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Retaining National Guard recruits

The Oklahoma National Guard has had near-record recruiting months since the beginning of the year.

More than 150 folks signed up just last month. But News on 6 anchor Terry Hood explains why hanging on to those recruits is a bigger challenge.

The dropout rate for Oklahoma's Army National Guard stands at 38 percent. That means almost 2 out of every 5 recruits don't make it to basic training. That's why the National Guard is launching a program that will help them hang on to new recruits.

Instead of throwing them right into the fire, new guardsmen will participate in the Recruit Sustainment Program. There, experienced Guardsmen will work to get recruits up to speed with what they call "battle basics" like first aid and weapons training. At a time when the National Guard is more likely to be deployed than ever, they hope they're able to help some recruits prepare mentally for the intensity of the military.

Captain Casey Reed: "they're scared of the unknown and they don't know what to expect. So that's when you get that 38 percent loss."

Captain Reed says the goal is to get the drop out rate below 12 percent.
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