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A young man plays CoD 4 at the new facility  (Source: Reuters)

Several young men shoot virtual insurgents from a Humvee  (Source: U.S. Army)
The U.S. Army gets even more interactive while trying to get new recruits

As wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to rage on, the U.S. Army is again using video games and virtual reality as methods to try and get new recruits to enlist.

The Army is looking to create these gaming depots in major shopping malls and other locations across the country.  The Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia has a new Army Experience Center in a 14,500-square-foot location that has a Black Hawk helicopter, Apache gunship, and a Humvee.  The Philadelphia location is a $12 million, two-year experiment to see if the Army can increase recruiting numbers in the Philadelphia area.

Inside the location at Franklin Mills are 60 gaming PCs, 19 Microsoft Xbox 360s, and couches and soft drinks for visitors to enjoy while at the facility.   It's also possible to participate in a virtual war zone using mock M4 assault rifles, using the Humvee as a shield while firing.  Another room has a simulator in which participants can launch helicopter attacks against enemy soldiers hiding on roof tops and buildings.   

Since opening in August, the recruiting facility has recruited 37 active duty soldiers and five reservists -- the one interactive center successfully recruited the same number of recruits as five normal recruiting centers.  The Army has struggled recruiting new soldiers in the Philadelphia area, which is why the center was built in the area.

The U.S. Army also has its America's Army video game designed to create interest in enlisting, with the government continuing to promote the game during tech and video game tech shows.

Recruiters hope interested parties will visit the center and enjoy a more laid back, interactive atmosphere that is less pushy than normal recruiting depots.  

The Pentagon believes the growing recessing and rising unemployment could help boost recruiting numbers for the Army, Marines and other military branches.

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snag em while young/dumb
By proudtobeunamerican on 1/15/2009 1:07:14 AM , Rating: 1
I joined the US military when I was young and dumb, and out of options. Luckily I got myself discharged early by getting caught with drugs in the military. I only had to endure 10 months of "service" (aka sleep deprivation, brainwashing, being treated like sh*t).
I left the US over two years ago and traveled for most of that time. I now live in the far superior, and much more peaceful Costa Rica. I used to believe the US was "the best"......after seeing much of the world and removing my ignorance, I see it's now one of the worst.

RE: snag em while young/dumb
By afkrotch on 1/15/2009 10:18:49 AM , Rating: 5
Congrats. You're a sissy that didn't even make it out of training.

RE: snag em while young/dumb
By Grast on 1/15/2009 1:24:54 PM , Rating: 3
Congradulations, you just identified yourself as a drug taking loser in my opinion. I am glad you no longer in the U.S.

Can you please do everyone a favor and renounce your citizenship?

RE: snag em while young/dumb
By myhipsi on 1/15/2009 1:35:18 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't say the U.S. is the worst country by far, but It's nice to see an American who can actually admit that the U.S. may not be the "best" country in the world. I'm Canadian, and while I like this country and I'm glad to be living here, I'm not so arrogant or ignorant as to proclaim that I'm living in the best country in the world. Not only that but it all depends on what constitutes "best", to each his own I guess.

As for the military, well, it's not for everybody. I think that recruiting with video games is sad and certainly shows the lengths that the U.S. military will go through to get recruits. A more honest approach would be to be upfront about the real dangers and hard work it takes to be in the military and actually pay these people what they deserve and provide the proper equipment they need. At least then people know what they're getting into and get paid well to do it. That would also significantly reduce troop turnover as well.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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