National recruitment numbers below goal

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National recruitment rates dipped during 2023, according to the 2023 end of year Recruiting and Retention report.

Sergeant Shad Prigmore is the Army National Guard Recruiter on BYU campus. He said he joined for the camaraderie.

“I’ve always liked kind of that drive to be something better and be something more than myself and be a part of the team. And I found that in the military,” Prigmore said.

According to the Defense Department reports, the combined recruiting efforts of the Army, Navy and Air Force fell short by more than 25,000 recruits. Only the Marine Corps and Space Force met national recruiting goals during 2023.

Sergeant First Class Tyler White has been in the military for almost 30 years, and said he stays for the top notch leadership program.

“I’ve never seen a better organization at teaching an undisciplined person how to be a good leader than the U.S. military,” White said. White explained this is because the military holds each of its members to a high standard.

“Some (recruits) can’t show up in the right place at the right time, in the right uniform, and we have to bring that lower level of person up to function at the level of the upper person.”

But the military is not for everyone. Initially, Vince Macguire loved the service and said he joined so he could be a part of something bigger than himself.

“I was a part of something that I had a lot of respect for, like the organization as a whole,” Macguire said.

Much had changed after reaching the end of his eight year contract, Macguire said. He disagreed with some policy changes, so he left.

“It’s like I said, it just changed,” he said. “It changed too much for me.”

Some people leave as other jobs become more competitive.

“A lot of other employers are starting to realize that they have to bring up their benefit levels and are offering free college and those types of things,” White said.

Of those who join, only 66% stay past their first contract, White said. These retention rates meet goals, according to the Department of Defense public release.

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