NEW YORK (Army News Service, Oct. 1, 2008) - Secretary of the Army Pete Geren presided over a ceremony Wednesday morning in which nine future Soldiers took the oath of enlistment as part of celebrating the all-volunteer Army's anticipated success in achieving its recruiting goal.

The Active Army recruiting goal for the fiscal year that ended Tuesday was 80,000 Soldiers and the final recruiting numbers achieved will be released by the Department of Defense later this month, officials said.

Gen. William S. Wallace, commander of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, administered the oath to the recruits at 9:30 a.m. outside New York's Times Square Armed Forces Recruiting Station.

"I'm excited about taking the first step toward wearing the Army uniform, and about all the future opportunities - training, career growth and service to my country - that the Army offers," said future Soldier and New York area resident Yosero Kim. "I truly believe the Army will transform my life and give me the leadership I need to succeed."

Secretary Geren thanked the future Soldiers' families for standing behind their commitment to helping strengthen the most qualified and effective land power in the world. While final figures are not available, the total Army - Active, Reserve and National Guard - is postured to meet recruiting goals for the year.

As an example, the Army reported the highest recruitment of high school seniors in five years. Soldier re-enlistment rates also continue to exceed goals.

"We are proud of the men and women who step forward in the middle of a war and raise their hand to serve," said Secretary of the Army Pete Geren. "That tells you a lot about the character of those men and women, about their patriotism, about their commitment. They are the strength of
our nation."

Along with the new enlistees, a group of outstanding Soldiers who represented Army "Faces of Strength" participated in the ceremony. They signified what young men and women become after being immersed in the Army training and value system. These Soldiers included decorated war veterans, an Olympic athlete, the Army's two top Drill Sergeants of the Year and the Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year.

One of the Army's exceptional civilian employees also participated, representing the role civilians have in recruiting, transforming recruits into Soldiers, and in the Army's overall success.

"These men and women are joining an elite force of well-trained and disciplined Soldiers who make up the backbone of our nation's defense," said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Noland. "They will also receive financial assistance to advance their education by serving in the Army."

Noland, a member of the Army Reserve's 95th Division (Training) based out of Oklahoma City, was recently honored as one of the Army's Drill Sergeants of the Year.

The Army faces the most challenging recruiting environment since the military became all-volunteer more than 35 years ago, officials said. Only three out of 10 Americans aged 17 to 24 qualify for military service. The rest do not meet the Army's standards for health, education or character.