This year Texas is among 43 Guard organizations nationwide that is making or exceeding its recruiting mission. The state already has exceeded this year's end-strength goal of 17,095 by 179 troops.
Its retention spike comes amid a big turnaround for the Army National Guard, which slumped last year but has added more than 4,000 soldiers to its rolls while exceeding both recruiting and retention goals — a high point not seen since 1993.
The active-duty Army and National Guard have met their recruiting goals for the past five months.
The Texas Guard, in turn, will report today that it has recruited 1,749 soldiers, putting it more than halfway toward its goal of 3,090, with the best months of the year still ahead.
"We have had larger numbers in the 1990s, but a lot of those are people who came off active duty," said the Texas Army Guard's top recruiter, Lt. Col. Ron McLaurin, who noted that six in 10 new enlistees have no prior military experience — a U-turn from just a decade ago.
Youth is a key to the Texas Guard's newfound success. One-third of those re-enlisting, including troops who haven't gone overseas, are in their first term.
I noticed that this story didn' t have an AP tag on it. Think it'll get one?