WAUKEE, Iowa – U.S. Air Force recruiters are hoping the new “Top Gun: Maverick” movie, although centered around the United States Navy, sparks some interest in joining the force. Right now, they’re concerned they could miss their recruiting goals.

“If we don’t put people in the Air Force, then units down the road may not have the airmen needed to complete the mission, whether that’s humanitarian or actually supporting the war fighters,” Master Sergeant John Kane, a recruiter, said. “So if we don’t do our job, they can’t do their job six months to a year down the road.”

Recruiters say their pool of qualified applicants is roughly 50-percent of where it should be at. They say the pandemic and current labor shortage has caused some challenges when recruiting, but they want to get the word out that there are opportunities for everyone.

“The Air Force across the board has over 130 different careers,” Technical Sergeant Michael Stanley, another recruiter, said. “If you think of a small city or small town, there’s a lot of different entities and employers. You have banks, police departments, fire departments, hospitals. In the Air Force, each base is essentially a small city.”

If you’d like to learn more go to the Air Force Recruiting Office located at 1366 E. Hickman Road in Waukee or visit airforce.com.