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Army Recruit Candidates Are Not Hard To Find in Crystal Lake

A bad economy makes an Army recruiter’s job easier.

He wants to be a cavalry scout.

resident Zack Nogra, 20, graduated from in 2010. He’ll be leaving for basic training a few days after the start of the new year.

Why would Nogra want to join the U.S. Army during wartime?

“I want to serve, sir!” said Nogra, who was standing in formation at the parade-rest position.

Nogra was part of a group this week that met in U.S. Army Sgt. Sean Sandlin’s office in Crystal Lake. 

The regular rendezvous here is a chance for about a dozen recruit candidates to get a head start on a military life, to ease the shock of going to basic training and getting yelled at. These get-togethers include a 2-mile run.

On this day they were reciting the Army’s three general orders, something every soldier is required to learn in basic training. It has to do with walking guard duty. The first general order is: “I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved.”

Sgt. Sandlin made a buzzer sound when a recruit flubbed or couldn’t remember  the words verbatim. When that happened, the candidate had to do pushups as punishment.

“There’s no such thing as an easy day in the Army!” Sgt. Sandlin said.

The in Crystal Lake yearly processes about 75 candidates that are sworn in and shipped off to basic training.

Even with a war going on, the U.S. Army is getting more particular whom they let in, said Sgt 1st Class David Wilcox. Certain physical and mental standards have to be met and some wanting to join the Army are turned away.

Recruit candidates come walking through the front door, or they contact the recruiters by phone or by Facebook, or run into them in the hallways of high schools and colleges.  

According to the Army’s website, the Army exceeded its recruiting goals in 2010 by enlisting and processing 74,577 new soldiers.

The possibility of combat does not deter a recruit.

“Recruits aren’t afraid,” Sgt. Sandlin said, “but their parents are.”

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