, US Army Recruiting Station Commander. "We don't lay people off, they always have contracts."

As jobs right now are scarce in the economy, more people are trading in their work boots for army boots.

"If you look around there are jobs in almost every field in the military," says William Dever, who recently enlisted in the US Army.

Dever says the benefits in joining the military are just too promising to turn away.

"You get a lot of experience, you get a lot of medical benefits, and it's great pay," says Dever.

Dever is one of many future soldiers Sergeant Rizzo has recruited in recent months.

"Over the past 18 months we've seen a surge of people coming in to get information," says Sgt. Rizzo.

Sgt. Rizzo says he's even seen 35 to 42 year olds thinking about enlisting.

"Normally our target audience is 17 to 24 year olds, but we have seen an increase in 25 to 35 year olds here lately," says Sgt. Rizzo.

Nationwide the US Army recruited 70,045 volunteers, exceeding it's goal of 65,000 recruits.

The US Navy saw 35,527 recruits, surpassing their goal of 35,500 soldiers.

The US Marine Corps recruited 31,413 soldiers, exceeded a goal of 31,400.

The US Air Force brought in 31,983, exceeding their goal of 31,980.

Sgt. Rizzo says that even if the economy begins to pick up within the next fiscal year, recruiters are confident they will see just as many soldiers walking through their door.

"I think the economy does have some influence on recruiting," says Sgt. Rizzo. "But overall I think the opportunities that the Army provides will remain the same if not get better in time."

Sgt. Rizzo also says the Army has made some changes in the past year to increase their quality of soldiers.

They now no longer accept serious criminal misconduct or felony conviction waivers.

They have also increased the age limit to enlist from the age of 40 to the age of 42.

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