Difficult to Recruit Army Candidates, US Navy Targets Residents in Debt

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Army recruits take a Navy Physical Readiness Test at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, USA, August 1, 2019. Photo/US Navy/DVIDS/MSC 1st Class Chris Williamson

WASHINGTON – The United States Navy (US) has difficulty recruiting new recruits. That’s why they’re targeting debt-ridden Americans to enlist in the army.

The Navy promises to pay off US student loans, plus an enlistment bonus of up to $50,000.

“New recruits who are willing to enlist through September 30 and meet other requirements will be eligible for a $65,000 debt payment, bringing their total potential bonus to $115,000,” a US Navy statement said Saturday.

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This offer applies to new sailors and veterans who wish to return to service and soldiers who did not receive a bonus for their first enlistment.

“This is an unprecedented, life-changing opportunity for those burdened by student loans,” said Rear Admiral Lex Walker, head of the U.S. Naval Recruiting Command.

Nearly one in five US adults have student loan debt, averaging about $30,000. The country’s total student loans are nearly $1.75 trillion.

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The offer comes just six months after the Navy increased its maximum enlistment bonus to $50,000 from $40,000, due to a competitive labor market.

The incentives do not appear to be sufficient to meet personnel needs, as all branches of the US military are reportedly struggling to meet their 2022 recruitment targets.

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