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NEWS | Jan. 20, 2023

'Call to service' email from senior commander sparks enlistment by Picatinny civilian

By Eric Kowal Picatinny Arsenal

The U.S. Army, the nation’s largest military branch, announced last year that its recruitment goal for fiscal year 2022 fell short by 25 percent, or about 15,000 Soldiers. In July, the service also cut its projection for the overall size of its force for this fiscal year by 10,000 and anticipates another decline in 2023.

As a result of the shortfall, Army leaders worldwide are taking a proactive approach to assist in recruiting efforts. On Sept. 21 of last year, the Picatinny Arsenal Senior Commander Brig. Gen. John T. Reim sent an email to the mostly civilian workforce at Picatinny with the subject, “Call to Service.”

“I wasn’t expecting one of our own to step up and answer the call,” Reim said of the email about three months later. But Reim would indeed be delivering the oath of enlistment to a Picatinny Arsenal employee who answered the call.

Sarah Worthy, 27, a management analyst at the installation’s Network Enterprise Center, contacted recruiters upon receiving Reim’s email. Thus began the path to enlistment.

On Dec. 22, 2022, the two met for the first time when Worthy recited the enlistment oath. Reim asked Worthy to raise her right hand and swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

“You keep comms (communications) running here at the NEC,” Reim told Worthy regarding her duties before she would leave to start her enlistment. “For us, we have an incredible mission here at Picatinny. We are the DoD Center of Excellence for all things Armaments and Ammunition. Our assigned weapon is our computer and our phone. Without that, we are not combat effective, so we appreciate all you do here. And we certainly appreciate you stepping up and answering the call.”

Worthy, who will serve in the U.S. Army Reserve, chose the military occupational specialty of Psychological Operations Specialist. She received a $13,000 signing bonus, plus an additional $50,000 student loan repayment option as enlistment incentives.

“My father is an Army Chaplain, and he has a psychology degree,” Worthy said.  “We would kind of psychoanalyze people together. That’s where I got my interest in the MOS when it was presented to me. I thought it was something interesting that I should try.”

Worthy graduated from Liberty University with a degree in International Relation, with a specification in Strategic Intelligence. She worked as a paralegal before taking a job with the NEC about two years ago.

“We are looking for motivated men and women like Sarah to join the Army team,” said Capt. Brian Fydenkevez, Commander, North Jersey Recruiting Company. “Only one in three people is eligible to join the Army based on our demanding academic, physical, and moral standards.”

Worthy will report to recruit training in January. She will also be required to complete Airborne training, followed by a 10-day Psychological Operations Specialist Assessment and Selection Program. She then moves on to the Psychological Operations Specialist Qualification Course.

Her full-time position with the NEC is legally protected while she’s away at training for the Army Reserve and if she ever gets called up to active duty.

“The Picatinny Network Enterprise Center family is extremely proud of Ms. Worthy for her decision to enlist into the United States Army,” said Kevin Chadwell, Director of Picatinny’s NEC. “Congratulations on joining a proud American tradition. We salute and honor your service!”

Below is the email sent to the Picatinny Arsenal workforce by Brig. Gen. John T. Reim

Team Picatinny,

Our installation has proudly been the Army’s Home in Northern New Jersey for over 120 years. While you work diligently on your respective teams’ efforts to support our national defense, another challenge confronts our shared Army Team – we are facing a critical shortfall in recruitment of Active Duty and Army Reserve Soldiers. Coming out of COVID and facing the same tight labor market that has left many employers struggling to find talent, the Army’s recruitment has hit its lowest rate in the five decades of our all-volunteer Army, 60% below its FY22 requirement, with the communities of North Jersey comprising over 100 missing enlistments out of that shortfall.

We are engaged in a war for talent, and failure is clearly a threat to National Security. The Army has debuted new initiatives to help us win this war. Among these are the opportunity for applicants to choose their first duty station for eligible Military Occupational Specialties, more permissive regulations regarding tattoos on hands, neck, and behind the ears, bonuses up to $50,000, student loan repayment up to $65,000, and extending eligibility to applicants though age 38.

The Chief of Staff of the Army, General McConville, has been clear, “The recruiting mission is not a recruiting command mission, it’s an Army Mission.” It will take all of us on Picatinny Arsenal, Soldiers and Army Civilians alike, to face this challenge and win this war for talent in Northern New Jersey. I am asking for your help, here on post and out in your home communities, to spread the word about the opportunities the Army provides across over 150 enlisted and officer career fields, and to encourage men and women you may know to speak to their local Army recruiter and learn more about service on this awesome team. I also want to encourage you to take advantage of networks you may have in schools and your communities to invite a Soldier from your local recruiting station to address students, scouts, and all others between 17-38 years old that you think ought to hear their message. I’ve included the contact info for the nearest Army recruiting centers below; I hope you’ll reach out to them and offer your assistance.

Thank you all for the awesome work you do providing for our nation’s defense every day!

Very respectfully,

BG Reim