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WASHINGTON — Soldiers on temporary recruiting duty will still be eligible for the new $1,000 bonus for convincing friends to join the service, Army officials announced this month.

Ironically, those who had taken the temporary recruiting assignments were, for that period, ineligible to receive the recruiting bonus.

The referral bonus program, which began Jan. 18, was designed to help boost Army and reserve recruiting numbers. All soldiers except recruiters are eligible for the $1,000 payout once their suggested recruit finishes boot camp and subsequent training programs.

Earlier this month, the service softened rules regarding those recruiting slots, allowing soldiers in the Hometown Recruiter Assistance Program(HRAP), the Special Recruiter Assistance Program, and the Active Duty for Special Work system to be eligible for the $1,000 bonus as well.

Army spokesman Maj. Nathan Banks said the change came after officials recognized the three programs, all temporary assignments, didn’t really give those soldiers a slew of extra opportunities to cash in.

“They’re usually only in those posts for a few weeks, to fill in gaps between assignments or moves,” he said. “All of our recruiters are trained, but these soldiers aren’t.”

In the HRAP, Banks said, younger soldiers are given an opportunity to spend up to two weeks in their hometown speaking with local schools and community groups about the importance of the Army.

Banks said that in all three slots, soldiers may pick up “a few names,” but the service isn’t worried that they’ll have time or resources to gather lists of potential recruits to try to cash in.

And, he said, the $1,000 bonus may entice a few of them to take the short-term post more seriously, trying to find a few potential recruits instead of looking ahead to the next assignment.

Army officials said more than 600 soldiers have submitted names to the program, but because of the lengthy entry process, so far no one has received the bonus.

Soldiers can submit the name of any person who is not in their immediate family and has not been in the military before. The referral must be made by the soldier online at www.usarec.army.mil/smart prior to the new recruit’s first meeting with Army officials.

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