Wiregrass recruitment numbers up post 9/11

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Parents of Wiregrass future Marines are sending their sons off to Parris Island, South Carolina.

It’s the location of the 13 week basic training for Marines.

One of those recruits, Travis Roth says he was ready to join on 9/11.

"I just wanted the opportunity to defend my country and the Marines have offered me that opportunity" says Roth.

Travis is among the hundreds of Wiregrass military recruits who, for the last five years could only think of enlisting.

Zachary Phillips is also going to Parris Island. He says, "My family was all in the military, my grandfather, my great-grandfather and I just wanted the pride of belonging."

However, after high school the promise of a better future only solidified their decision to be part of the United States Military.

"With the Navy being 100 percent tuition assistant, and also for those who score very high on the ASFAB, they also get good incentives, up to like $50,000 for college" says United States Navy Captain Curtis Varner.

Meanwhile, regardless of a slight decrease in national enrollment numbers due to the war on terror, the trend to join in the Wiregrass has spiked recently.

"We can put double our numbers in what we're taking in now, if we didn't have a number that we have to stay under" says SSGT Derek Grant, who is an Air Force Recruiter.

"Our numbers are generally around three to four people and that's our mission. We don't have a problem making that mission" says Marine Corps Recruiter, SSGT Marcellus Pickering.

However, what has presented a challenge, is those who want to qualify, but don't

"We've had fewer than three out of 10 qualify and that does make a challenge, but we continue to make our mission" says SFC Patrick James, a station Commander for the U.S. Army.

Still, numbers continue to rise and officials think it will stay that way.