Army recruiters offer choice, not annoyance, one teen says

| 21 Feb 2012 | 11:00

    CENTRAL VALLEY-This time next year, 17 year-old Jimmy Smith will be off to college. He chose college over the air and sea and he says that he never felt forced to re-consider his decision of not joining one of the armed services. Federal law says that high schools are required to give the name and contact information of graduating seniors to the U.S. military. The military uses the information to contact potential recruits. Parents can decide not to release their child's information by contacting their local school individually and requesting that the information not be sent. However, many young people shrug their shoulders as they watch parents and politicians fight over the issue of if their names should be released to the military or not. "It's just something you come to expect," said Smith, a senior at Monroe-Woodbury High School in Central Valley. Smith says that the few brochures that he did receive he "expected," considering mail also pours in from colleges and universities just as frequently. "They are targeting people on the line," he said. "They should keep doing what they're doing. Maybe someone would be intrigued by what they have to say." Smith said that at his high school recruiters from the military come often to speak with students and answer questions that they might have. They set up base outside the school's large lunchroom and offer free pens and key chains requesting that students sign their name to receive more information. "They come by a few times a month - a lot more than you'd expect though," Smith said. "If you go up to them, they'll start talking." The town of Monroe resident also said that when people sign the cards requesting more information, they should "definitely expect phone calls and brochures" because it was their decision to sign their name to the mailing list. Smith can see, however, why recruitment is down in the military, even though he says that he knows some people who are going into the military after graduation later this month. "Of course it's (enrollment) gonna' go down. No one wants to see their kid go into war. Some parents support what their kids want to do but some, when they're in private, are saddened to let them go." Smith, although he says he is not completely sure were, plans on starting out at a community college next year, possibly Rockland Community College, and then plans to go into business or law. But the high school wrestler says that he was never bothered or too strongly influenced by the recruiters. "It's for kids who aren't sure what they want to do," he said. He says he would consider recruiters to have gone "overboard" if the time came when they "kept calling multiple times even after I told them I wasn't interested. At that point it would be annoying."