NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Staffing shortages continue to plague virtually every industry and this Veteran’s Day United States military recruiters revealed they are not immune to the struggles.
“That selfless service to find that future marine, that future person who’s going to take care of America,” said Staff Sergeant Adrian Juarez.
For Staff Sergeant Juarez joining the military was in his blood and the Marine Corps unearthed his passion.
“It was my calling. It was different, that challenge, that hard grit lifestyle,” Juarez said.
Now, 11 years in, he has a tall task recruiting civilians.
“It’s been, not the easiest,” Juarez said.
According to the Department of Defense, the Marine Corps and Space Force are the only two service branches that met their active duty enlisted recruiting goals this year. The Army fell 15,000 soldiers short last year and by more than 5,000 short this year. The Air Force missed their recruitment goals for the first time since 1999.
Sergeant Juarez said recruiters typically start in high schools which was made impossible by the pandemic.
“Start building that relationship with students,” Juarez said. “Three years of a gap through COVID, they haven’t had that exposure from a Marine Corps recruiter or any military service coming in and educating them on the opportunities.”
According to Juarez, only 23 percent of Americans qualify for the Marines based on physical, mental and moral standards, but they hit their recruitment goals by 351 new Marines.
He said he will spend this Veteran’s Day back at work recruiting future Marines and future veterans.
“It comes from that self of service that I’ve always had growing up as well. Giving back,” Juarez said.
For more information about what it takes to be a Marine: click here.