Monday, December 28, 2009

Top Recruiting Stories 2009

As I've said before this has been a year of lackluster reporting on recruiting activities. With Mission Success being a near foregone conclusion based on the two month head start USAREC had for RY2009, even reporting on recruiting improprieties fell to the wayside. Whether it's because years of ethics training paid off, the surplus of applicants reduced the pressures to play in the dark gray, or recruiters just stopped saying stupid things to walk-ins I don't know.

These are in no particular order.

Mission Success.

Just go to the DoD news release site, get the monthly breakdown, and look towards the middle of the month. Each month you'll see the report of all branches meeting their goals. This is the only place you can go to see it since it's not like it was receiving the press coverage mission failure received back in 2005.

Recruiter Suicides.

Tragic. Four recruiters in nearly as many years from the same battalion. The only battalion with more than one suicide in that period. It resulted in a change of leadership at the battalion level and sensing sessions with a congressman. Brigades and Battalions throughout the command started mandating, and enforcing, leaves, days off, family functions, work hours, and all the things on the "SFC B Wishlist" I had when I'd be working on hour 4 of P1 at 2000h. Whether this commitment to Soldier welfare will extend past the days of 10% unemployment and mission success in the +100% range I don't know. I have my doubts, but it's a welcome change for those who wear the recruiting badge.

HRAPs murdered.

THe death of PVT William Long and and the serious injury of PVT Quinton Ezeagwula at the hands of Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad outside a recruiting station in Little Rock was buried by the news of the murder of abortion doctor Dr. George Tiller. Since that day Muhammad has stated his motive for the attack was hatred of what Americans were doing to Muslims. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

In my mind this was simply the inevitable result of how some elements of the public view and treat recruiters. Recruiting stations are bombed and vandalized. Recruiting vehicles damaged. Recruiters threatened and attacked. For almost every city in the US the recruiting station is the community's only connection to the military. If you read the news feeds from papers across the country you see that, in towns across the country, the comings and goings at the local recruiting station are news. New company commanders, departing veteran recruiters getting interviewed. While that level of attention and support might not be the exact norm, for the most part recruiters are, at the very least, tolerated.

Does Code Pink protesting a USMC officer recruiting office mean they're going to shoot them? Of course not. They're in Berkley. They're not allowed to have guns there.

I kid.

Be vigilant out there recruiters. Practice basic Force Protection. Vary the routes and schedules, check for suspicious activities. Don't be a target.

Recruiter Deals with Recruit's Death.

In my opinion this is one of the most powerful stories about recruiting this year. Unfortunately the Salt Lake Tribune has taken the story down and archived it. A copy and paste version of it is available online, but it's on a counter-recruitment site and I'm not in the mood to give them the traffic when their only comment is suspecting it of being propaganda.

The recruiter is a new Soldier's first first line leader. You worry about them. Usually it's worries that they're going to do something stupid and fail to ship, but you do worry about them. You contact them to check the block in ARISS or Recruiter Zone, but also because it's what you do with your Soldiers. To lose one, especially one of the motivated ones who wanted nothing more to serve, would be crushing. I still check the casualty notices to see the names. If it's ever one of my recruits it will be a painful loss.

Well, those are stories as I see them. You had the recruiter doing wicked stupid with forged PC. That was about the only recruiting impropriety story I noticed make it to any level of news. But it didn't have the news-bit perfect moments of someone on tape giving a fake high school name to use. So it went no where.

Hope everyone has a great New Years Eve and makes it into 2010 safely.


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