$20,000 Quick-Ship Bonus

Discussion in 'General' started by Perpetual Burn, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-070803recruit,1,5385649.story

    Struggling to fill the ranks in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Army is now trying a new incentive: offering new and returning enlistees up to $20,000 "Q.S." bonuses in exchange for a promise to ship out quickly to basic training within 30 days of signing on the dotted line.

    The bonus-"Q.S." for "quick-ship"-has already had some success in the 10 days since the army started offering it.

    With less than two months to go until the end of the federal fiscal year, the army is scrambling to make recruiting goals of 80,000 new active soldiers in basic training before September 30.


    One of the new quick shippers, Howard Cable, 20, and his soon-to-be brother-in-law, John Tutorow, 21, walked into the Army Recruiting Battalion in South Bend, Ind., just as the new program got underway.

    "I was a student, and it was just getting way too expensive," said Cable, who would have been starting his junior year at Calvin Christian College in Grand Rapids, Mich. in the fall. "I had a job, but it wasn't really what I wanted."

    Cable learned that he could transfer his credits into the army, that the army would help him and Tutorow pay for college after they finished their terms in the military, and that they would receive a healthy new signing bonus: $20,000 each.

    That was early last week. On Monday, Tutorow and Cable signed contracts and agreed to ship out for nine weeks of basic training in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, starting on Tuesday.

    "It was a bit of a hurry," Cable admitted. "But I didn't want to go back to college, so I could go right away…the money didn't make that much difference to me. It really made a difference for him though," he said, referring to Tutorow, who got married Sunday, but decided to ship out little more than a week later to take advantage of the offer.

    Under the "quick-ship" program, a new recruit can be on the ground, in a combat situation in as little as three to four months, depending on what additional training is required for a soldier's particular job specialization. Normally, the timeline is longer, as recruits are given up to a year from the date of signing their military contract to report to basic training. It covers recruits who enlist for at least two years of active duty and report quickly to basic training. In fact, aspiring recruits willing to sign up for at least four years and report quickly can get as much as $40,000 in installments over the time of their service.

    But presently, time is of the essence, and keeping up ranks on the battlefield has become a special challenge for recruiters in past months. This spring, the army began to fall short of its mark, signing up only 5,101 of an expected 5,500 in May, and 7,031 of an expected 8,400 in June. (Figures for July will not be released until Friday.)

    The army has offered signing bonuses in other instances when "Be All That You Can Be" and other such recruiting slogans have proven an especially tough sell. The most recent instance was in March, when the army offered $15,000 bonuses for soldiers who agreed to a quick training and deployment schedule. But lately, as the future of the U.S.'s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan becomes more uncertain and conditions for soldiers fighting those battles grow more trying, the army has had to raise the offer.

    "It's been a very tough recruiting environment for several years, and when we get into a tough environment, we're working very close in," said Douglas Smith, a spokesman for U.S. Army Recruiting. "We have to fill those training seats."

    But the environment that awaits potential recruits is not necessarily something too many are eager to rush into. The months of April and May saw some of the highest death tolls for American troops in Iraq since hostilities began, with a majority of casualties resulting from improvised explosives, such as roadside bombs.

    In April, combat tours were extended from one year to 15 months, the longest in American history since World War II. The majority of troops in Iraq are now also on their second or third tour of duty.

    And in June, the Bush administration announced the completion of a 28,500-strong troop surge in Iraq, the effects of which will not be officially assessed until September.

    Lawmakers in Washington may be discussing ways to pull out forces and end the war, but for now, it is the recruiting office's special challenge to bring in enough warm bodies to fill the boots on the front lines.

    Despite the challenge, the Army has not been advertising the $20,000 incentive, relying instead on word of mouth to get the message out. Recruiters say they prefer it that way, even though time is limited, both for the army and the offer, which is likely to disappear at the end of the fiscal year.

    "You won't find somebody coming in straight off the street without an interest in joining," said Sgt. William Dunn, the recruiter who talked to Tutorow and Cable. "I don't want to put someone in the army strictly because they hear about the $20,000…but money talks."

    Most of the recruits who have taken advantage of the bonus to date have at least been considering military service, or have already signed up, and agree to expedite their deployment.

    Paul Roldan, 18, had been mulling over enlisting in the army since the summer before his senior year in high school.

    "I was looking into college, other jobs, things like that," the Chicago native said. He said he had pretty much decided on the army by graduation, but hadn't finally committed before hearing about the "quick-ship" bonus offer, which started on July 25. He signed a contract on the 27th, and will also report to Fort Sill for basic training Tuesday.

    Roldan said based on his aptitude test scores, his job specialization-cannon crew, an on-the-battlefield position right behind the infantry line-and what he knows of friends that have enlisted, he was expecting about a $5,000-signing bonus. Because he agreed to ship out for training within 30 days and enlist for three years, he said he received an extra $20,000 on top of that money, making the offer one that was too good to pass up.

    "There's not many 18-year-olds walking around with $25,000 in their pocket," he said proudly.
     
  2. that is pretty cool I think, it gives people a much better reason to risk their lives for our piece of shit country, something I could never do. I'm glad to see that our tax money is funding the war that should have never started more than ever. it's still cool if you need money though.
     
  3. Tempting...
     
  4. thats only for those nasty girls national guard guys right?
     
  5. nope, I just got out of Active duty army back in March of this year.
     

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