ALL SERVICES met or exceeded recruiting goals last month. Interestingly, the Army and Marines, where enlistment is most likely to result in Iraq combat duty, did the best. I’m not sure exactly what this means, but it seems like good news.

UPDATE: Reader Scott Casper emails that they don’t seem exactly desperate:

I’m one of those who helped the Army meet its recruiting goals last month, but only because the process for me has been so long and drawn out. I originally attempted to join in March, but being 33 years old, having three kids, a wife, and a dog (as well as two knee surgeries) delayed things for a bit while the fine folks at MEPS discussed, reviewed, discussed some more, and looked for reasons to keep me out.

Fortunately they didn’t find anything.

Having been through the process now I can honestly say that the Army (and military in general) would have no issue meeting its recruiting goals each month if they were willing to relax their standards. Expanding the Army is more difficult than simply increasing recruiting goals or letting more people in.

But they aren’t. They refuse to accept less than the best and no amount of political pressure is going to change that, because doing so would jeopardize the mission.

That said, MEPS was a little over the top holding themselves and potential recruits to arbitrary, difficult, and inconsistent standards. For example, they sent me in on a consult for my astigmatism to make sure it wasn’t Keratoconus (a rare eye disorder, that is virtually impossible to diagnosis, and only affects 50 out of 100,000 people), they lost my paperwork twice, and had me mis-entered into their systems incorrectly on several occasions.

And that was just what they did to me. Another older recruit had horror stories about being forced to go from MEPS to MEPS to get waivers (Sacramento, San Jose, and Reno), see specific people, get clearance from certain doctors, and the like, while another, a bright 18 year old was “cycled for maturity issues” (while we were waiting for our duck walk moments, he vented some noxious fumes and then chuckled about it as the inspecting doctor walked into the room…with the result he has to wait two years before he can try again).

But I made it, and last month I raised my right arm and swore to protect this country and its people from all enemies foreign and domestic. Today I leave to attend a memorial service at Fort Lewis Washington for my cousin who was killed in Afghanistan on the 28th, and from there I leave for Fort Leonard Wood and then on to Fort Bragg.

Thanks, Scott.