Little Green Footballs

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

C'mon LGF'ers your country needs you.

WASHINGTON, July 11 (Reuters) - The Army National Guard, struggling more than any other part of the U.S. military to sign up new troops amid the Iraq war, missed its ninth straight monthly recruiting goal in June, officials said on Monday.

In danger of missing a third straight annual recruiting goal, the Army National Guard fell 14 percent short of its June recruiting target, the Pentagon said. Three quarters through fiscal 2005, which ends Sept. 30, the Army National Guard stood 23 percent behind its year-to-date goal.

"I can tell you their goal is at risk, so we're concerned," Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, said of the 2005 goal of 63,002 new soldiers.

The Army National Guard has missed its recruiting target in every month of the fiscal year, last achieving a monthly goal in September 2004, said Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a Pentagon spokeswoman. It sent 4,337 new soldiers into boot camp in June, short of its goal of 5,032, the Pentagon said.

The Army National Guard, with about 330,000 soldiers, was formed as a part-time force, with its members living civilian lives while engaging in periodic military training.

Unlike soldiers in the part-time Army Reserve, made up of federal troops, those in the National Guard serve under the control of state governors usually for roles like disaster relief in their home states. They can be summoned to active-duty Army service in times of national need.

The Army has provided most of the ground troops in Iraq, and has relied heavily on part-time soldiers.

Officials said that one of the reasons the Army National Guard has suffered more than the Army Reserve in recruiting is that National Guard soldiers regularly serve in direct combat roles, while Reserve soldiers often serve in relatively less perilous combat support jobs in Iraq.

Time to leave the 101st Chairborne Rangers and join a real fighting force. C'mon LGF'ers your country needs you to fight the war you so blindly support.

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