Tag Archives: recruiting

From the Field: An NCO’s journey to recruiting

By SGT. 1ST CLASS STEPHEN J. BEHAN
Sarasota, Fl., Recruiting Company

It was Christmas Eve 2007 in Fallujah, Iraq, and we were making our second move to Baghdad. Before moving out, we left our outpost and made a trip to Camp Fallujah to call home. While waiting for my Soldiers to finish their calls, I checked my email and found a message announcing that I had been selected for recruiting duty. I wasn’t happy about the news. I went to my squadron headquarters and begged and pleaded my command sergeant major to get me out of this assignment. His response was, “It will be good for your career.” This was not what I wanted to hear. I forced the news to the back of my mind. After all, I had bigger things to worry about in Iraq.

Fast forward seven months, and as I arrived at the Army Recruiting Course (ARC), I was still unhappy about what the Army had asked me to do. But I was also determined to make the best of it. Overwhelmed with all the classes and regulations that were covered, I was definitely outside of my comfort zone. I reflected back on my early years as a Soldier — scared, nervous and unsure; the ARC made me feel like a private again.

I requested to be assigned to the New England Recruiting Battalion in hopes that I would get to go back home for three years. I was shocked when I was granted my first choice. I later found out that recruiting in this area was more difficult than other areas in the command, and most Soldiers would never ask for this location. Looking back, I made the correct choice. Recruiting in a tough market forced me to develop the strong work ethic necessary to be successful in the U.S. Army Recruting Command and has continued to help me to this day.

I learned as much as I could at the ARC, but the most important lesson came when the instructors reminded us that we were only learning the basics at the schoolhouse. They said that we would hone our skills when we reported to our recruiting centers. I remember hoping that was true, because I had no clue what I was supposed to do.

By the time I arrived at the recruiting center in December 2008, less than a year after I was notified of my recruiting assignment, my outlook had improved only slightly. But I have always been successful in my career, regardless of whether I liked the job. So, I set out to make myself successful and accomplish my assigned mission. I stuck to the basics I learned at the ARC, speaking to anyone who looked qualified.

Recruiters from the Virginia National Guard man a display outside the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, Virginia, during a 236th Army Birthday celebration in June 2011. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen)
Recruiters from the Virginia National Guard meet with the public in June 2011 outside the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, Virginia, during a 236th Army Birthday celebration. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen)

On Christmas Eve, I enlisted my first two applicants — one as a 37F (psychological operations) and one as a 92G (food service specialist). I still keep in touch with them and have followed their careers. The 37F is now a staff sergeant at Fort Bragg, N.C., and the 92G is studying pre-med at the University of Massachusetts. You remember your first enlistment like you remember your drill sergeant; these are significant moments in your life. You feel proud that you made a difference in someone’s life, especially when he or she goes on to be successful.

I got into the groove fast, and I became successful much more quickly than I anticipated. As a result of great leadership and hard work, I was selected as the top new recruiter two years in a row. I had the opportunity to give young men and women a purpose and to be part of something bigger than themselves. I enjoyed shaking the hands of my new enlistees and always loved seeing the Soldiers when they came back from basic training. The kids who didn’t fear me as their recruiter came back standing at parade rest saying “sergeant” after every sentence. I also enjoyed seeing my enlistees’ physical and mental changes — each of the new Soldiers thinking they could take over the world. This will always be why I do this job: being able to help people while providing strength for the Army.

As I approached the two-year mark of a three-year tour in recruiting, I was being counseled by my first sergeant about converting. I told him that I enjoyed what I do, but that I missed having a job that was relevant. I missed kicking in doors in Iraq. I missed the firefights. And I missed making a difference. He had a perplexed look on his face and asked me, “How many people have you put in the Army?” I said, “About 60.” He looked at me and said, “What’s more relevant, 60 doors being kicked in or one door being kicked in, 60 M4s being fired or one?”

I understood the point he was making and understood that I was doing more as a recruiter than I did as a cavalry scout. For me, the greatest honor will always be that I made the Army better because of the Soldiers I recruited.

Sgt. 1st Class Stephan Behan is serving as the Sarasota Recruiting Center Leader in Sarasota, Fl.

Athletes on Army team remain confident as they prepare for Warrior Games

By MEGHAN PORTILLO
NCO Journal

Wounded warrior athletes on the Army team are more confident than ever that they will take home the Chairman’s Cup again this year at the conclusion of the Department of Defense Warrior Games, which will take place from June 19-28 at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Va.

Sgt. 1st Class Michael Smith, a member of the Army team, swims laps during training for the 2014 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Kaily Brown / U.S. Army)
Sgt. 1st Class Michael Smith, a member of the Army team, swims laps during training for the 2014 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Kaily Brown / U.S. Army)

Sgt. 1st Class Michael Smith, who this year will compete in the games for the second time, said there is no doubt in his mind that the Army will leave the games again with the cup, which is awarded to the service branch with the highest medal total. “Last year was the first year that we won the Chairman’s Cup, so I’m definitely looking forward to competing against the other branches and bringing that trophy home again.”

Smith is among the 40 wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and veterans picked to defend the Army’s title against the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, U.S. Special Operations Command and the British armed forces. The athletes were selected from about 75 veterans and active-duty Soldiers who competed in March during the Army Trials at Fort Bliss, Texas, in cycling, shooting, archery, track and field, wheelchair basketball, seated volleyball and swimming.

Smith, who will compete in swimming, track, field, cycling and sitting volleyball, said he speaks for the whole team when he says he is proud to have been selected.

“It means everything to me to represent the Army at the Warrior Games, because I believe in the Army. If it wasn’t for the Army, I wouldn’t be the type of man I am today. I wouldn’t be the father that I am today. I wouldn’t be the friend I am today. So to be able to represent something I truly believe in and love is an honor.”

This will be the first year that the games are hosted by a service branch instead of at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Though the majority of the crowd in Quantico will be cheering on the Marine Corps, Smith said he and his teammates are not worried.

“That makes it that much sweeter – to beat them in their own house,” Smith said. “I can’t wait to smash them again and look them in the eyes and tell them that we beat them on their home turf. I’m looking forward to that.”

Recovery through sports

The athletes train for the games as part of the U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command’s  Army Warrior Care and Transition program, which aids in the recovery of wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and veterans as they prepare themselves for life back in the force or as civilians.

Smith retrieves a volleyball during practice for the 2014 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Photo by Spc. Charles M. Bailey / U.S. Army)
Smith retrieves a volleyball during practice for the 2014 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Photo by Spc. Charles M. Bailey / U.S. Army)

Smith is the first Soldier with an above-the-elbow amputation to remain on active duty, and he credits the sports program for his success.

In 2011, Smith’s motorcycle was rear-ended. He flew over a freeway median, then was hit by an oncoming truck before crashing into the ground. He is blessed to be alive, Smith said, and is grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve.

“If it wasn’t for the Warrior Transition Command and the Warrior Games, and everything they provide, I wouldn’t be in the position I am in now,” Smith said.

In December, Smith began his duties as a recruiting center commander in Little Rock, Ark. He is in charge of 25 NCO recruiters, and said he is aware of how much they look up to him. He hopes that, through his example, they will see that an injury in no way lessens a leader’s influence.

“No matter your situation – whether it is physical, mental, emotional or whatever the case may be – Soldiers still look up to you,” Smith said. “If you are an NCO, a noncommissioned officer, you are still supposed to lead from the front – no matter what. That is my whole reason for coming back to active duty. I’m a leader. I’m a senior NCO. I didn’t make E7 by sleeping. The Army instilled in me the leadership skills that I have, and I want to continue to lead.”

Always striving for a new goal

Even after all Smith has accomplished, he has not stopped creating fresh goals for himself.

He hopes to one day work for the Warrior Transition Command to recruit other athletes, set up camps and motivate wounded warriors. He said he knows that if they can be inspired to give it their best, they will be competitive in their sports, in their recovery and in life.

“If you can learn to swim with one arm, learn to run with a prosthetic, if you can tackle that goal and defeat that, any other obstacle that comes your way in life, you are going to take that same approach, and just know that you can do it,” Smith said.

Smith is also still striving toward new goals as an athlete. He has been training to join the USA Skeleton Sled team, and is determined to take home the title of “Ultimate Warrior” from next year’s Warrior Games.

“I would have to place in every event they offer. It’s something I wanted to go for this year, but because I am working in recruiting, I didn’t have the ability to go to any shooting camps. Next year, that is definitely my goal. I will be the Ultimate Warrior next year. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Following is a list of athletes on the 2015 Army team. The list is subject to change. For more information and to view coach and team-member bios, click here.

·         Staff Sgt. Ashley Anderson, Fort Riley, Kan.

·         Spc. Anthony Atemon, Fort Bragg, N.C.

·         Staff Sgt. Thomas Ayers, Clarksville, Tenn.

·         Spc. Dustin Barr, Fort Bragg, N.C.

·         Capt. Frank Barroqueiro, Gainesville, Ga.

·         Capt. Steven Bortle, Pearl City, Hawaii

·         Spc. Terry Cartwright, Fort Belvoir, Va.

·         Spc. Laurel Cox, Fort Belvoir, Va.

·         Spc. Sydney Davis, Fort Belvoir, Va.

·         1st Lt. Kelly Elmlinger, Joint Base San Antonio

·         Staff Sgt. Randi Gavell, Oklahoma City, Okla.

·         Sgt. 1st Class Samantha Goldenstein, Saint Robert, Miss.

·         Sgt. Colton Harms, Fort Riley, Kan.

·         Sgt. Sean Hook, Summerville, S.C.

·         Sgt. Blake Johnson, Bethesda, Md.

·         Staff Sgt. Sean Johnson, Aberdeen, S.D.

·         Sgt. Kawaiola Nahale, Fort Shafter, Hawaii

·         Spc. Chasity Kuczer, Fort Knox, Ky.

·         Sgt. 1st Class Katie Kuiper, San Antonio, Texas

·         Spc. Stefan Leroy, Bethesda, Md.

·         Staff Sgt. Monica Martinez, Bethesda, Md.

·         Staff Sgt. Andrew McCaffrey, Arlington, Va.

·         Staff Sgt. Michael McPhall, Bethesda, Md.

·         Staff Sgt. Billy Meeks, Las Cruces, N.M.

·         Cpl. Mathew Mueller, Fort Carson, Colo.

·         Master Sgt. Rhoden Galloway, San Antonio, Texas

·         Staff Sgt. Eric Pardo, San Antonio, Texas

·         1st Lt. Christopher Parks, Fort Hood, Texas

·         Staff Sgt. Timothy Payne, Raleigh, N.C.

·         Cpl. Jasmine Perry, Fort Campbell, Ky.

·         Sgt. Zedrik Pitts, Birmingham, Ala.

·         Spc. Haywood Range, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

·         Capt. Will Reynolds, Bethesda, Md.

·         Staff Sgt. Alexander Shaw, Clarksville, Tenn.

·         Chief Warrant Officer Timothy Sifuentes, Fort Riley, Kan.

·         Staff Sgt. Monica Southall, Henrico, Va.

·         Sgt. 1st Class Michael Smith, Little Rock, Ark

·         Sgt. Patrick Timmins, Colorado Springs, Colo.

·         Sgt. Nicholas Titman, Fort Carson, Colo.

·         Sgt. Ricardo Villalobos, Winston Salem, N.C.

Coaches and athletes huddle before basketball practice during the Army Trials at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, on March 28, 2015. (Photo by EJ Hersom / DoD News)
Coaches and athletes huddle before basketball practice during the Army Trials at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, on March 28, 2015. (Photo by EJ Hersom / DoD News)

Recruiting offers NCOs opportunity to enhance Army

By LYNSIE DICKERSON
U.S. Army Recruiting Command

When Master Sgt. Donald Gallagher joined the Army Reserve, he already knew he wanted to be a recruiter. His interest in recruiting started with friends talking about their own experiences in the field. It seemed to him like a very fulfilling assignment.

“When I first got into recruiting, I found that it was very fast-paced and you had to really work hard,” said Gallagher, now a Recruiting and Retention School instructor who is heading to the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy in the summer. “Your work ethic was pushed. The harder you worked, the more success you saw.”

Recruiting duty provides noncommissioned officers with the opportunity to shape the future of the Army, positively impact the lives of others, and advance their own Army careers. It’s a great broadening assignment that strengthens an NCO’s skill set, he said.

“I truly believe that when a noncommissioned officer comes into recruiting duty and when he leaves, he’s made immense leaps in his ability to coach, teach, mentor and counsel individuals,” Gallagher said. “I would just tell anybody that’s potentially looking at coming into recruiting, that if they want a challenging assignment that offers great career progression and is going to help them become a better noncommissioned officer, they should really look at coming in to Recruiting Command.”

Recruiters are an elite group with an elite mission. Only the top NCOs in each MOS are selected to be recruiters.

“Recruiters today are the very best of the noncommissioned officer corps,” said Maj. Gen. Allen Batschelet, commanding general of U.S. Army Recruiting Command. “When we’ve looked across all the noncommissioned officers in the Army to find who can qualify to be a recruiter, less than 10 percent of NCOs can be considered.”

Without recruiting, there is no Army. Every day, recruiters build the Army, finding those with a genuine desire to serve and putting the best in uniform.

Staff Sgt. Yu Rhee, one of the Army's first recipients of the new Master Recruiter Badge, conducts an interview as part of U.S. Army Recruiting Command's first Master Recruiter Badge competition at Fort Knox, Kentucky, in September. The competition began with more than 1,000 recruiters, and seven earned the coveted badge. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Recruiting Command)
Staff Sgt. Yu Rhee, one of the Army’s first recipients of the
new Master Recruiter Badge, conducts an interview as part of U.S. Army Recruiting Command’s first Master Recruiter Badge competition at Fort Knox, Kentucky, in September. The competition began with more than 1,000
recruiters, and seven earned the coveted badge. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Recruiting Command)

“The ability to shape the future of the Army — there’s no other job in the United States Army that gives you the flexibility that recruiting does when it comes to that,” said Master Sgt. Jeff White, NCOIC of USAREC’s Recruit the Recruiter team. “You are literally recruiting the men and women who are going to form the Army of the future.”

As the face of the Army to the American public, recruiters must be self-disciplined, live the Army values, and have a high level of integrity. Recruiting requires independent and adaptive thinkers who are capable of making decisions in unfamiliar environments while maintaining the respect and trust of civilians.

Recruiters perform a variety of tasks, including giving presentations at schools, interviewing applicants, and participating in community events.

“It’s fun because you kind of get connected back to actually helping your community more than you would in the mainstream Army or even in the civilian world,” said Recruit the Recruiter team’s Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Vance. “I had the chance to go back to my MOS and turned it down.”

Recruiting provides Soldiers the opportunity to help the Army while helping other people.

“I’m helping the Army provide the strength in numbers, but when I talk to the applicants and people interested in the Army, I’m here to help them as well,” said Staff Sgt. Yu Rhee, a recruiter at the Los Angeles Recruiting Battalion who was one of the first seven individuals to earn the Army’s new Master Recruiter Badge. “I really get to know what their goals are in life and why they’re here sitting in front of me in my office. There’s that job satisfaction that comes with helping others. I think that’s what I enjoy most about it.”

White said there’s a small percentage of recruits who, before coming into the Army, were on the ‘wrong track,’ getting in trouble, or not doing well in school.

“When you can take them and get them off of that track and put them on the right track, when you see them come back from basic training, that’s when this job is worthwhile,” he said. “You literally change someone’s life.”

Serving as a recruiter advances an NCO’s career by offering high promotion rates and strengthening a variety of skills.

“Your opportunity to exercise initiative, to be in a mission command environment, do the things we enjoy as leaders and develop your leadership skills are more available inside of the Recruiting Command than they are in the operational Army,” Batschelet said.

Recruiting duty sets people apart from their peers, White said.

“From a career-enhancement standpoint, you’ll be looked at much more favorably on centralized promotion boards,” he said.

Recruiters must learn to be inspirational and motivational to be successful leaders, White added.

“I think that recruiting teaches you that you can’t rely on the rank that’s on your chest; you have to rely on interpersonal skills necessary to lead, and it really helps you hone those skills,” White said. “That’s something that—even coming from a combat arms MOS—I could have never imagined I was going to become a better leader as a recruiter than I was as a tank commander.”

NCOs interested in volunteering for recruiting duty can find out more information from the Recruit the Recruiter office at (502) 626-0210.

 

The all-volunteer force: Keeping America safe for 40 years

By STAFF SGT. JASON HELFER
Largo (Md.) Recruiting Center, Landover Recruiting Company

Honor, service and sacrifice are just a few reasons why young Americans decide to enlist in the Army and defend the land they call home. Throughout much of America’s history a conscription force or “draftees” were needed to supplement the volunteers, especially during a time of heavy conflict such as the Civil War and Vietnam War.

But that changed when President Richard Nixon ended the draft in the United States. As a result, the last American draftee entered the Army in June 1973. Since then, no American has involuntarily served in the U. S. military.

Although there were some fears in the early 1970s that America would not be able to sustain an all-volunteer military, I believe the skeptics have been proved wrong. In the 40 years since President Nixon signed the bill ending the draft, America’s Army has continually filled its ranks with young men and women who heed the call to duty.

Even as some were still being drafted for the Vietnam War, other Soldiers were volunteering for service in the Army. Former Spc. 4 Roy Milbrodt Sr. is one of those veterans. Milbrodt, who enlisted into the Army out of Cleveland in 1968, served two years in Vietnam, where he earned two Bronze Stars (one for valor) and a Purple Heart.

“I was 18 years old, and I knew I was likely going to be drafted,” Milbrodt said. “I didn’t want to end up in a branch that I didn’t know much about. I liked the idea of serving in the Army, which had treated my father well in World War II.”

Serving in the Army made him a stronger individual, Milbrodt said. “The Army made me grow up in a way that many others didn’t have to. Being 18 years old and being shipped off to a combat zone made me realize the things we take for granted each day are the most important things.”

Milbrodt said one of his greatest contributions to the Army is his son, Staff Sgt. Roy Milbrodt Jr., who is serving as an assistant center commander of Largo, Md., Recruiting Center, a part of the Baltimore Recruiting Battalion. The younger Milbrodt said that he has a great deal of respect for his father and that the new generation of Soldiers has a responsibility to honor the Soldiers of the past.

Five Soldiers from the 15th MP Brigade took the oath of re-enlistment July 17 in front of the Buffalo Soldier monument at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The ceremony marked the brigade reaching 200 re-enlistments, a benchmark they had not reached in the previous two years. Staff Sgt. Robert Robinson's children, Alex, 4, and Robert, Jr., 7, joined him at the ceremony. Staff Sgt. Robinson said he wanted to re-enlist because he is proud of the Army and he loves leading Soldiers. (Photo by Jonathan (Jay) Koester, NCO Journal)
Five Soldiers from the 15th MP Brigade took the oath of re-enlistment July 17 in front of the Buffalo Soldier monument at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The ceremony marked the brigade reaching 200 re-enlistments, a benchmark they had not reached in the previous two years. Staff Sgt. Robert Robinson’s children, Alex, 4, and Robert, Jr., 7, joined him at the ceremony. Staff Sgt. Robinson said he wanted to re-enlist because he is proud of the Army and he loves leading Soldiers. (Photo by Jonathan (Jay) Koester, NCO Journal)

“Their selfless service — their sacrifices to us and everyone — went unnoticed during [my father’s] time in the Army, and so many looked down on them when they returned home,” Milbrodt Jr. said. “It is up to us, as today’s Soldiers, to honor and pay homage to their sacrifice and dedication.”

More recently, the Army witnessed an influx of Soldiers who joined in the months after the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. For Staff Sgt. Dominick Engel, who was living in New York at the time, the attacks were his call to duty.

“[After the attack happened], I wanted to fight for my country,” said Engel, who joined as an infantryman. Six years later, Engel has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and has helped neutralize threats that could have potentially taken the lives of American Soldiers.

“I gained new experiences from my deployments, and I have a high level of pride in what I do,” he said.

Every civilian has a different reason for enlisting. Some are looking for a new start in life, some want to serve their country, and some simply want to protect it. For applicant Geoffrey Auza, who will soon join the Army as a 74D chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosives specialist, enlisting with the U.S. Army provides him an opportunity to give back while also gaining U.S. citizenship.

“The Army is helping me get my citizenship, and I want to protect the U.S. from threats,” said Auza, who was born and raised in the Philippines. “Also, I want to use the Army’s college money to finish my bachelor’s degree and pursue nursing. The Army will give me a chance to travel, further my education, and raise my self-esteem.”

Throughout the past 40 years, every soldier has had one thing in common: they all volunteered. And though the tangible benefits are sometimes a driving motive for why a young man or woman volunteers, it is often the intangible benefits — pride, duty and selfless service — that the Soldier cherishes most as a result of his or her service.

Staff. Sgt. Jason Helfer served in the Marines for four years before serving in the Army for five years as a 92F petroleum supply specialist. Helfer currently serves as an Active Guard Reserve recruiter in the Baltimore (Md.) Recruiting Battalion.