“Adventure and low-cost travel.”
The fit, crew-cut, sweat-suit-clad team enthusiastically handing out POSITIONS AVAILABLE! fliers in the Atlantic Avenue subway stop weren’t your average hucksters. And at an advertised $1,290 a month pay (about $7.44 an hour), it wasn’t exactly a get-rich-quick scheme. The fine print was better: two raises within six months, full medical and dental, college tuition, 30 days of vacation, and—most appealing of all to riders smack in the middle of the Fort Greene gentrification zone—free housing. The catch, it turned out, was a pretty big one: The housing could be in Sadr City. The 718 number on the flier was answered by a Marine Corps recruiting officer. Given that the Marines recently failed to meet their monthly recruiting quota for the first time in fourteen years, one might imagine this less-than-forthright appeal—promising “adventure and low-cost travel”—was part of a desperate new strategy. But Major J. J. Dill, commanding officer of Recruiting Station New York, said it was the work of overenthusiastic members of the “delayed-entry program,” aspiring Marines who are waiting to finish high school or college or just need to get in better shape before entering basic training. Ten-hut!