Phoenix Recruiting Battalion
August 22, 2017
PHOENIX - The Phoenix Recruiting Battalion hosted a brief for Arizona School Board members on opportunities of service in the U.S. Army Aug. 12 at the Springhill Suites Hotel here.
Lt. Col. Dave Clukey, the battalion's commander, briefed the 10 attending school board members on the more than 150 jobs that exist within the Army, available medical and educational benefits, and the lasting impact of serving the nation.
Clukey said it's important to break contemporary paradigms that exist regarding service, one of which involves parents and how they perceive the military.
"Parents see military service as dangerous ... if their son or daughter decided to go into special operations, yes it is dangerous, but it's an exclusive group and not the normal military complex," Clukey said. "The vast preponderance of the military are combat support. These are your cooks, logisticians and people who pack parachutes. This is what parents need to understand; it's not as dangerous as they think."
Most of the jobs available in the Army translate into the civilian sector, Clukey said, making them more valuable.
"This gives them experience doing what they like to do when they get out of the service," he said. "It also gives them free education, which we pay for. That's one of the key benefits we provide."
For every promotion a Soldier takes comes required schooling, he continued, increasing their knowledge and education.
"They can't get promoted unless they go to a school. Every single promotion accounts for additional schooling," Clukey explained. "The Armed Forces is very adamant about continuing education. We want people that are adaptive, clever and free thinking."
Another misconception is people joining the military as a last resort, when all other career options have been exhausted, Clukey said.
"Only three out of 10 of today's youth meet the bare requirements for military service," he said. "The main thing going against them is childhood obesity. That accounts for 31 percent. They do not meet the physical requirements."
Low aptitude is another key factor for future recruits, he said, with 9.5 percent accounting for disqualified applicants.
"Aptitude counts for another large percentage. Lots of applicants don't graduate from high school," Clukey said. "You have to be a high school graduate to enlist these days. The ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) shows educators what students are good at, what they're best suited for in the military (and civilian sector) and (could) potentially pursue a career in."
"The higher the score, the more jobs that are available. The lower the score and the range of jobs goes down," Clukey said.
Clukey talked about the Future Soldier training program, where recruiters mentor potential and new recruits prior to joining the Army or shipping to basic training.
"We do workouts and provide mentorship for those who have joined or are leaning towards joining the Army," Clukey said. "We are mentors for these kids. We want them to be successful. We will challenge them with basic things like map reading, history of the Army and rank structure.
"What I've found is where there's a will there's a way," he continued. "If they're committed to a goal, they will accomplish it."
Clukey also discussed the Partnership for Youth Success program, where first-term Soldiers are guaranteed a job interview with the company of their choice after leaving the Army.
"The Army is partnered with over 500,000 organizations, like U Haul, Global Tranz ... you name it," he said. "When these kids enlist, they're assured of an interview with at least two of these companies. This gives them a foot in the door. They aren't guaranteed a job, but an interview.
"What we want to do is provide productive members of society who have values and experience and put them back into the community," he said.
Devin Del Palacio, vice president, Tolleson Union High School District, said he found the information critical, especially for teachers in his district who may have been unaware about the opportunities the Army provides.
"This was an excellent discussion, because a lot of us oversee districts with thousands of students, and when we're out there, we want to speak intelligently about the Armed Forces and the opportunities that exist," Del Palacio said. "We focus heavily on whether kids are college and career ready, but we need to throw the military option in there.
"The military is a valuable option, especially from the viewpoints of education and leadership, and we shouldn't discount it," he said.
Clukey said he wants people to be aware of everything the Army offers.
"I'm not asking anyone to enlist or for you to steer them in any particular direction, just your advocacy that these opportunities exist and are out there for them," he said. "Educate them on the pros and cons that go with it ... that's all I ask."