Attrition: It Takes One to Recruit One


August 7, 2007: Reversing a 2005 decision, the U.S. Navy has resumed allowing the lowest ranking petty officers (E-4 rank) to work as recruiters. It turns out that the E-4s were quickly missed, as the younger sailors had a much better rapport with the high school students that comprise the primary recruiting population. The E-4s were largely withdrawn from recruiting duty because commanders believed the young sailors lacked enough experience in the navy, and in general. There were also complaints from some of the E-4s that their pay was too low to live off base, as most had to do.

There are still a few dozen E-4s working as recruiters, but up to 200 more will be added. First, the navy will have to recruit among E-4s coming off sea duty, to try and convince enough of them that their next assignment ashore should be in recruiting. This is a high pressure job, even though the navy is in the process of laying off thousands of people. New recruits are still needed, to replace those who retire or do not re-enlist. The brass have been told that many E-4s are eager to give recruiting a try. For those E-4s who are successful at it, the next promotion comes more quickly.


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