Fort Lee is using its ‘SMARTs’ to keep the Army Strong.

According to the Sergeant Major of the Army Recruiting Team program, there’s an

estimated payout of $430,000 to people, connected to Fort Lee, if the recruits they referred enlist and complete both Basic Combat and Advanced Individual training.

The Army’s referral program offers a $2,000 bonus to Soldiers, Department of the

Army Civilians and Army retirees for referring an acquaintance through SMART.

The online program, www.2k.army.mil, “is a fairly easy process,” said Jayne

Thacker, safety specialist with the Base Realignment and Closure Construction Office on post.

Thacker said she made a referral in a matter of minutes, after logging onto the SMART

site using her AKO user name and password. After logging onto SMART, the referrer is required to create a user profile before making a referral.

The link to create a user profile is located in the menu on the left side of the screen. Once the referrer has completed this section, they must click the certify box and then click save.

There are a few additional questions to finalize the profile. Information required includes the referrer’s address, unit or organization’s details.

This data is used for the Incentive Report that can be viewed from the SMART Web

site. Once completed, the Web site automatically redirects the referrer back to the main page.

Now it’s time to make a referral.

“The steps were pretty easy,” said Sgt. 1st Class Freddie King Jr., 49th Quartermaster Group. In all, “it took about 10 minutes.”

King referred his nephew, whom he has raised since the boy was 13 years old.

After completing the online process, King learned that he wasn’t eligible for the bonus because his nephew had previously served in the Navy.

Having prior military service is one of the few disqualifiers for the bonus. Others include, the referee cannot be an immediate family member or have already been in

contact with an Army recruiter.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Marvin Michael, 49th QM Group, has made two referrals and is eligible to receive $4,000 in bonuses if his referees meet the requirements.

Michael said he likes the fact that “along with being able to put the referrals’ information into the system, you are able to check the system confirming the individual’s information.” The Web site offers referrals summaries and allows users to search previous referrals.

Michael said he learned about the pros and cons of the program from a recruiter friend. “The individuals that I referred were people that I knew in the area and friends of mine that are civilians who have a child that’s interested in being

a Soldier,” said Michael.

His referrals have yet to begin the process of joining the Army. If the referrals do, Michael will be eligible to receive the bonus in two “lump sums.” The referrer is paid the first You Could Earn $2,000 Bonus thru SMART Program $1,000 once the referred Soldier completes BCT. The remaining $1,000 is paid once the Soldier

has graduated from AIT.

Michael does stay in contact with those he referred but not because of the possible monetary gain. Rather he keeps in touch with the referrals “because to me it’s not about the money. It’s about someone’s child, loved one, mother or father,” he said.