December’s AUSA Corner

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AUSA Corner

1. Naismith Veteran

The late Capt. James Naismith, best recognized as being the inventor of basketball, has been inducted into the Kansas National Guard Hall of Fame. The Canadian-born Naismith invented basketball in 1891 as an indoor game to keep rowdy students in check. He’s the first University of Kansas basketball coach, he’s also the only coach in the school’s history to have a losing record. Naismith is already in the Basketball Hall of Fame and this new honor comes from his service as a chaplain in a regiment mobilized in 1916 to serve on the U.S.-Mexico border. In World War I, he served in France as an unofficial chaplain working for the YMCA after being denied a commission because of his age and Canadian citizenship.

2. Recruiting

Service Leaders said the Army has signed more than 68,000 new active-duty soldiers and met its recruiting goals for fiscal year 2019.

Officials credit this year’s success to a larger recruiting force and several, new recruiting initiatives the service set into motion after falling short of its goals last year.

“We are extremely proud of the Army’s recruiting efforts,” said acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy in a statement. “We changed the way we do business and got results. We are ensuring the Army is ready now and investing in the future.”

By meeting its recruiting goals, the Army can achieve its modernization and readiness goals, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said in a statement.

“The Army is a great place to work and it provides people multiple pathways to success while serving a purpose greater than themselves,” he said.

In the past year, the Army has added about 700 recruiters. It also implemented several new initiatives, including developing 44 virtual recruiting stations that focus on reaching eligible young people through social media and texting. The Army also stood up an Esports Team and the Warrior Fitness Team, two outreach teams designed to better connect with young people who are interested in gaming or fitness.

In the coming year, the Army expects to continue its push to grow. But McCarthy has said the Army faces long-term challenges when it comes to sustaining and growing the force.

McCarthy said a 3.6 percent unemployment rate and a population where about 70 percent of 17- to 24-year-olds need a waiver to join the military, present a “real challenge” to the Army.

The Army’s goal is to continue growing by about 2,000 new soldiers a year, until it reaches an end strength of about 500,000.

AUSA Corner