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Minnesota National Guard
U.S. military implements new recruitment strategies


More than eight years into fighting two wars, the US military finds itself in an odd but enviable position: All four military branches and all six Reserve components reached their recruiting targets, both in quality and quantity, for the first time in the history of the all-volunteer force

Eschewing the cold call and hard sell for what it calls the "soft lead," the military is employing the latest marketing techniques to secure the newest generation of recruits, who are plucked from an increasingly select pool of applicants In a turnaround from as little as five years ago, Armed Forces enlistment requirements have never been higher

"There's an awful lot of good kids out there who are coming out of high school with no job prospects or are having trouble affording college or don't see college is the route for them That's the prime recruiting market," said William Strickland, a retired Air Force colonel who commanded recruiting in the western United States

For a glimpse at prime recruiting territory for this new military, take a look at Mankato, Minn In the past two years, the Mankato area has had 143 recruits sign on the dotted line to join the various branches of the military, with the Minnesota National Guard by far the leader Last year, the Guard boasted a 60 percent share of the military recruitment market

In Mankato, the recruiting effort has included things such as trucking in climbing walls at high schools after proms to sponsoring tournaments when the latest version of the combat video game "Call of Duty" comes out Knocking down conventional wisdom, it also is in places such as Mankato where potential recruits are more likely to meet the increasingly demanding standards the military puts on its enlistees

"It's been a lot of long hours to learn what the area is like and what the area needed, plus what the units needed," said Staff Sgt Lawrence Eustice, one of three Guard recruiters stationed in Mankato

Guard recruiters are all volunteers and receive no commission or extra benefits for the number of recruits they sign

"They get paid the same whether the applicant says yes or no," said Maj Jess Ulrick, commander of the southern Minnesota Guard recruiting team

Recruiters such as Eustice say a sense of community and a desire to serve are motivating the high number of military recruits in the Mankato area Detractors say a stifling economy and few choices are the motivation, reflecting national recruitment trends

Rural and semi-rural communities always have been outstanding recruiting markets, experts say, because kids want to get out of town Blue-collar and middle-class areas are represented in the all-volunteer force because, on average, potential recruits from poorer communities might have criminal backgrounds, lower test scores, or have difficulty meeting the physical requirements Recruits from higher-income areas are likely to go through ROTC in college or enter the service academies

The atmosphere in Mankato is not always conducive to recruitment In April, members of the Mankato Area Activist Collective set up a counter recruiting table outside a recruitment station, protesting what they said were lies perpetrated by recruiters about military service

"The college and the community draw people in, and once they are in and they can't succeed either educationally or professionally, they are sitting with that one option left and it's military service," said James Dimock, an assistant professor at Minnesota State University at Mankato, and a faculty adviser to the group "People with financial options almost never choose the military"

A Government Accountability Office report to Congress found that substantiated cases of recruiter irregularities accounted for less than 1 percent of overall enlistees But it also warned that if economic conditions improve, it may become more difficult for the military to find the kind of recruits it is getting now

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Published Thursday, October 14, 2010

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Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.

Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.

Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."

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Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
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"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.

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