Citizen Soldiers Joining, Staying in Record Numbers as Force Approaches 100 percent strength
Story by: Lt. Col. Richard Goldenberg - NY Army National Guard Dated: Wed, Oct 8, 2008
The New York Army National Guard’s latest enlistee, Private Joseph Rios, 19, receives his oath of enlistment from Army Training and Doctrine Command commander General William Wallace in Times Square, New York City on October 1. Rios joined eight other Soldiers for the Army’s milestone ceremony to mark the achievement of Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard recruiting goals for the 2008 fiscal year. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Errol Cadet.
LATHAM -- The New York Army National Guard exceeded its 2008 Fiscal Year recruiting goal, enlisting more than 2,000 new Citizen Soldiers throughout the year and achieving a year-end strength of 10,276 Soldiers across the force.
The fiscal year that began October 1, 2007 and finished on September 30th saw the New York Army National Guard exceed its end strength goal of 10,100 by 1.75 percent.
“Over the past three years, we’ve seen the Army National Guard grow from 333,000 to 362,000 Citizen Soldiers,” said Maj. Gen. Joseph J. Taluto, the Adjutant General for the New York State National Guard. “The Guard has been called more than ever in that time period and it is a remarkable success story to attract almost 29,000 great Americans to our rolls during such challenging times.”
Taluto joined Secretary of the Army Pete Geren October 1 to mark the end of the Army National Guard, Army Reserve and Active Army recruiting year with an enlistment ceremony in Times Square.
As part of the enlistment ceremony for nine of the Army’s newest Soldiers, the New York National Guard welcomed its newest member, Joseph Rios, 19, from the Bronx.
“Everything the Guard offered outdid every branch in benefits,
money,” said Joseph Rios.
Rios departs for basic training with his brother, Javier, 23, on October 22.
"It’s a family tradition for us. We wanted to become something more," said Javier Rios.
The all-volunteer Army achieved the fiscal year’s recruiting goals with 169,500 strong in all three of the Army’s components - Active Army, Army Reserve and the Army National Guard.
“I’m proud that the Army National Guard exceeded its portion of the Total Army’s recruiting goal this past fiscal year,” Taluto said at the event. “Whether here in New York or across the nation, the Army National Guard exceeded our overall accessions goal, finishing the 2008 recruiting year about 107 percent above our goal.”
The final strength of the New York Army National Guard is now at 98.98 percent manning. This is an unprecedented achievement in the history of the New York Army National Guard.
The New York Army National Guard was authorized a strength of 10,381for the 2008 fiscal year.
In fiscal 2009 the New York Army National Guard authorized end-strength will increase to 10,440 due to changes within unit structures.
“We’re at the point now where our force is quickly approaching 100 percent strength,” Taluto said, “and I fully expect that we will pass through that mark as we welcome more and more great New Yorkers into the force.”
Maintaining New York Army National Guard strength is vital for ensuring that civil support and disaster relief missions the governor assigns the Guard can be accomplished. When Army National Guard strength in a state drops, units, and the equipment those units need to support state missions, can be moved to other states, Taluto explained.
A robust New York Army National Guard ensures that both manpower and equipment needed to handle state missions are available.
The year also saw a drop in overall attrition in the force from last year’s 21 percent to approximately 19 percent in 2008, a marked improvement in the retention of New York’s Citizen Soldiers. The loss rate had been as high as 24 percent in 2006 following a high period of troop deployments to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Other successes in the force during the year include the reenlistment of approximately three quarters of career Citizen Soldiers. Reenlistments for National Guard careers were 72 percent as some 774 Non-Commissioned Officers made the choice to stay in the New York National Guard.