U.S. Armed Forces experiencing a recruit shortage

Staff Sergeant Cantrill says it's important that potential military recruits stop by local recruiting offices to learn more about military benefits.
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 5:35 PM CST
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - People decide to join the United States military for various reasons, including health and school benefits and defending the country’s freedom.

“I’ve always had that inner sense of wanting to serve other people. I’m a very selfless individual, and I put others before myself. I think that’s what led me to join the military because you can’t do that anywhere else,” said Jonathon Moon, a captain in the United States Marine Corps.

“Being in the Navy, you’re not just doing this for yourself. There is a mission, and it takes a team of different people,” said Kalahan Baker. “We all have a part in it to fulfill that mission. I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself.”

Finding new military recruits, though, is becoming an issue. According to Rock Island Arsenal personnel, less than one percent of the United States population is in the military.

“Twenty-three percent of the youth that applies are completely disqualified for medical reasons, obesity, addiction, and stuff like that,” said Blake Cantrill, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army. “Then, 75% have family that have been in the military, which doesn’t seem like an issue, but if you look at it, the veteran population is constantly declining. As those numbers drop, then fewer and fewer people will know about the Army.”

Despite low recruiting numbers, people like Philip VanDerHeyden said that joining the Army saved his life.

“[It’s] being able to represent this country and being able to have the kind of job that gives me purpose. The feeling of knowing I’m a cog in that wheel is amazing,” VanDerHeyden said. It means everything honestly. [The military] is a very significant tool if you want to change your life, or at least have a solid path.”

A local Army Career Center can be found at 2820 E. 53rd St. in Davenport.