Nebraska Army National Guard sees decline in enlistments

In 2020 there were 393 new enlistments, so far this year only 210, about half of their yearly goal.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 10:18 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Just last week, the Nebraska Army National Guard welcomed 14 new soldiers. It comes as the number of applications continues dropping in Nebraska and across the country.

In 2020 there were 393 new enlistments, so far this year only 210, about half of their yearly goal. They offer a number of incentives, like tuition assistance, hope to bring in new recruits.

“Currently we’re about halfway, about 51 percent for our recruiting goals for the year,” Maj. Sean O’Neill of the Nebraska Army National Guard’s recruiting and retention battalion said. “We’re at about 65 percent of our retention rate, the goal is 75 percent. We have 100 percent state tuition assistance so for those soldiers, they go to drill on the weekends and then they go to school throughout the year.”

As it stands, the Nebraska National Guard is made up of 3,500 soldiers and 1,000 airmen. Normally they need to recruit 10 percent of that number to replace anyone who may have retired or left the service.

For those within the national guard, work is different than other military units. For soldiers the commitment is only once a month. That gives people like PFC Jacob Riggs-Ramage the ability to serve while also continuing his education.

“The commitment is a perfect balance, I can actually help my community and at the same time help myself on the civilian side and set myself up for success,” Riggs-Ramage said. “I was really looking to fulfill my sense of duty; I wanted something besides school and work that I could commit to and the Nebraska National Guard was certainly the answer.”

Helping pay for school just one of the many ways the Nebraska National Guard helps out their soldiers. They help set up interviews with professional partners and trade school assistance just to name a couple others.

If the Nebraska National Guard might sound like your calling, you can head to their website for more information.