WASHINGTON (Agencies): Facing a significant shortfall of recruits, the US Army is recalling soldiers who were previously discharged for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Army, falling short by 10,000 recruits in 2023, is grappling with its lowest full-time force size since 1940. In an unprecedented move, the Army is reaching out to soldiers dismissed for vaccine refusal, providing instructions on how to rejoin by correcting their military records.
The rescinded vaccine requirement, originally mandated by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in August 2021, has led the Army to take extraordinary steps to meet recruitment goals, including offering better bonuses and expanding the recruitment pool to include immigrants and high school graduates.
Despite these efforts, challenges persist, with only a minimal number of soldiers returning since the vaccine mandate was lifted.
The Army’s struggle highlights broader issues, including declining trust in institutions and a shrinking pool of eligible candidates.