Military Recruitment

According to officials with a marine substation in Jackson a growing number of young people are showing interest in joining the military. However, they say it's the parents who are expressing a great deal of concern.

Meanwhile in Meridian, officials with most sectors of the military say recruitment efforts are right on target. Gunnery Sergeant Mike Hodges works with the local marine recruitment office. Serving 13 counties in East Mississippi and West Alabama, he says so far, so good!

"The enlistments have been down just a little bit over the last few weeks, but I can't attribute that to what's going on with the international situation," said Hodges.

Instead Hodges says a number of other things, such as the fact that several new recruiters are still learning the area, have likely affected the number of enlistees.

Meanwhile, despite the slight decline, Hodges says many other factors are still helping to persuade people to join the Marines.

"The tangible benefits like the pay," said Hodges. "The education opportunities are now higher than they ever have been before and that's attracting a lot of people."

For instance: a single person who joins the Marines is entitled to receive about $1,300, free housing, free food, free dental and medical insurance and many education benefits. It's incentives such as these, that are believed to be leading many locals to join not only the Marines but all sectors of the military.

Even with the war still in progress, the recruiters we talked to are projecting a bright future.

"From most of the people we talk to they're looking at the war as a short term situation and the military as a long term one," Hodges said.