Nevada Army National Guard recruitment better than national trends

Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 4:17 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -Fernley High School Senior Brooke Gonzalez gets a taste of what she’ll be doing the next six years of her life as she sits behind the wheel of a big transport truck at the Nevada Army National Guard in Stead.

She recently signed up for the Nevada Army National Guard and will eventually be driving trucks to transport personnel and supplies. She attended basic training in South Carolina last summer, and currently she gives one weekend a month to the guard.

Next year at this time she’ll be up at UNR as a freshman.

“So in January I know that my 17th birthday was near so it was like maybe I should join the guard,” says Gonzalez. “Maybe that could be a really huge benefit not only for me going to college, but also my parents,” she says.

Brooke says so far everyone in the guard has been helpful. They’ve answered her questions and getting behind the wheel of a transport truck while in the guard will be a great skill to undertake.

Recruiters are at her high school frequently and piqued her interest in the guard when she was a junior.

Many like she though are initially just interested in the college benefits.

“Often times though a lot of our soldiers when they first come in and say, hey I am going to do my first term get my college done and then you know six years later they are extending,” says recruiter Donald Goodballet, Nevada Army National Guard 1st Sargent. “They like our community they like what the guard stands for, what the Army National Guard stands for, and they want to serve,” he says.

The Nevada Army National Guard says it works hard to recruit men and women into their ranks. And that effort is paying off for them. At this time the Nevada Army National Guard is ranked second in the nation behind New York in terms of recruitment. That doesn’t mean they are at 100%. No one is. But the guard will take 95% when compared to other states.

Nationwide the Army guard will come up 6,000 recruits short by the end of the year.

While there are plenty of benefits, there’s also a commitment, and the guard finds itself competing with other industries for people. And only about 23% of 18-to-23-year-olds meet military requirements.

Nevertheless, bonuses, free college, marketable skills, and an opportunity to serve the local community await the man or woman who signs on with the guard.