Army recruiters in Seattle can earn a Friday off for each new soldier they enlist. But in a city with a thriving tech industry and a long history of antiwar protests, the recruiters haven’t gotten many long weekends.
“It’s no secret we’re a little behind,” Sgt. First Class Jeremiah Vargas, who heads the city’s recruiting station, told four recruiters at a morning pep talk in early December. With a week left to go in the 30-day reporting period, he wrote the station’s goal — eight recruits — on a white board, and then the current tally: two.
“What do we need to make mission?” he asked.
One recruiter responded with a shrug, “A miracle.”
Instead, General Muth said, the Army wants to frame enlistment as a patriotic detour for motivated young adults who might otherwise be bound for a corporate cubicle — a detour that promises a chance for public service, travel and adventure.