JULY 13, 2022 – What would you do with $50,000? That’s the question U.S. Army recruiters around the nation are asking potential recruits when pushing the benefits and incentives of joining the Army.
Recruiting quality Future Soldiers has always been a challenge, especially during the last two years due to the COVID pandemic. Reentering the face-to-face recruiting environment after the COVID-19 era is giving recruiting teams new opportunities to connect with their local communities and share their stories in a more personal way, said Sgt. 1st Class Dwayne Donegan, a recruiter in Lawton, Oklahoma.
One challenge, said Donegan, is overcoming pre-conceived notions or ideas of what service actually means.
“Answering the call to service doesn’t mean putting life on hold,” Donegan said. “Many associate military service with sacrifice. When considering service, it’s important for Future Soldiers to understand they don’t have to put their life on hold– they can still pursue their career and education goals.”
While many Soldiers will choose the Army as a career and serve 10 or more years, a long-term commitment could be intimidating to some, said Donegan. He said the Army offers different enlistment options and plans to facilitate a Future Soldier’s goals and aspirations.
The Army offers enlistment contracts ranging from two to six years, so prospects can decide what best fits their life plans. Future Soldiers who are not quite ready for a full-time commitment can also serve in the U.S Army Reserve. These Soldiers serve at least one weekend a month and two weeks a year, usually in the summer, and typically serve within 90 minutes of home.
The Army also offers options for college students who, while serving in their university’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program, can earn pay and benefits from the Army Reserve, as well as ROTC allowances.
“We have a lot to offer Future Soldiers right now,” said Donegan. “But we want prospects to understand Soldiers earn more than a paycheck– they receive competitive benefits, and those who choose to enlist now can receive additional bonuses and incentives.”
Those “additional bonuses and incentives” Donegan talked about include $50,000 in bonuses when Future Soldiers first join the Army. Quick ship bonuses of up to $35,000 are available for individuals who can ship within 45 days of signing a contract.
“The Army offers competitive pay and benefits that support Soldiers and families now and provide security for their future,” Donegan said. “Soldiers receive 30 vacation days annually, comprehensive health care, money for education, family services and career support.”
While money is always nice, choosing where you serve has its benefits too, Donegan said. The Army is offering duty station of choice, which means Future Soldiers can opt to select their first duty station after training. This offers predictability for the future he said. Some of the more popular locations include Hawaii, Germany, Korea, Colorado and Texas.
Donegan said not all Future Soldiers want to serve in combat arms roles. He said with more than 150 available occupational specialties, the Army offers “something for everyone.”
“We have a wide range of career options within the Army to give Soldiers the opportunity to follow their passions.” Donegan said. “Whether they’re interested in STEM, service, design, academics, exploration, adventure or leadership, Soldiers can gain experience and training in their desired career field that will translate to a civilian career after service.”
To join the Army, said Donegan applicants must be between 17-35 years old; medically and physically fit and in good moral standing; a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid Green Card; a high school graduate or equivalent with a minimum score on the Army’s placement exam.
“The best way to join the Army is to come see a recruiter,” said Donegan. “Whether you want to enlist or be an officer we can, and will, help you succeed in meeting your goals.”
“American Soldiers have spent nearly 250 years defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic,” said Maj. Gen. Ken Kamper, commanding general Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill. “Our freedom is dependent on those who dedicate their lives to protect it and I thank all who have made the decision to serve.”
Story by Christopher Wilson
Fort Sill Public Affairs