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National Guard recruiting numbers up slightly in state

By M.J. Ellington · (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY – Recruiting for the National Guard in Alabama is up slightly over last year for the first time since the terrorist attacks of 2001.

Lt. Col. Robert Horton, Alabama National Guard spokesman, said numbers “are the best they’ve been in years.”

The country’s war in Iraq concerns recruits and people who re-enlist alike, Horton said. But people today know that when they sign up that the National Guard is no longer a one-weekend-per-month and two-weeks-in-the-summer service.

People usually join the Guard for one of three reasons: financial benefits to pay for education, patriotism, or income supplements, and Horton said those reasons have remained constant.

What has changed in the country’s all-volunteer military force is the role that the National Guard plays in extended military conflicts.

Horton said sign-up bonuses of $5,000 to $20,000 help with recruiting.

Bonus amounts depend on recruit skill levels and the jobs they are going into.

In comparison to deployment to a battle zone overseas, National Guard duty at the Mexican border is less stressful, of much shorter duration and much easier to fit with normal civilian responsibilities.

Guard numbers

  • Total number in Alabama Army National Guard is 11,200.
  • Total number in Alabama Air National Guard is 2,400.
  • Total all branches in Alabama is 13,600.
  • 11,240 Alabamians were in the National Guard in June 2005. In 2002, there were 12,618 and in 2000, 13,388.
  • Alabama National Guard

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