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Ironton Army recruiting office closes

The blinds are pulled tight and the doors are locked, but the iconic poster of Uncle Sam pointing his finger and imploring U.S. citizens to join the Army still remains in the window of the Ironton recruiting office right next to a “for rent” sign.

Although the office on Fourth Street isn’t officially slated to close until the end of September when the lease ends on the building, officials said operations have been moved to the Ashland, Ky., location on Greenup Avenue.

Donald Herth, chief of advertising and public affairs for the Army’s Columbus Recruiting Battalion, said the government is consolidating recruiting offices nationwide.

“Recruiting forces are downsizing,” Herth said. “We don’t have the force structure to man all the offices we have.”

Herth said the Ironton location had been manned off and on for the past year and the soldiers who worked there have moved to the Ashland office.

Only one other recruiting office has closed in the battalion, Herth said, which covers southern Ohio, western West Virginia and northern Kentucky. That office was located in Logan, W.Va.

Despite the consolidations, Herth said military branches are meeting the standard recruitment numbers set by Congress.

“Meeting those numbers has been a little more achievable the way the economy is,” Herth said. “Congress has taken away a lot of ad money since all the services are meeting our goals. More than in years past.”

The Ironton office averaged about 12 recruits per year in either active or reserve duty,” Herth said.

The office was first located in the Ironton City Center about 20 years ago and then moved to the location near the Goldcamp building downtown on Fourth Street in 2000.

Herth said Army recruiting will still have a presence in Ironton, visiting the high school students.

“They (recruiters) were there for a long time in Ironton,” Herth said. “I think our soldiers are a good influence on our young people. They certainly were on me.”