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Not all Army recruits are high school grads
ap recruiting in HS pic
Sgt. Frederick Stoner sets up the Army information table in the commons area of the Bradwell Institute cafeteria. An Army recruiter visits the high school at least once a week. - photo by Alena Parker / Coastal Courier
A report released Jan. 22 by the Associated Press found for the third year in a row the Army did not meet the 90 percent standard of recruits with high school diplomas. And the local Army recruiting station reflects the missed goal.
Hinesville's Army recruiting station had high school graduates make up 79 percent of its recruits for last fiscal year.
Sgt. First Class Raul Rios is the Hinesville Army recruiting station commander.
He does not attribute the declining averages to the public's loss of interest in the Army.
"It's (interest) actually increased in our area," he said.
"This is a military town, so the kids here are a lot different from other areas.  They're very Army-intelligent," the sergeant said. "A good part of them have Army parents...and so when they talk to an Army recruiter they pretty much know already exactly what they're looking for and what they want."
But, he said, current events continue to have an impact on what a student decides to pursue after high school.
"Of course the main concern is the war in Iraq," Rios said.
He also mentioned non-military related issues, such as the increasing national trend in childhood obesity and high school dropout rates, having a large affect in recruiting.
While provisions can be made for those without a diploma, the Army has very few waivers for recruits who do not meet the physical requirements.
When it comes to military ability, Rios said the Hinesville recruiting station's reports do not show a big difference in high school graduate recruits and those recruits with GEDs.
Diploma holders averaged 58 on the ASVAB, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, and the mean for GED-recruits was 54.
High schools students still make up the most of the Army's new recruits.
"Basically, that's where the majority of our market comes from," Rios said.
He said juniors are recruited because they are eligible to join the Reserves with consent of a parent.
"The recruiting process is still the hasn't changed. The quality of applicants and prospects from the high schools, and also the colleges, is pretty much the same," Rios said.
"But I think the focus is more on careers and what they're (prospective recruits) interested in. And if we can provide that for them, that's what they'll go with," he said.
Liberty County is the top 60th county in the nation for Army recruits per 1,000 youth, according to a 2007 report by the National Priorities Project. Long County is ranked 97th.
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