Military Recruiters Make Big Summer Recruiting Push

After missing its 2005 recruiting goal by 6,600 enlistees, the Army has met all of its monthly recruiting goals this year. With the school year winding down, the Army saw its monthly recruiting total jump from 5,806 in May to 8,756 in June. Locally, the New York City Recruiting Battallion (which also encompasses Long Island, Westchester County and six northern New Jersey counties) has enlisted 1,343 new soldiers into the Army as of July 7, according to spokesperson Emilie Gockley. In FY ‘05, the battalion signed up 1,733 recruits.

Dariana Taulino has dreamed of joining the military since she was a little girl. She likes the structure, discipline and the sense of shared purpose. Now 18 and a graduate of The School of Excellence in the Bronx, she should be on her way to boot camp. But with the war raging in Iraq, family and friends have convinced her to stay out for now.

“I still want to go the Air Force,” Taulino says, “but everyone has been telling me to go to college. With college you can drop out when you want, with the Air Force it’s not like that” Taulino’s quandary is being played out all over the country as potential recruits finish high school and weigh making the biggest decisions of their young lives against the backdrop of war in the Middle East.

In New York, new recruiting stations have been open in communities like East Harlem and the Bronx. More recruiters with professional-level sales skills are hitting the streets. At the recruiting station in the Fordham part of the Bronx, the use of Hummers blasting Reggaeton on a busy street corner is not uncommon. Aggressive recruiter presence can also be found throughout the city’s public high schools.

“I couldn’t believe this huge man was walking in the hallways,” says Carey Feliciano, the Chair of the Uptown Youth for Peace and Justice who works with students in Harlem, the Bronx and Washington Heights. “I was scared; I can imagine high school students. The recruiters are in the schools, in the hallways, and at the best tables at their college fairs.”

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