The possibility many hoped was remote when signing up, is now startlingly real. Thousands of American men and women continue mobilizing their forces in a region on the brink of an American-led war. That frightening prospect, even before it has begun, has fewer Americans willing to follow in their footsteps.
According to army recruitment officers in Shreveport, selling young Americans on Uncle Sam has gotten tougher, as war gets more likely every day. What, in peacetime, seems like a smart, honorable way to pay one's college tuition, now seems too scary for many.
"A majority of the people that come in and want to enlist are attracted because of the educational benefits," said SFC Michael Christopher. "Now, with a war a very real possibility, we're seeing fewer of them. They don't want to risk it."
Yet, in Shreveport and across the country, the army is "making mission," as it says; meeting the weekly and monthly recruiting goals.
"While there are those discouraged by the dangerous reality of combat, there are others now coming forward because of their patriotism, actually wanting to defend their country in a war," said Christopher.
"They're really balancing each other out."