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Army to Step Up Recruiting Among Local Latinos -- Using Robots and Video Games

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Fifty U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq last month -- the highest death toll suffered by the military in that country since September. And more than a year after a roadside bomb left him burned over 97 percent of his body, the so-called "Miracle Man, Marine Sgt. Merlin German, died in San Antonio on April 11, though news of his passing is only being reported today. So perhaps among all this bad news, it comes as no surprise that the U.S. Army is having trouble recruiting young folks to join its strained ranks. Nor does it comes as a surprise that the military is ramping up its recruiting efforts this very weekend, as soldiers set their sights on Latino youth -- the fastest-growing pool of recruits in the country, as we mentioned last year in the paper version of Unfair Park.

Starting Sunday, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Irving’s Cinco de Mayo Festival in the Texas Stadium parking lot, soldiers will “educate Latino youth on what it means to be ‘Army Strong,'” as part of the Army’s Leaders Among Us Program. What does that mean, exactly? According to the media release we received this morning, it means enticing the kiddos with a robotics obstacle course, a fitness course, "video game kiosks," personalized dog tags and, of course, the all-important and manly H2 vehicle. The recruiting activities “will be held at select Latino festivals through September,” the press release says. So, right: Happy Cinco de Mayo, kids! --Megan Feldman

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