Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Troubling news on reenlistment rates 

Reenlistment rates are "suddenly and dramatically" lower and below quota at several bases where soldiers have recently returned from Iraq.
Married soldiers, who now make up half of the Army, are growing weary of repeated, yearlong deployments away from their families, Pike and others believe.

"We've gone from an unmarried Army to a married Army. These guys have come back from Iraq now, but you tell them they're going back within a year, and the wives are raising hell," said Dennis McCormack, a retired helicopter pilot who served in Vietnam and Desert Storm.

Fort Carson isn't alone with sharp re-enlistment drops during the past 90 days. According to Army figures:

• At Fort Bragg, N.C., home of the 82nd Airborne Division, recruiters have met 65 percent of their goal of first-termers and 80 percent of the goal for mid-career soldiers.

• At Fort Riley, Kan., whose 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division remains deployed in Iraq, re-enlistments are off sharply. Recruiters have signed only 50 percent of its quota for first-term re-enlistees, and 57 percent for mid-career soldiers.

• Across the Army's massive III Corps, which includes Fort Hood's 4th Infantry and 1st Cavalry divisions as well as Fort Carson's combat units, only 51 percent of first-termers and 54 percent of the mid-career soldiers are signing up.

Is the Army voting with its feet? This is a story to watch.


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