Army recruitment declines:

Oct 102005
Authors: Vimal Patel

Army recruiters have missed their enlistment goal by the largest margin since 1979.

The Army's goal of 80,000 new recruits this year was about 7,000 shy.

The official report is expected to be released this week and contains numbers for the one-year time period ending Friday.

CSU students attributed the shortfall to multiple factors, including the war in Iraq and increased educational opportunities.

Mike Carvill, a CSU open-option sophomore, said the Iraq War maybe driving some recruits away from the enlistment lines.

"Not everyone has it in them to enlist knowing they (may go) to war," he said.

More than 1,900 Americans have died in Iraq and more than 14,000 have been wounded since the start of the war in March 2003.

Paul Simmons, a junior open option major, said declining military enlistment is the result of students having more options in their lives.

"More kids are going to school," he said. "There are more opportunities for kids."

Simmons, whose father was in the military, has several friends currently serving. He said people often join because they don't have anything else going.

"It's a last resort, but it's a good last resort," he said. "The military definitely takes care of its people."

Command Sgt. Maj. Paul Carroll, a representative of a battalion that oversees the local Army recruiting office, said he's not "at liberty" to give his personal opinion about why enlistment is down. However, he said part of this country's beauty is that the military is all volunteer and no one is forced to join.

"Our function is to provide a national defense," Carroll said. "For some it's not what they want to do with their lives, for others it is. That's freedom of choice. That's what's great about this country."

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