SPECIAL REPORT: Supplying our Nation’s Heroes
As the Army struggles to recruit new soldiers, FOX 9's Adam Klepp spoke to one recruiting office in Yuma outperforming the rest
YUMA, Ariz. (KECY, KYMA) - The U.S. army is struggling to find new recruits.
In October, the Secretary of the Army said they missed their recruiting goal for 2022 by 15,000 soldiers.
Yuma County is home to two major military bases, and there is a concern for the future of these forces.
A dwindling number of interested applicants is making military recruiting one tough job.
The missed goal is being blamed on many factors including a tight labor market, COVID-19, and the overall physical fitness of young Americans.
But in Yuma, one army recruiting office is outperforming the rest.
For Station Commander Endellys Sarmento and his team, the year is split into 4 quarters, with a goal to be completed in each.
He says they met their goal last year, and for the Fiscal Year 2023, his team is already overperforming.
“This quarter I’m up for 22 contracts. My goal is to get 30, because that means I’m doing my job well,” Sarmento said.
Station Commander Sarmento says recruiting in Yuma has its benefits.
“Yuma is a military town, and people from Yuma know what the military brings to the table, and what can be good for the community,” Sarmento said.
Yuma is also full of veterans who have already served.
Encouraging young Americans to do the same.
“They’ll build you up physically, and mentally. Where you can have confidence in yourself,” local veteran Chop Rodriguez said.
“I’m telling my daughters to go in, they’re a little scared they don’t want to go to war. And I tell them not everyone gets shot at,” veteran Richard Perez said.
A fear of combat is one of the biggest concerns Sarmento hears from potential recruits, but also parents.
He says jobs in the army are wide-ranging, and not just on the battlefield.
“You choose your own job in the Army. If you don’t want to do a combat job you don’t have to do it. We wear the same uniform, but we have different positions,” Sarmento said.
He adds that the benefits of joining the army now include money and priceless skills.
“We’re offering you a bachelor’s degree, technical knowledge, certification, and leadership skills. I believe with the skillset we provide you, you’ll be prepared to fight for a good job in the civilian sector," Sarmento said.
If you’re interested in a potential career in the armed forces you can contact the various recruiting stations for the Armed forces in our area.
Yuma Army Recruiting Station - (602) 318-8498
Yuma Marines Recruiting Station - (928) 782-1772
Yuma Navy Recruiting Station - (928) 783-0731
Yuma Arizona National Guard Recruiting Station - (480) 229-9739