military recruitment

Disappointing Data Shows Recruiting Woes for Military Service

NBC Universal, Inc.

Every individual has their own personal reasons for joining the military.

Now that former Petty Officer Second Class Matthew Clunan is back home in Connecticut after serving in the Navy for nearly seven years, five of which were active duty, he says he came back a better man.

“I wanted to go experience something, I wanted to go learn some skills,” he said.

“As much as you put in, you'll receive back. So any life skills you can take from it, you can immediately translate that over to life and be that much better for yourself,” he continued.

On Monday, an internal Defense Department survey obtained by NBC News found that only nine percent of young eligible Americans had the desire to serve in the military, which is the lowest number since 2007.

NBC Connecticut spoke to Connecticut's National Guard recruiting member Sgt. First Class Sebastian Miano about their efforts to recruit the best of the best.

"You may see members of the CT Army National Guard at many events across the state with recruiting displays different booths, equipment displays, but we're definitely doing our best to try to reach out to as many folks as we can," Sgt. Miano said.

Aside from pandemic woes, Sgt. Miano said there are different challenges they're facing that are out of their control.

“Now within our process, there is visibility on pre-existing conditions that folks may have,” Miano added.

"If somebody regularly takes medications or certain diagnosis, unfortunately that would make some folks ineligible to become a member,” Sgt. Miano said.

Data obtained by NBC News shows, so far this year, the Army has only met about 40 percent of its enlisted recruiting mission. 

The U.S. Air Force is currently more than 4,000 recruitments below where they should be.

The U.S. Coast Guard has filled about 55 percent of its target goal of 4,200 active-duty recruits.

The Space Force, the newest branch of the military, is only looking to recruit about 500 members.

Clunan said the biggest benefit he received by enlisting in the Navy was the G.I. Bill.

The G.I. Bill is designed to help service members and eligible veterans cover education or training costs.

"As soon as I got out, I was immediately able to go to school and I went to school for two years, got my Associates. I'm already done so that was my biggest benefit, as well as seeing different places and different cultures because I don't think a lot of people get that," he said.

But make no mistake, he said some times were tough.

"It's somehow easy to forget that the people you're serving with are literally in the same boat as you so it's really comforting to find people going through the same struggles."

And while everyone's reasons differ in wanting to enlist in the military, the following rings true to anyone who is thinking about dedicating part of their life to military service.

"Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. iIf those are all things that speak to the individual, that would be a great reason to join,” Sgt Miano said.

If you think you'd be a good fit and have interest in a specific branch of the U.S. military, you can get more information about the Navy here, the National Guard here, the Air Force here, the Army here, the Coast Guard here and the Marines here.

Contact Us