LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — According to a CBS article, “The National Guard missed its recruiting goals by 9,000 members when the fiscal year ended last month,” the chief of the National Guard Bureau said.

The article states “the Army National Guard will miss its goal by 6,000, and the Air National Guard is about 3,000 short, according to Gen. Dan Hokanson….citing civilian competition, qualification, and covid challenges.”

While there is a military shortage nationally, Nevada ranks among the top in the nation within its market size when it comes to enlistment this year.

“We’re a small state because we’re at 3,200 folks in the National Guard,” said Command Sgt Major Marco Irenze, a recruiter at the Nevada Army National Guard.  

“The folks that come and join the National Guard, what they’re looking to do is serve the people of the United States, secondly to serve the community,” Irenze added. “I mean right here in Las Vegas we have all kinds of things like a New Year’s Eve mission that we join forces with the Metro Police Department to keep our streets safe and also support our partnerships programs.”

Accessible health care and expanding school benefits are a few incentives the military offers for new recruits and soldiers.

This includes exempt tuition for military and their eligible families passed by Governor Steve Sisolak last year.

Sgt. Michael Russell is also a recruiter with the Nevada Army National Guard. He said Nevada’s educational benefits are the best throughout the entire country, which has helped with retention rates.

“We actually offer 100 percent textbook reimbursement. The cool part about that is if you buy your textbooks up front, at the end of the semester the National Guard gives you back every penny you paid for those textbooks.”

With the National Guard being a full-time and part-time branch, flexible schedules and job training are a big bonus.

“I was a full-time college student, and I only worked one weekend a month,” added Sgt. Russell. “We offer these benefits, but it’s not mandatory you use them. You serve for any number of reasons in the Nevada National Guard but we give you opportunities to get out there and live your life how you see fit.”

For more information, check the National Guard website.