Pressure on the home front Timothy Walker is a Marine recruiter who can't let war deter him
Sunday, July 15, 2007
BY WAYNE WOOLLEY
Marine Sgt. Timothy Walker made 1,176 telephone phone calls last month -- the number the computer at headquarters said the New Jersey recruiter needed to dial to find at least two young people willing to join "the few, the proud."
In between the calls, the eight-year veteran drove thousands of miles across southern Monmouth County and knocked on dozens of doors. Sometimes he literally chased groups of young people until they stopped long enough to hear his spiel and take his business card.
There were days when Walker, 26, left his wife and two young daughters sleeping in their beds at 4 a.m. and did not come home until midnight. Even on "short" days that run from 8 a.m. to past 8 p.m., Walker knows exactly how he will feel when it ends.
"Exhausted. When I get home at night, I just want to sit down, turn the tube on and pass out on the couch," Walker says. "If your feet hurt, that means you worked that day. If your brain hurts, you know you worked that day. Tough job. Tough times."
Spend a day with Walker as he works the phones and hits the streets in manic pursuit of new recruits and you see how the Iraq war and its growing casualty count take a toll on the men and women responsible for filling the ranks of an all-volunteer military. A strong economy and millions of young people made ineligible for military service by health or legal troubles only add to the strain.
The Marine Corps considers recruiters to be fighting the battle in Iraq, only on a different front. The tools at hand are slick television advertisements, sophisticated marketing databases and the most rudimentary of sales pitches: "Here's my card, call me."
Like the troops, the recruiters' battle gets harder every day.
There were 175,000 Marines on active duty when the war began in 2003 and 35,000 new enlistments that year. Since then, the required number of recruits has grown steadily under a Congressional mandate to increase the size of the Marine Corps by nearly 10 percent by the end of the decade. The Marines needed 38,000 active-duty recruits last year and 1,000 more than that this year. In 2010, the number will swell to 45,000.
Nearly 1,000 Marines have been killed in Iraq, accounting for more than a quarter of the war's combat deaths even though the Corps makes up only about 20 percent of the ground troops. Thousands more have been wounded.
Although the Marines have made every year-end quota since the war began, they missed several monthly targets in 2005. But June's recruiting numbers were good to the Marines -- they hit 110 percent of their monthly quota of 3,924. By contrast, the Army, which has suffered heavy losses associated with the recent troop surge, missed its goal of 8,400 recruits by nearly 20 percent.
Read the article here.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Life of a Recruiter
Recruiting is a tough job and one that gets very little recognition. Lubbock Marine Parents participated in Operation Recruiter Appreciation back in May and we usually bake cookies or make fudge for them at Christmas. Not only do they face rejection and angry parents every day, but they are away from the camaraderie of their fellow Marines and the benefits of living near a military base. If you get a chance, stop by the recruiter's office nearest you and give them a pat on the back and maybe a couple of movie passes or a Wal Mart card. Recruiting duty is vitally important to the safety of our nation and these hardworking men and women and their families deserve our appreciaiton.