WASHINGTON, May 12, 2008 – All military services met or exceeded their recruiting goals for April, with the Marine Corps recruiting 142 percent of its goal, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said here today. The Army reached 101 percent of its goal, and the Navy and Air Force met their goals.

In the re-enlistment arena, the Army, Navy and Marine Corps met or exceeded their active-duty retention objectives. “The Air Force still faces challenges, but they still seem able to meet their year-end strength goals,” Whitman said.

All the reserve components also met or exceeded their recruiting goals, with the Air National Guard at 130 percent and the Army Reserve at 120 percent.

April “was another strong month for recruiting and retention,” Whitman said.

The Army brought in 5,681 recruits and had a goal of 5,650. The Navy enlisted 2,905 new sailors, and the Air Force brought in 2,435 airmen — both meeting their goals on the button.

The Marine Corps enlisted 2,233 recruits and had a goal of 1,577. One reporter on the Pentagon beat likened the Marine numbers as “recruiting on steroids.” Whitman said it is an indication that the recruiting environment is strong.

“The Marine Corps, if they continue to achieve the kind of success they have had, could meet their growth figures more than a year early,” he said.

On the reserve-component side, the Army National Guard brought in 6,201 soldiers on a goal of 5,538 for 112 percent. The Army Reserve enlisted 3,520 soldiers on a goal of 2,937 for 120 percent.

The Navy Reserve hit its enlistment goal of 831, and the Marine Corps Reserve hit its mark of 459.

The Air National Guard enlisted 875 airmen and had a goal of 672 for 130 percent, and the Air Force Reserve went one over on its goal of enlisting 680 airmen.

While a slower U.S. economy may account for some of the success, it only tells part of the story, a DoD personnel and readiness official said. “We had recruiting success when the economy was going at virtually full throttle,” the official said, though he acknowledged that, when unemployment rates go up, the interest in enlisting also rises.

Still, the greatest single reason for the improvement in recruiting is the availability of recruiters, the official said. “The principal thing is the growth in recruiters and the increase in benefits — money, education, mortgages and so on,” the official said.

The Army and Marine Corps have increased the number of recruiters on the street. The services also have increased enlistment bonuses and the money spent on advertising.

“Overall, the services have doubled the amount of money spent per recruit,” the official said. “When you turn up the volume on a resource, people listen.”

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WASHINGTON, May 12, 2008 – All military services met or exceeded their recruiting goals…