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June 16, 2005

Read the Pentagon's "School Recruiting Program Handbook"

CounterRecruiter.net has obtained a copy of the Army's "School Recruiting Program Handbook." You can download a PDF of the 12-page document here.

Earlier today, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert mentioned the handbook in his column "Uncle Sam Really Wants You".

Herbert writes:

    With the situation in Iraq deteriorating and the willingness of Americans to serve in the armed forces declining, a little-known Army publication called the "School Recruiting Program Handbook" is becoming increasingly important, and controversial.

    The handbook is the recruiter's bible, the essential guide for those who have to go into the nation's high schools and round up warm bodies to fill the embarrassingly skimpy ranks of the Army's basic training units.

    The handbook declares forthrightly, "The goal is school ownership that can only lead to a greater number of Army enlistments."

    What I was not able to find in the handbook was anything remotely like the startlingly frank comments of a sergeant at Fort Benning, Ga., who was quoted in the May 30 issue of The Army Times. He was addressing troops in the seventh week of basic training, and the paper reported the scene as follows:

    "Does anybody know what posthumous means?" Staff Sgt. Andre Allen asked the 150 infantrymen-in-training, members of F Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment.

    A few hands went up, but he answered his own question.

    "It means after death. Some of you are going to get medals that way,' he said matter-of-factly, underscoring the possibility that some of them would be sent to combat and not return."

    That's the honest message recruits get once they're in. The approach recommended by the recruiting handbook is somewhat different. It's much softer. Recruiters trying to sign up high school students are urged to schmooze, schmooze, schmooze.

Here are some excerpts from the "School Recruiting Program Handbook":

  • "Black History Month: Participate in events as available"

  • "Hispanic Heritage Month. Participate in events as available"

  • "Be so helpful and so much a part of the school scene that you are in constant demand."

  • "The football team usually starts practicing in August. Contact the coach and volunteer to assist in leading calisthenics or calling cadence during team runs."

  • "Homecoming normally happens in October. Coordinate with the homecoming committee to get involved with the parade."

  • "Some influential students such as the student president or the captain of the football team may not enlist; however, they can and will provide you with referrals who will enlist."

  • "If you wait until they're seniors, it's probably too late."

  • "Don't forget the administrative staff. ... Have something to give them (pen, calendar, cup, donuts, etc.) and always remember secretary's week, with a card or flowers."

  • "Get involved with local Boy Scout troops. Scoutmasters are typically happy to get any assistance you can offer. Many scouts are [high school] students and potential enlistees or student influencers."

Read the full "School Recruiting Program Handbook" (PDF)

Posted by MikeBurke on June 16, 2005 | Permalink


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Guess what, if you succeed in preventing the military recruiters from obtaining contact information from enough high schools, the recruiting shortfalls will do nothing but get bigger and bigger. If that happens guess what is next... Yeah, the draft. Do you want that? Your child will no longer have the option of saying no thanks. All I am saying is that you should be VERY careful what you wish for.

Posted by: Mike | Jun 17, 2005 2:25:08 PM


As far as I'm concerned the draft can't come soon enough!

You are basically advocating for everyone to sit down, shut up and let the current recruiting status quo continue. In other words, "f*&k kids whose parents/schools/teachers aren't wise to the ways of predatory recruiting." The current recruiting paradign while at war is immoral and ethically indefensible.

The draft, if it comes to that will be the best thing to happen to this country in a long, long time. For starters it will infuse our increasingly divided and fractious country with a "leavening experience" of sorts. Imagine the solidarity of parents on Park Ave., in Rye, in Bed-Stuy and Mott Haven all sharing the burden in this undertaking.

I can think of no better remedy to prevent preemptive wars or to "re-connect
" Americans of different socio-economic groups.

I've been a recruiter "on the numbers" in NYC (thankfully not assigned to target high schoolers) and I can tell you that current and past recruiting practices in the tr-state area are largely driven by which neighborhoods/areas have the least economic/educational opportunity. This explains why Bergen County NJ (pop. 850,000) has 1 Army Recruiting station and the Bronx (pop. 1,400,000) has seven; even though the Bronx has LESS enlistment eligible youth 18-34 than Bergen County (factor in dropouts, undocumented aliens, single parenthood, ASVAB failures and past felony arrests as disqualifiers).

I'd venture there's a lot more "patriotism" in Bergen County if you judge support for the war, yellow ribbons on SUVs and GOP party enrollment as support for our current Iraq policy. Still, those folks aren't being recruited and they aren't joining. I guess you're just happy with this status quo as long as we don't "rock the boat" so the shanghaing and impressment of kids from less afluant areas continues unimpeded.

When was the last time an Army or USMC recruiter visited Tenafly, Ridgewood or Glen Rock high schools in NJ? These clowns are at Theodore roosevelt, DeWitt Clinton and Taft in the Bronx on a seemingly daily basis!

Posted by: IRR Soldier... | Jun 17, 2005 2:52:07 PM

Whoa, good find with the school-recruiting handbook. Every student with a conscience should print a copy and put it under his or her schoolmaster's door.

Posted by: jarjarhead | Jun 18, 2005 5:23:12 PM

Ha...check out some of the reaction to the counter-recruitment movement. Pathetic:


I didn't know I hated freedom and America!


Posted by: jarjarhead | Jun 18, 2005 5:41:12 PM

Sometimes what the military doesn't want it's recruiters to say says a lot. From the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, Special Recruiter Assistance Program's bri=ochure, online at https://www.usarec.army.mil/hrap/soldierapp/srap_pocket_guide.pdf

Selected "Operational Points to Remember"
Avoid speculation on performance success of
particular weapons systems and numbers of “kills.”

Avoid providing estimates, numbers or vivid
descriptions that may be shocking to nonmilitary
individuals of individual kills they made.

Don’t speculate on the philosophical, political or
strategic aspects of combat operations in
Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.

Do not discuss matters under investigation, to
include incidents of possible fratricide.

Then there is the recent speech at which recruiters were told that the biggest obstacle to recruitment was the "influencers" of potential recruits. "Influencers" roughly translates to anybody who gives a damn about trhe potential recruit--family, friends, school staff, etc. (General Cites Influencers as Part of Recruiting Challenge, online at http://www.dod.mil/news/Jun2005/20050617_1759.html). That article also notes a recruiting program which "partners with business to guarantee new recruits priority interviews right when they complete training or military service."

Posted by: Lee Russ | Jun 20, 2005 11:01:57 AM

A couple of things:
1. "School Ownership" refers to making sure the other services don't have any lee-way in that school. Basically they want them to stiff the compatition. ALL the other services are told to do the same thing. Don't just blame the Army

2. SSG Andre Allen is at a Basic Training Company. Things like that are said as part of the break-down process. It's to shock the troops into paying attention to the skills they're learning so they'll actually know what to do in combat. Would Sprint get many customers if they told all people looking at cell phones "Our cell phones are great but we've got the crappiest customer service in the world!" Probably not. Why would the Army focus on the worst-case of service? Anybody enlisting knows that there is risk involved. If they don't they probably didn't pass the ASVAB and couldn't enlist anyway. I don't see you criticizing the Air Force when they recruit pilots. They send pilots through SEAR traing incase they get shot down. They don't advertise that fact. Why don't you beat up on them? Why don't you beat up on the recruiting of fishermen in Alaska - the most dangerous job in the world!

3. Why is it so bad for Recruiters to get involved with the schools/community. With budget shortfalls across the country it's helpful for the Recruiter to help out physical fitness with sports teams. Hispanics and Blacks are in the military too by the way!

4. Recruiters are not supposed to talk about some things for a reason. Some for operational security, some for classification of certin equipment. Others are because we're not allowed to get into the political process; and because we're not spokesmen for the Military. That's what the Public Affairs Office is for. Lets put this into the civilian world for a second. If somebody from Intel was out talking about their next-gen chip and it's deisgn and what it can do before Intel announced it would he still have his job? NOPE! If That same person started using his job to distribute his personal views on different aspects of society to include OIF while representing Intel would he still have his job? NOPE! And lastly, you don't talk about killing people at all. If you were buying a car and the salesmen started talking about how he ran a bunch of people over would you buy a car from him? I would hope not. This one is just common sense. Secondly you NEVER EVER ask a soldier how many people he's killed or even IF he killed people. It's just down right disrespectful. Would you ask a cop if he's ever shot anybody?


Posted by: Recruiter | Jul 28, 2005 1:39:36 AM

If i had a history of fighting with people including my husband when he was active duty military, though wrong and shouldn't have happened, but have had no formal charges or court proceedings and no jail time served, althought i had to attend 12 weeks of anger management from the department of social workers, is it possible for me to get in the active duty army myself, someone please responded tonight because i really want and need to know. I Want to be an Active Duty Soldier but did make mistakes in the past and my husband want me to have the chance to be one too, to expericence what being a soldier is like first hand.

Posted by: Johanna M. Aupperle | Dec 18, 2006 2:12:14 AM

Since i have been a fighter in the past i know i can kick butt on the battlefield and i hope and pray the army gives me that chances because i don't want to stay a cilivan and have no career prospects out here just fling burger and chicken at a fast food joint for the rest of my life for my mistakes in the past and would ask if you think i have a chance for the military or not.

Posted by: Johanna M. Aupperle | Dec 18, 2006 2:18:36 AM

Comment about the Boy Scouts of America. The BSA strictly prohibits the use of Camouflage and any military associated clothing or equipment. It has distanced itself from the military. At the same time, recruiters may have many skills in demand from the BSA, such as outdoor survival, land navigation and such. The other thing to note is that just because someone is a military recruiter, does not mean they should shirk their responsibilites to society.

As for the other stuff, I found that as an Army Recruiter, that many teachers welcomed a chance to get caught up on grading and other administrative duties and allowed me to stand in for them during class. I always talked with the teacher and school staff about what I was going to discuss prior to the class. I usually talked about life. For example, how important it was to finish High School. The amount of money a High School Grad made in comparrison with a GED. I also would discuss how drugs and booze can affect their lives. I did talk about the Army as well. Mainly from the point of it as a job with a paycheck and benefits. I have the experience of both a civilian career and a military career and discussed with them, at length, about financial planning and long term life plans. I found that if you talked only Army all day long, like the Army wants you too, it tends to make you one-dimensional and people less likely to talk with you.
The military is a neccessity of our being a Nation of free people. I have read those posts that say the Coast Guard and Border Patrol can keep our Nation safe. I disagree. This concept would be the same as saying that there is no need for the Police if you have Brinks Home Security. The concept does not work.

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