Federal deficits, a shrinking pool of applicants and intense competition among military services are running the Coast Guard's recruiting efforts onto the shoals, enlistment officials say.
The number of new recruits fell 35 percent below the Coast Guard's goals this spring in the service's 5th District, which covers Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and the District of Columbia.
Lt. K.E. Sanders, chief of the military recruiting branch in the 5th District, said the Coast Guard had not met its quotas, set by personnel needs, in the past three months. He cited three reasons for the shortfall:
* The baby boom is over and there is a shrinking recruitment pool of high school graduates.
* The federal budget deficit has fueled talk about trimming military retirement benefits, which has dampened enthusiasm for enlisting. The Coast Guard has suffered in particular, Sanders said, because its funds come from the Transportation Department, which is more vulnerable than the Defense Department.
In fiscal 1985, the Army will spend $493 to attract each recruit, the Marine Corps $320, the Navy $175, and the Coast Guard $54.
"To run an ad once during the Super Bowl would wipe out the Coast Guard's whole advertising budget," Sanders said.
* The economic recovery has created private jobs that have lured away many potential recruits.