As Army ramps up recruitment efforts, fewer young Americans qual - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

As Army ramps up recruitment efforts, fewer young Americans qualify

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Fewer  young Americans are qualifying to join the nation's largest branch of the military. The U.S. Army is increasing its recruiting efforts but the pool of potential soldiers is getting smaller.

Increasing obesity rates and past criminal behavior are factors that play into a smaller pool of Army candidates. Despite that, a local recruiter in Chattanooga says he is confident the Army will accomplish its recruiting mission.

As more military members retire, the Army is looking to fill the void.

"The problem is that three out of 10 Americans actually qualify for the Army," says SSGT. Richard Adams.

Fewer and fewer Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 qualify to join the Army and that number is expected to drop to two out of 10 by 2020.

"Out of those three of 10, really only 25 percent of those actually want to join the military," says Adams.

SSGT. Adams is the center leader at the recruitment office off Lee Highway in Chattanooga.

"The biggest problem that's going on right now is the obesity in America," says Adams.

Not only are many Americans too heavy, but some have tattoos in the wrong places, failing to meet a stricter tattoo policy. If you are in shorts and a t-shirt, the Army does not want to see your ink.

"It's getting a lot more difficult with the way things are going but I'm confident that we'll be able to meet our mission," says Adams.

It is Adams' job to find people who are 'Army Strong.'

"The common misconception is that if you join the Army, you're going to be on the front lines. That's not the case. We have 150 different jobs," says Adams.

 "I qualified for, I think it was 15 or 16 different jobs," says Brandon Ogle from Dalton, Georgia.

After working eight years for a local cable company, Brandon Ogle joined the ranks. He wants a better future for his wife and two young children.

"The schooling benefits. They have the Montgomery GI Bill, the Post 9/11 GI Bill that you can transfer to your children if you don't use. That'll pay for their school," says Ogle.

"You're helping serve the American people in keeping the freedoms that they have. And no other job you can really say that," says Adams.

On top of health insurance benefits and education assistance, you can receive enlistment bonuses for joining full time or part time in the Army Reserve.

If you have questions, give your local recruitment office a call.
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