October 12th, 2007 11:55 EST
USAF Recruiting quality Airmen remains top priority
Despite an increasingly challenging recruiting environment, the Air Force reached its 2007 enlisted recruiting goals by 100 percent, bringing in 27,801 new Airmen during the past fiscal year.
"The Air Force maintains high standards for recruits in (regard to) aptitude, medical (condition) and personal conduct," said Brig. Gen. Suzanne M. Vautrinot, commander of Air Force Recruiting Service. "Nearly 99 percent of the enlisted force has a high school diploma, and 78.6 percent scored above average on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test."
Air Force recruiting faces some challenges, but it will not compromise the quality of Airmen recruited into the Air Force, General Vautrinot added.
"(Recruiting) is not easy in today's environment," General Vautrinot said during her visit to the Pentagon Oct. 9. "Right now, our economy is strong, unemployment is low and quality people have many options besides military service. As a result, the likelihood that 16- to 24-year-olds will consider military service, as well as the likelihood that major influencers such as family members, teachers or coaches will encourage military service have decreased."
Additionally, due to Air Force-wide cuts in manpower, the number of recruiters has decreased significantly over the past five years and will continue to draw down in the coming year, she said.
As of Oct. 1, the Air Force had already achieved 35 percent of its 2008 recruiting goal of 28,700 Airmen. General Vautrinot attributes this success to the recruiters.
"I've very proud of the job our recruiters are doing," she said. "Recruiting is a face-to-face job, and they know that if they are honest with the recruits and tell them exactly what to expect, those recruits will go into the Air Force and have a great experience."
The new Airmen become a valuable asset to Air Force recruiting.
"Then they call home and tell their friends and families," she said. "We get a majority of our recruits through word of mouth from Airmen who have exactly the experience they were promised. It's all about keeping promises."
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