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Recruitment costs rise 25% for Army, Marines

By Lolita C. Baldor
Associated Press / October 3, 2008
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WASHINGTON - The Army and Marine Corps doled out nearly $640 million in the past year in recruitment bonuses, as the two service branches continue to bear the brunt of providing personnel for the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Led by incentives that can be as high as $40,000 per person, and coupled with the promise of thousands more for education or home down payments, the annual cost of enticing new recruits grew by 25 percent over last year's totals for the two services, The Associated Press learned.

The money - particularly in shaky economic times - has proven to be a strong recruiting tool, despite a US death toll of more than 4,100 in Iraq and escalating violence in Afghanistan.

As a result, the Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force all met their recruiting goals for the fiscal year that ended Tuesday. The Air Force did not provide bonus data.

"This money helps create excitement for the all-volunteer force," said Army spokesman Paul Boyce. "We recruit not only the soldier but his or her family, and this money is important to them."

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