Army recruiters and senior service leaders want to recruit 10,000 new soldiers during a three-day push between June 30 and July 2, service officials said Wednesday.

The event, dubbed Army National Hiring Day, will help the Army make up lost ground on its recruiting numbers, the officials said during a telephone call with reporters. The plan, which Army Times previously reported, is for Army Recruiting Command to tap every senior leader to help in the effort.

The 10,000-recruit goal includes getting soldiers into recruiting offices for interview appointments. But the service won’t meet the goal unless all 10,000 interested people sign contracts, said Army recruiting commander Maj. Gen. Frank M. Muth.

The drive is set against a recruiting backdrop of struggles after the coronavirus shuttered recruiting stations across the nation this spring. Recruiters were forced to work completely online until May.

“We probably got about 50 percent of what we would normally get,” said Muth. “Are we behind? We are. But it’s much better than zero if we didn’t have the ability to go virtual.”

Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Gen. Paul Funk said the 10,000-soldier goal includes a wide range of career fields, but there are focus areas.

Some of the key jobs include infantry, multiple launch rocket system crewmembers, missile defense crewmembers, unmanned aircraft systems operators, M1A2 crewmembers, linguists, psychological operations specialists, and explosive ordnance disposal specialists, Funk said during the telephone call.

Anyone who enlists during the three-day drive is eligible for a $2,000, $1,500 or $500 sign-on bonus, as well, depending on metrics like ASVAB scores.

“Each [bonus] is based on the quality of the applicant that comes in. It’s not necessarily geared towards those MOSs,” said Muth. “The MOSs that Funk mentioned have separate bonuses.”

Army Recruiting Command’s enlistment goal for the fiscal year is expected to be between roughly 63,000 and 67,000 new soldiers, but that’s a moving target, said Muth.

“I don’t really know because of retention increasing,” he added. “It’s really unprecedented the amount of retention going on.”

Army recruiters signed up roughly 80 percent of their requirements in June. Historically, recruiters meet about 90 percent of their requirements during that month, according to Muth, so the recruiting numbers are already starting to pick up.

While the ultimate recruiting goal is still in flux, the Army’s end-strength goal is set at 485,000 soldiers.

“I’m happy to report, we’re on track to hit our end-strength,” said Eugene Wardynski, the Army’s assistant secretary for manpower and reserve affairs.

Retention has been particularly high this year, according to the Army. And though the service has been offering short-term extensions to some soldiers, the “vast majority” of retentions have been the traditional full-term reenlistment.

“We’ve done about 2,000 short-term extensions to keep people in the force three to 11 months,” said Wardynski. “That’s a very small share of overall retention.”

The Army’s retention goal for the year was set at 50,200 soldiers. The service is nearly 2,000 soldiers ahead of that already, added Wardynski, who noted there are still several months left in the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

Kyle Rempfer was an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.

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