Re-Upping

by James S. Robbins

Buried in a Washington Post article on page A6 today: “the Army has exceeded its personnel retention goal by 9 percent, with soldiers in the Third Infantry Division — now on its second tour in Iraq — reenlisting at 112 percent of the goal. The First Cavalry Division has the highest reenlistment rate, at 138 percent of the goal, according to the Army. All 10 of the Army’s divisions are surpassing retention estimates.” In other words, those soldiers who are at the tip of the spear, the men and women who have seen the most action in Iraq, are staying in the Army at rates far above what was expected. An Army source tells me that retention rates have climbed every year since 2001. So all the negative press about minor recruitment shortfalls really ought to be weighed against the fact that the troops who are actually defending America are voting with their boots in increasing numbers to keep doing the job they do so well.