By 1st Lt. Stephen Martin
Kentucky National Guard
FRANKFORT, Ky., (12/15/08) - The Army National Guard recruited its 80,000th Soldier through the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program (G-RAP) on Dec. 9, a senior Army National Guard official said here this week.
"We date our history back to 1636 – 372 years we've been doing this – and there's never been any time that we've been stronger than what we are now," said Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn, the director of the Army National Guard.
"We would, in a revolutionary manner, change one of the largest recruiting institutions in America, and that's exactly what we did,” he said.
Vaughn gathered here with representatives from Kentucky, Missouri, North Dakota, Iowa and West Virginia – the five states that piloted the program – to celebrate the milestone and the program’s third anniversary.
"We get stronger every day based on the very program that we put into place here,” he said. “It stands at the very root of the success that we've had in the last three years."
Since its inception in December 2005 as the Army National Guard's adaptation of civilian contract recruiting, G-RAP has boosted the overall strength of the Army Guard to over 363,000 Soldiers.
Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, the adjutant general of Kentucky, said the G-RAP program is also responsible for the recruiting successes in his state. “We are Kentucky’s hometown defense force, and with resources like the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program, we will continue to grow and be ready for whatever the future may bring."
More than 132,000 Soldiers from around the country have signed up to be recruiting assistants, and some have recruited up to 100 Soldiers.
The program pays Soldiers up to $2,000 for every new Soldier they bring into the Army Guard. The first $1,000 is paid when the recruit signs up. They get the second $1,000 when the Soldier goes to basic training. A full $2,000 is paid for signing on prior-service Soldiers.
Kentucky's governor said the Guard is creating job opportunities and promoting economic growth in one of the most difficult financial situations in recent memory.
"Very few institutions can claim that," said Gov. Steve Beshear. "The leadership of the Kentucky Guard knows this, and they are doing everything they can to prepare themselves so that the training of future recruits does not suffer."
The Army National Guard’s success has also prompted the active Army and Army Reserve to roll out their own G-RAP programs.
National Guard Recruiting Assistant Program