Army still needs quality recruits

Published 10:56 pm Wednesday, November 5, 2014

By Lt. Col. Clifton Harris

You may have heard in the news recently that it’s tougher to join the U.S. Army than ever before. This is true. The Army of the future requires highly qualified volunteers. Only three in 10 young Americans fully meet the stringent qualifications.

New soldiers must have a high school diploma. They must also meet age-appropriate height and weight standards. None should have engaged in serious criminal misconduct, and none will have had a drug or alcohol dependency.

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But in an economy where job security and availability for new graduates remains uncertain despite modest gains these past few years, a job in the Army Reserve is attainable and, more important, rewarding in both the short and long term.

The Army offers unparalleled health care benefits, tax-free allowances for living expenses and work locations around the world for active-duty soldiers. But it also offers Reservists the opportunity to work full-time jobs and go to school while fulfilling Reserve requirements, which equals one weekend a month and two weeks each year.

The Army continually needs new soldiers, just as most large-scale businesses need a constant flow of entry-level employees. Because the U.S. Army’s size changes based on the needs of the nation, the number of new soldiers fluctuates year to year. However, by joining the Army Reserve, future soldiers maintain the same potential earning power and desired length of service as if they enlisted for active duty.

The Army Reserve continue to fulfill a crucial role in the security, safety and well being of the nation. Reservists come back from each training event better prepared to be productive members of your community.

If you know young people with a desire to succeed and a will to work hard for lifetime skills and benefits, please encourage them to consider the Army Reserve. If you know longstanding community members who want to do more for their families, communities and nation, encourage them to consider the Army Reserve.

Lt. Col. Harris is a 21-year Army veteran who deployed in 2006 and 2008 to Iraq, and in 2010 to Haiti. He is a 1993 graduate of the University of South Carolina. Harris serves as commander of Richmond Recruiting Battalion in Richmond. He can be reached at