Army bonus wows many

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LEXINGTON, S.C. - Bored with life on his family's South Carolina horse farm, Willard McCormick decided that military service was the right plan for his future. And when the Army dangled its new, $20,000 recruiting bonus in front of him, the decision got a lot easier.

"I wasn't going to go right away, but I heard about the bonus and decided to jump on it," Mr. McCormick, 19, said a couple of days after signing up.

The new bonus comes with a "Quick Ship" provision that cuts the average 40-day wait time between sign-up and departure for basic training.

Mr. McCormick, who leaves for basic and infantry training at Fort Benning, Ga., on Sept. 6., said the accelerated departure doesn't bother him or his family.

"My three brothers are ready for me to go," he said with a smile.

Since the bonus was unveiled in July, thousands of recruits have signed up.

"People are calling here saying $20,000 is more than they've made in the past two years," said Staff Sgt. Brent Feltner, 27, the commander of a strip-mall recruiting station in Lexington, S.C.

He said most recruits are happy to leave early.

"Maybe they want to get out of South Carolina, get away from Mom and Dad," he said.

The Army's offer stands out to many in a state where the unemployment level is fourth highest in the country, at 5.9 percent in July, up from 5.5 percent in June. It was 6.2 percent in July a year ago.

Plus, the bonus comes on top of other benefits, such as college tuition assistance, and medical and dental care.

"There's not a job out there that they can enter with zero experience that will help them pay for college," Staff Sgt. Feltner said. Half the bonus is paid out on completion of basic training and training in individual specialties, some of which can take at least a year, Staff Sgt. Feltner said.

The rest is to be doled out over the course of active-duty enlistment, which must be for at least two years, though some specialties require longer enlistments.

The accelerated sign-up program doesn't shorten training time or send soldiers into the field before they've had specialized training, said Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Ky.,

The Army has offered bonuses before - some ranging from about $10,000 to $15,000 - but $20,000 is the largest amount Mr. Smith said he's seen in his 26 years with the military.

"We've had a good August. It's been a good tool to use," said Mr. Smith. He said the bonus will help the Army reach a goal of recruiting 80,000 soldiers in fiscal year 2007. After missing its monthly recruiting goals for two months in a row, the Army announced in August that it had slightly exceeded its target for July. It signed up 9,972 people, up from the 9,750 it was hoping for.

Those recruits opting for the Army bonus seem to have already made up their minds to join the military - they just haven't settled on which branch to join, Staff Sgt. Feltner said.

"It helps to solidify their decision," he said.

Sgt. John Tate, another recruiter in the Lexington office, said the Army's job options, not just the bonuses, play a big role in recruiting. One female recruit who signed up recently chose to become a paralegal with a subspecialty in airborne parachutist training.

"She wanted to jump out of planes, but she also wanted inside, office work," Mr. Tate said.

BOOSTING THE NUMBERS

Since the $20,000 recruiting bonus was unveiled in July, more than 6,200 recruits have signed up to begin basic training before Oct. 1, a move that boosts end-of-fiscal year recruiting numbers.

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jdcooper
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jdcooper 09/02/07 - 11:20 am
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It's a shame that our

It's a shame that our government has to bribe young kids to join the military. If we had capable leaders that weren't irresponsible with the lives of our military- more people would join!!! Save the danger for when our country is REALLY under attack!

sjgraci
2
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sjgraci 09/02/07 - 11:43 am
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Bring back the draft.

Bring back the draft.

The_Last_Word
2
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The_Last_Word 09/02/07 - 11:48 am
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It's not the money - that is

It's not the money - that is just a bonus that affects the timing of the enlistment. The majority of people joining today are patriots. Americans love a winner and that is why they are joining today versus just a few years ago in the 90s.

gemini62882
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gemini62882 09/02/07 - 11:59 am
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You know that we wouldn't

You know that we wouldn't have to bribe anybody if the government would have made the right decision from the beginning. I feel that the government has let down this entire country. After the September 11 attacks the government ahould have sent some airplanes over the countries were the terrorist were from and dropped nuclear bombs. We did it after we got attacked at Pearl Harbor. If they would have just dropped the bombs then there wouldn't be so many soldiers that have died. The government needs to stop trying to make peace with other countries when they can't even have peace in our country.

jack
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jack 09/02/07 - 12:13 pm
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jdcooper, get your head out

jdcooper, get your head out of your posterior. We ARE under attack, and it is buffoons like you that under minds out efforts against those who would destroy us. Thiose "bribes" the military Army pays, pays for a lot of college, if not all. BTW, in case you haven't figured it out, the ALL VOLUNTEER Flrce is NOT cheap. Young men and women today ain't getting drafted, therefore don't have to accept a pittance inh pay after the draft was repealed..

jack
11
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jack 09/02/07 - 12:15 pm
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gemini2882, just how young

gemini2882, just how young are you? You think and post like about a 5th grader.

MAnd130630
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MAnd130630 09/02/07 - 12:49 pm
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I spent 26 years in uniform.

I spent 26 years in uniform. Do not comment on anything dealing with the military if you, yourself have not earned the right to wear a uniform. Me and my brothers and sisters have given more than you will ever realize so you can give your dumb [filtered word] opinion. We sacrifice so you have your rights...Think about who has the heart to protect your rights. So any IDIOT that has anything negative to say about the military...Join or be QUIET!

BamaFanNGa
68
Points
BamaFanNGa 09/02/07 - 02:11 pm
0
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Thank you for your loyal

Thank you for your loyal service MAnd130630.

notsuprised
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notsuprised 09/02/07 - 02:13 pm
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Thank you MAand130630.

Thank you MAand130630. Everyone that hasnt been in has something to say. I too have served proud and am amazed at the comments that are thrown at soldiers who are DYING for your ignorant butt to have an opinion.

unknown1
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unknown1 09/02/07 - 02:15 pm
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Bribe?????? jdcooper you are
Unpublished

Bribe?????? jdcooper you are an idiot. We are under attack everyday. You go help find osama and every other terrorist in training and see what it cost. I have spent 20 years serving my country with pride so idiots like you can sleep peacefully at night.

Told ya
1
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Told ya 09/02/07 - 03:28 pm
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They paid $6k me to learn to

They paid $6k me to learn to type in the 80's.

Told ya
1
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Told ya 09/02/07 - 03:28 pm
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They paid $6k me to learn to

They paid $6k me to learn to type in the 80's.

t of i
25
Points
t of i 09/02/07 - 03:44 pm
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My thanks to everyone who

My thanks to everyone who served, is serving or will serve.

ms.acevado
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ms.acevado 09/02/07 - 07:15 pm
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This is so true.... I'm in

This is so true.... I'm in the military right now.... as we speak at a deployed location and the little bit of time I have free I like to call my family and see what's going on back home.... To check the online newspaper and see comments like this really upsets me. Does anyone appreciate what soldiers do? Also like the statement that was said earlier, if you haven't given any of your time to the military don't comment on how much money we are getting. Sometimes what we get paid is still not enough to bribe some of you to do the actual job we do. We may not be in danger everyday but when the time comes we have to perform.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 09/02/07 - 08:28 pm
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I support the comments of

I support the comments of jdcooper and sjgraci. Now I speak for myself.
It is not incumbent on every American on the homefront to bow down and
scrape to every American who has served, is serving, or will serve in
the armed forces of United States. Personally I've never seen such a
bunch of self-congratulatory people as veterans. Their high level of
anger with anyone who disagrees with them is also evident. We need the
armed forces to DEFEND this country not to wage wars of aggression. This country is NOT under attack,
jack. Neither Iraq nor the Taliban for that matter attacked United
States. Al Qaeda attacked United States (after 10 years of United
States dropping bombs on Iraq noted Republician presidential candidate
Ron Paul) and the top leaders of Al Qaeda are still on the lam 6 years
after 9/11. You're doing a heckava job with that War on Terrrrr,
Bushie!

bubbelz
0
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bubbelz 09/02/07 - 08:28 pm
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0
I agree, BRING BACK THE

I agree, BRING BACK THE DRAFT.....
The government can pay lots of $$$$$$ for recruits, what about our healthcare system? If the government can shell out these dollars, why can't they shell out $$$$$ for better healthcare for all Americans. Healthcare keeps rising and we don't see the government stepping in to relieve us of all the costs we have to pay. PUT our $$$$$ to better use. If we are hurting so much for getting recruits, it is time for a DRAFT. Maybe that would even bring some respect from some of these young people who don't care about nothing. Just my opinion

dallas tx.
1
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dallas tx. 09/02/07 - 10:08 pm
0
0
how stupid we have become 20

how stupid we have become 20 gs;s give you your life to the army thats tell me money can buy anything this day;s but not my family or friends!!!!! we will work 3 jobs before army gets us wake up small mind person$#%#^&&&$$&^^*^*^*

The_Last_Word
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The_Last_Word 09/03/07 - 08:17 am
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For many, it's not enough to

For many, it's not enough to enjoy the fruits of freedom. They must attack the very ones that guarantee that freedom. Veterans never expect anyone to "bow down and scrape" to them. They expect nothing - not even thanks. But when you have worn the uniform of the United States of America, you will know how it feels when your brothers and sisters are attacked. We do tend to stick together.

lilmace
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lilmace 09/03/07 - 10:27 am
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After listening to my spouse,

After listening to my spouse, I also say Reinstate the Draft. He was drafted and served in Viet Nam. The militay at that time had an excellant degree of diversity due to the draft. With the draft you do not get people ony joining for the money because they do not have a job you get people who do have a job and may have excellant job skills to offer.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 09/03/07 - 11:03 am
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I'll tell you one thing.

I'll tell you one thing. Uncle Sam ain't getting his bloody hands on my two daughters who are now almost 16 and 13 years old. They might register for the draft, but the day they are drafted against their will to "serve" this country, especially if United States is still at war in Iraq in October 2009 when my oldest turns 18, that is the day we leave this country. If I had sons, I would feel the same way about them. They would not be forced to go to fight this war or act in support roles for a war they oppose. I am advising my daughters to look into declaring their conscientious objector status NOW based not necessary on religious but on humanist convictions.

sjgraci
2
Points
sjgraci 09/03/07 - 11:42 am
0
0
20 Grand is a lot of money

20 Grand is a lot of money for an 18 or 19 year old who just got out of high school and has no future. The Army knows this is the best and increasingly only way to get soldiers to join who otherwise would not in a time of a FUBAR war. Call it what you will but bribe is a lot closer to the truth than patriot. Don't get me wrong, I salute everyone who wears the uniform for whatever reason but I'm also smart enough to know that not all who do so are doing it for their country. Still, I have far more respect for them than most of the Chicken Hawks who post here and deride anyone against this insanity. Here's your chance to make 20 grand you Chicken Hawks, sign up and fight for your country. Uncle Sam needs you. America is not at war, America's military is. Bring back the draft.

Why
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Why 09/03/07 - 11:58 am
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Augusta doesn't deserve an

Augusta doesn't deserve an Army post - you will see more negative comments about the military above than you will see yellow ribbons around this city! The bars and restaurants around town offer discounts for Food and Beverage employees but NO DISCOUNTS for the men and women that put their life on the line for our nation. Columbus, GA, Warner Robins, GA, Hinesville, GA, Valdosta, GA to name a few are cities that have large military bases; visit these cities to see the difference! These cities have "Military Welcome" signs everywhere and offer military discounts all over the place. WAKE UP AUGUSTA!!!!

t of i
25
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t of i 09/03/07 - 12:58 pm
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JRHC, your daughters, when

JRHC, your daughters, when and if the time comes, should be smart enough and wise enough to decide for themselves.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 09/03/07 - 01:29 pm
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t of i, didn't you read where

t of i, didn't you read where I wrote "against their will" in my post?
But for the record, the prefrontal cortex of humans (which is the
center of judgement) does not fully mature until 25 years of age. Why
don't you check out the age range that pediatricians still see
patients? (It continues through college.) Why do you think various
insurgent groups use child soldiers? Because they are pliable
(immature) and are not fully aware of the risks to themselves or their
vulnerabilities. No, I object to 18 year olds or even 21 year olds
being drafted. There should be no draft until people are 25 - 40 years
old when they have finished their education and have some life
experiences to draw upon. The U.S. Army sends those who are officer material to West
Point. West Point graduates are at least 21 or 22 before they are
commissioned. Post graduate training follows that before they are sent into combat. Grunts should be afforded no less opportunities than those who
attend U.S. military academies.

Lysa
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Lysa 09/03/07 - 08:00 pm
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I respect everyone who was in

I respect everyone who was in the army, who are in the army, and will be in the army. My grandpas from my dad and my moms side were in the army and so was my dad before he met my mon. I am 13, so I don't plan on joining the army. To me, the problem is not because the US is asking for peace, but because the US gets into almost every countries business. That is why we are with war with Iraq, not because of 9/11. In the late 40's, the US got in N. Korea and S. Korea's business. We took S. Korea's side, we lost. Same with Vietnam, we took the side of N. Vietnam, we lost. The US should just leave these countries to solve their own problems. If it is one of our allies, then I understand why we get involved.

Why
3
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Why 09/03/07 - 08:17 pm
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Lysa you are an IDIOT! Put

Lysa you are an IDIOT! Put your head back in the sand!!!

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 09/03/07 - 08:27 pm
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Lysa, hang in there. Question

Lysa, hang in there. Question authority. I didn't begin to have a clue until U.S. history in the 11th grade. You are way ahead of where I was at your age. You are on the right track, Lysa. Keep learning and keep expressing your opinion. I agree with you.

bone
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bone 09/03/07 - 08:56 pm
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jrhc, you have met your

jrhc, you have met your intellectually-compatible mate; too bad she is a few years your junior. yes, by all means, let's leave these countries to fend for themselves; certainly russia & china will just sit back and allow democracy (or whatever) flourish of its own accord in the middle east. n. korea and vietnam are not even worthy of comparison to the iraq/middle east situation, but don't let that stop you from agreeing with someone, cain.

heffner
0
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heffner 09/03/07 - 09:11 pm
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Lysa and Mr. Cain, Public

Lysa and Mr. Cain, Public school, perhaps?

t of i
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t of i 09/03/07 - 09:18 pm
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JRHC, but I still defer to

JRHC, but I still defer to their judgment, just like my parents deferred to mine and my husband's when we annouced we wanted to get married as rising seniors in college. Can't say that we made either the right or wrong decision. It appears that after 39 years it has been the right one. It also appears that a lot of the decisions sthat my children made at equally the same age have turned out to be right enough. I think all of us who keep up with what is going on out there in the research world understand that those mushy brains don't reach their peak until years after we were given credit for it, back during our time. So, no drinking until 25, no contracts until 25, do I go on? I think not in the practical world.

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