Sunday, September 16, 2001

Recruiters waiting to assess effect on sign-ups

By David Eck
Enquirer Contributor

        While there have been reports of increased activity at military recruiting centers, officials say it will take months to know whether this week's events will end up boosting enlistment.

        “There (are) people coming out, but how many of them are qualified applicants ... is hard to tell,” said Staff Sgt. John Asselin of the Air Force Recruiting Service in San Antonio, Texas. “It'll take a while for numbers to catch up.”

        Still, people have shown support by stopping by recruitment offices.

        “We have offices around the country that have seen notes of volunteerism, flowers posted at the door,” Sgt. Asselin said. “Anybody that walked in today to sign up for the Air Force is not going to go in tomorrow. This is something that's months down the road.”

        A spot check of local recruiting offices Friday showed no crowds or lines of people waiting to talk to a recruiter.

        “There's not been a rush,” said Master Sgt. Robert Jennings, a public affairs specialist with the Ohio National Guard.

        “It looks like people are calling. There are some units that are saying they are getting additional calls, others are saying it's not much different,” he said.

        He said the attacks are likely causing former military personnel to think about rejoining, and may also prompt high school students to consider military service.

        “I think that people tend to show their patriotism after events like this,” Sgt. Jennings said. “I would suspect that we would certainly get more inquiries.”

        Military officials also said there are no plans to speed recruit training because of the attacks.

        “I don't see anything that would even suggest that,” Sgt. Jennings said. “We're at such an early stage of everything in this process.”


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