Poor Economy Good News for Military Recruiting Numbers

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FORT RILEY, Kan. - The economy may be one of the military's biggest recruiting tools.

There are many reasons soldiers choose to stay in the military. However, with the job market as tight as it is right now, Pentagon officials acknowledge that bad news for the economy is usually good news for the military.

Specialist Kellan Sheely is one of the soldiers who re-enlisted the first week of December. Friday, he was promoted from Private First Class to Specialist.

"It's a step in the right direction," said Spc. Sheely, who has aspirations of becoming an officer like his father."

Reenlisting is something the government says is more common during hard economic times because of the financial security the military provides.

You've got that job to come to everyday," said Sgt. Matthew Stern, who also reenlisted in December. He said the economy played a small part in his decision to re-up. "You're always gonna have work."

With a wedding coming up December 19, the promise of a paycheck is something Spc. Sheely is counting on to provide for his new bride.

"It's giving me the opportunity to have the security of a paycheck and the ability to support a family that I'm beginning," said Spc. Sheely.

Still, soldiers aren't just re-upping for economic reasons. "I enjoy my job," said Sgt. Stern. "I enjoy working with my soldiers, my friends over here and I actually re-classified to be infanstry so I get to come back here and be with infantry guys again."

Many of the soldiers who re-enlisted have already made deployments. Even a front row seat to the violence overseas didn't deter Sheely and his fellow soldiers from re-enlisting this month.

"It's a fact of life in the military," said Sgt. Stern. "You just gotta deal with it. You gotta do your job."

"Seeing people lose their lives is not easy," said Spc. Sheely. He was deployed to Baghdad from 2007-2008. Sheely said he lost friends while serving overseas. "But they did their job. They shouldn't have lost their lives, but they did in defense of their country because they love their country that much. I have that chance to defend my country and if my life is taken then that's what it takes to defend the country."

The Pentagon just completed its strongest recruiting year in four years, attributing growing numbers to the economy and a decline in violence in Iraq.