One of the unseen fall outs from the recession is its impact on serving in the armed forces. Since the stock market collapsed and the unemployment rate has risen, the United States military have witnessed a rather significant rise in re-enlistments as men and women flock to the military in the absence of job opportunities. Since the 2009 fiscal year, there have been 427 re-enlistments in the Washington National Guard, and many who are not re-enlisting, are planning to become a full fledged member of the regular army. Sergeant Jerry Frazier, who handles retention for a brigade, notes: “when we first deployed,(last fall) a lot of them didn’t want to re-enlist… but a few months later, a lot of those same guys came back up to me and said they were worried a bout the economy, about paying bills.” Soldiers are being paid extra money to supplement the GI Bill.
There is little question the surge in enlistments stems from the current economic situation in which jobs are being lost and young people are frightened about their futures. Some recruiters are encountering soldiers who want to be deployed to Iraq because it will bring extra money. Is there something wrong when we must entice young men and women to serve their country because it is the only hope for those who lack money or jobs? Is there something wrong with this picture?