There's Still Time to Snag a Hefty Army Bonus for Joining the Infantry

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U.S. soldiers with Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, conduct a live-fire air assault artillery raid on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Oct. 10, 2019. The battery worked alongside the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade on the first live-fire air assault of M777 Howitzers ever conducted on the island of Oahu. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Ryan DeBooy)
U.S. soldiers with Charlie Battery, 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, conduct a live-fire air assault artillery raid on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, on Oct. 10, 2019. The battery worked alongside the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade on the first live-fire air assault of M777 Howitzers ever conducted on the island of Oahu. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Ryan DeBooy)

The head of Army Recruiting Command said Wednesday that the service should keep a $40,000 bonus in place to attract recruits to sign up for a six-year hitch in the infantry in an effort to reverse a shortfall of grunts for fiscal 2020.

The Army began offering sizable bonuses for 11X, the infantry military occupational specialty, in May 2019 to meet a shortfall of about 3,300 infantry training seats by the end of fiscal 2019. It was part of a new recruiting strategy launched in October 2019 after the service missed its 2018 recruiting goal by 6,500 soldiers.

The fat bonuses brought in more infantry recruits, but the service missed its goal by "a couple thousand" infantry recruits, even though the Army met its overall recruiting goal for fiscal 2019, Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, told Military.com Wednesday.

The $40,000 bonus offer remains in place for recruits who sign up for a six-year enlistment in the infantry.

"It's still in place, and my recommendation to the senior leadership is we must keep it in place for the rest of the year," Muth said.

This is a drastic bonus increase for infantry recruits. At the beginning of last year, the maximum bonus amount for infantry recruits was $15,000 for a six-year commitment.

New recruits signing up for three-year enlistment in the infantry can get $20,000; a four-year enlistment takes it up to a $25,000 bonus' and a five-year enlistment means $30,000.

Muth said the service will likely reverse the shortage of 11X recruits in the spring, causing the bonuses to go down again.

"We will come back in another six months to relook at it," he said.

— Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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