I am one of South Carolina’s top employers.
During the past school year, I hired 1,303 high school graduates and 59 college graduates. These 1,303 young people committed to work for my department for three to six years.
My employer offers full health care, tax-free allowances for living expenses and work locations around the world. There are 151 types of jobs available in 25 career fields.
I am a lieutenant colonel and the commander of the U.S. Army’s Columbia Recruiting Battalion.
The Army continually needs new soldiers, just as most large businesses need a constant flow of entry-level employees.
The vast majority of these 1,303 young men and women I hired in the past year are starting their first full-time job — with competitive pay and benefits and the rock-solid knowledge that they are serving their nation and our greater community. If they leave the Army without retiring, they will have tens of thousands of dollars to use for college, the eligibility to buy a home with no down payment and other benefits earned as U.S. military veterans.
Because the Army’s size changes based on the needs of the nation, the number of new soldiers fluctuates year to year. Our new soldiers must have a high school diploma. They must meet age-appropriate height and weight standards. They must not have engaged in serious criminal misconduct. They must not have had a drug or alcohol dependency.
Our Columbia Battalion team makes the dreams come true for thousands who wish to serve their nation. It’s true that we take them away from their hometowns. But more than half of the 56,000 young men and women whose initial term of Army service ended in 2013 did not re-enlist. The young men and women from South Carolina often come right back home to South Carolina, with job experience and the many benefits of being a veteran. They come back prepared to be productive members of our community. They come back with pride, honor, discipline and the ability work on a team.
We thank the educators, coaches, mentors and, most of all, parents of our 1,303 new soldiers. We ask them to provide encouragement for the next several hundred qualified young people willing to stand up and honorably serve our country.
Lt. Col. Michael Standish
Commander, U.S. Army Columbia Recruiting Battalion