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Marines to open first recruiting station outside US in Germany

Recruits of Hotel Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion watch a rappel demonstration Oct. 4, 2017, on Parris Island, S.C. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Joseph Jacob)

The Marine Corps is opening its first full-time recruiting station outside of the United States at Kleber Kaserne in Germany, the Corps said.

The Marines are establishing the new station — located in an area with about 50,000 U.S. personnel and family members — in response to increased demand from potential enlistees.

“Germany is kind of an untapped market for the Marines,” said Capt. Patrick Deane, executive officer of Recruiting Station Portsmouth. “We’ve been getting a lot of requests from people.”

The Marines are receiving interest mostly from children of soldiers and airmen in the Kaiserslautern area who want to follow a parent’s footsteps and join the military, but are looking for something different, Deane said.

The Marines will be able to conduct pre-enlistment physicals at military medical clinics in Germany. Currently, prospective Marines must fly back to the United States for physicals and other pre-enlistment responsibilities.

Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Nieves, a career recruiter, will open the office Feb. 15 at Kleber, a small Army base on Kaiserslautern’s eastern edge.

The challenge of being posted on a U.S. Army base in Europe to recruit Marines isn’t lost on Nieves. Still, he said he is looking forward to it.

“To me it’s just like being anywhere else,” Nieves said. “I kind of enjoy that it’s different.”

Deane said that for many dependents from other services, becoming a Marine seems like an abstract idea and an option that isn’t realistic. Nieves’ presence may change that.

Nieves acknowledged that much of what is offered by the services is the same, including pay and benefits. But it’s a sense of the intangibles in the Marines — a smaller service with intense pride and camaraderie — that may get potential recruits in Germany interested in joining.

“It all comes down to what type of branch are you looking for,” Nieves said.


© 2017 the Stars and Stripes

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