VFW supports National Guard

Published 9:11 pm Monday, January 30, 2006

By By Lee “Lavan” Martin
The Alabama National Guard has an illustrious history of support to our Nation and our State. I remember vividly as a high school senior in 1951 when 15 of my graduating class were called to active military duty as a result of the Korean War Conflict. They readily packed their bags and set off to serve our country. Notwithstanding is the recent involvement of our State National Guard, specifically our own company A of the 711th Signal Battalion that recently served in and returned from Iraq. They not only distinguished themselves in Iraq but also returned and subsequently called again to assist with the devastation caused by hurricanes to Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
The Guard has now initiated a recruiting assistance program and needs our help. This program offers up to $2,050 to people who bring into the Guard new recruits.
As of Jan. 12th, 247 people have enlisted in the Guard through the Recruiting Assistance Program, which was introduced in December in five states. Two had been sent to basic training. Now the program is available in 22 states and 14,116 recruits have agreed to serve as Recruiting Assistants. The program is set to go nationwide before the end of 2006.
"That's a remarkable feat by any measurement," Lt. Col. Mike Jones, Deputy Division Chief for Recruiting and Retention for the Guard, said about interest in the program. "We thought we'd have 500 Recruiting Assistants by the end of December."
The program, called G-RAP for short, offers participants $50 for completing a computer online training session to become recruiting assistants, $1,000 for bringing in a new recruit and another $1,000 if that recruit goes to basic training.
At the start of the program, only Guard members could register to be RA's. Now the contractor, Docupak, Inc., is working to hire veterans, retiree's, spouses and other community members, Jones said.
Guard leaders project the program will bring in 7,000 to 11,000 recruits in its first year, Jones has said. The Guard missed its fiscal year 2005 recruiting goal by 20 percent, bringing in 50,219 people instead of 63,002. But they've made their goal so far in the first quarter of 2006.
"The goal here is to get as many Americans as possible helping recruit the Army," Jones said.
Atmore area veterans of Atmore VFW Post 7016, Veterans of Foreign Wars continue to support our Alabama National Guard. We urge all citizens of the Atmore area to do the same.
Contents of this article provided and approved for publications by Army Times Staff writer, Michelle Tan, Army Times and the National VFW.
Lee "Lavan" Martin Atmore VFW Post

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