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Army looks to recruit more infantry soldiers with bonuses up to $40,000

As part of a mass enlistment ceremony, Army recruits from the Phoenix Recruiting Battalion recite the oath of enlistment, Aug. 26, 2018, Chase Field, Phoenix. The Army came up short in 2018 of meeting its recruiting goal of enlisting 76,500 soldiers. By the end of this fiscal year on Sept. 30, the Army’s goal is to add 68,000 new active-duty recruits.

MIKE SCHECK/U.S. ARMY PHOTO

By CAITLIN M. KENNEY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 5, 2019

WASHINGTON — The Army is handing out bonuses up to $40,000 for people who join the infantry as the military’s largest branch works to meet its 2019 recruitment goal with only months left in the fiscal year.

Army leaders believe the bonuses will help them increase the size of the service’s force and attract more recruits to combat-arms positions, said Kelli Bland, the public affairs director for U.S. Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Ky.

Last year, the Army fell short of its recruiting goal of 76,500 by about 6,500 recruits, the first time it missed its year-end goal in 13 years. By the end of this fiscal year on Sept. 30, the Army’s goal is to add 68,000 new active-duty recruits, according to Bland.

Recruits who select the infantry military occupation specialty could receive a bonus up to $40,000 depending on the length of their initial contract, according to Bland. The recruit would have to sign a contract for a six-year commitment in order to receive the maximum of $40,000 bonus, Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, commander of U.S. Army Recruiting Command, told Military.com.

An average enlistment contract is about four years, Bland said.

The Army needs to fill 3,300 infantry spots by Sept. 30 and decided in mid-May to increase the infantry recruiting bonus from the maximum $15,000, according to Bland. The bonus is only available to recruits who leave for basic training before the end of September.

The Army also changed its recruiting plans for this year to target several large cities and increase efforts on social media to find potential recruits. The service has more than 470,000 active-duty soldiers, according to the Defense Department.

For recruits who are not interested in the infantry but are willing to go to basic training within the next 60 days, the Army will give them bonuses from $5,000 to $16,000 depending on their Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery score and the date when they ship out to basic training, Bland said.

The Army is also offering critical skills bonuses up to $25,000 for recruits who select military occupation specialties for fire control specialist or M1 armor crewman as their job, according to Bland.

kenney.caitlin@stripes.com
Twitter: @caitlinmkenney

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