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The Cost of Recruiting

Private First Class Chelsea Wells of Milton-Freewater enlisted with the Oregon National Guard in 2007. She says that she was promised $20,000 for choosing a “critical skills position.” Wells received the first $10,000 after completing training and was to receive the remaining $10,000 after three years of service. The National Guard refused to pay the remainder, and asked Wells to repay the initial payment of $10,000, saying it was paid to her in error.

Wells contacted U.S. Representative Greg Walden, who has demanded an investigation. He says he has the support of the state’s entire congressional delegation. According to Walden, at least 16 other National Guard members have had experiences similar to that of Wells.

Do you have any experience with military recruitment? How common are signing bonuses for the U.S. military and under what terms are they typically paid?


  • Chelsea Wells: Private first class in the National Guard
  • Greg Walden: U.S. Congressman (R-Oregon)
  • Cary Miller: Liuetenant colonel and Director of Recruiting Command for the Oregon Army National Guard

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OPB | July 19, 2011