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Army offering students large bonuses to join while still in high school
(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Jonathan Pietrantoni)
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The Army is looking to recruit more students than ever before by offering $200 million in incentive bonuses -the largest offered in five years.

Starting April 1st, high school seniors enlisting into the United States Army are eligible for a new bonus of $500 for each month they are enrolled in the Future Soldier Training Program. The student receives the total sum of money once they’ve graduated from high school and completed the program.

Army Officials say the new incentive provides help with expenses leading up to graduation while securing a plan for the future.

Army Recruiter Sergeant Christopher Reed said, “I think parents are going to like it because of the whole savings thing. They’re not giving their students the cash up front. So they know in the next couple of months my son or daughter has this cash in their account so they won’t be able to just splurge with the $500. Then I also think the students are going to like the fact that you have this extra $500 a month on top of whatever other bonuses you get when you enlist with us.”

Recruiting Command’s mission is seeing the “largest within-year mission increase ever,” said Brig. Gen. Donna W. Martin, USAREC’s deputy commander.

The enlistment incentive for “future Soldiers” heading to Military Occupational Specialties that especially need to be filled, Martin said.

As a result of the 2017 National Defense Appropriation Act, the number of new recruits required to fill active end strength has jumped from 62,500 to 68,500.

All that increase has to be attained by the end of September, which is the end of the fiscal year, she added.

While the will likely be a factor in a young person’s decision to enlist, Martin said the heavy lifting will still be done by recruiters pounding the pavement, speaking to prospects, parents, faculty and others.

“The challenge will be for recruiters to go out and find those young men and women,” Martin said, adding that “they do exist.”

The problem with today’s youth is that so many lead a sedentary life and are obese, she said, noting that three in 10 cannot meet the minimum weight standards.

Martin said she hopes veterans and community leaders will go out into the and encourage administrators not to cut physical education from their required curriculum and to offer healthier food choices on the menu.

She also hopes these unofficial ambassadors for the will mention the many benefits of joining the and the importance of serving their country.