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The US Army is having a hard time recruiting. Now it's asking soldiers dismissed for refusing the CO

  • The United States Army is telling soldiers kicked out over the COVID-19 vaccine they can come back.

  • The Army missed its recruiting goal by around 25% in 2022.

  • An Army official Gen Z's distrust in institutions may be causing a recruiting decline.

The United States army is having such a difficult time recruiting that it's sending instructions on how to rejoin to soldiers kicked out for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Army sent the letters to approximately 1,900 active duty soldiers who were separated for refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine, according to military blog Task and Purpose. An army spokesperson told the outlet that the letters were sent "specifically as part of the COVID mandate recession process."

A January 2023 Department of Defense memo rescinded the military rules that required service members get the COVID vaccine, which were put in place in August and November 2021. The memo said that no one serving in the armed forces will be separated for refusing to take the vaccine if they seek a religious, administrative, or medical accommodation.

Still, the department continues to "promote and encourage" the vaccine for all service members, the memo states.

The letter, which has been circulated on social media, says that former soldiers who were separated for refusing to take the vaccine can request a correction of their military record. It instructs those who wish to rejoin the service to contact a recruiter.

The new outreach to these soldiers comes amid a recruiting crisis for the United States military. In 2022, the US Army fell short by about 15,000 soldiers, or 25%, according to Army Times.

The Army recently revived its classic "Be All You Can Be" campaign to try and combat its constant decline in recruits, according to NPR.

Secretary of the Army, Christine Wormuth, told the outlet that the percentage of young Americans who are physically fit and mentally prepared enough to join the military has been shrinking over time and now rests at about 23% of people between 18 and 24.

On top of physical decline, Wormuth said that younger people are not as interested in joining the military anymore due to institutional skepticism.

"When you look at Generation Z, you see a lot of the declining trust in institutions," Wormuth told NPR.

The US Army did not immediately return Insider's request for comment Saturday

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