Monday, January 30, 2006

I WON!!!

Yay me! I won the SGT Stryker photo caption contest for the week. Yay! Whoever said that presidential oral sex jokes went out with Clinton obviously didn't anticipate SFC B going all nuts and coming up with such an awesome caption.

I think I won a Viper with that.


Oh, I didn't. Damn.

Ah, memories

I was doing some searching and I found the blog of a young Soldier who chronicled his time in Basic and AIT. Excellent site and one that I'll be providing to my Future Soldiers when they ask about Basic. It's been too long since I wa under the care of a Drill Sergeant so my experiences are outdated for the men and women joining today.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Feels good

Well, yesterday went well. There is another young man in the service, and a tick-mark next to my name. I am happy. He's going to be in my care for the next couple months before he goes off to basic. Should be fun. I look at this CHIS as being my gateway to a high school for the next year and a half. I just need to make sure he does something useful and provides me with leads.

Anyways, Sunday. Coffee. No football. Pitchers and catchers report in 18 days. 24 hours until I show up back at the office. Eh. Have a good one folks.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Theory disproved

Today we gave a three year old the EST. I do believe that they would have out scored many of the people we have given the EST, however they started playing with the nipple on the keyboard and somehow closed the exam.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Eww... spleen juice

I was on Torrentspy and I came across a story about how Saddam is hoping to sue Bush and Blair. The comments were, sadly, what I expected. The worst anyone had to say about Saddam was he "was a mean assed bastard", and some of the comments even suggested that he was right to sue because Bush and Blair are both so very evil. My spleen exploded and I posted my own dribble. Figured I'd share it because, well, I can't hope to learn if I don't get some constructive critism.

"Hrmm, the only problem i see is did saddam really do the evil things he did, or did bush/blair make it all up to get us to go into his country."

Decide for yourself.

If you want a first-hand account of Saddam's treatment of the Kurds shoot me an email. I'd be more than happy to put you in touch with a couple of Iraqi Kurds who were there during the Iran-Iraq war and the Persian Gulf War. One served in the Peshmerga and the other served in the Iraqi Army.

Saddam didn't limit his activities to the north though. The Marsh Arabs also suffered under a bit of his special attentions.

These are the easiest, most readily available crimes committed by Saddam.

I'll conceed the point that Bush and Blair are not saints. I'm sure there have been violations of various treaties committed by allied troops. For the most part they're isolated cases and abusers are punished and changes implemented to prevent it from occuring again.

The actions of Saddam's Army WERE THE NORM. That was standing operating procedure of his government to opress, terrorize, and torture his enemies, real and perceived. To draw any sort of similarity between the various crimes committed by US and UK troops, and the atrocities and genocide practiced by Saddam is irresponsible and reprehensible.

Maybe Saddam wasn't the worst violator of human rights around. Maybe Bush and Blair should be sued. But how about a call go out to bring some other, more serious, offenders to justice?

Robert Mugabe.
Fidel Castro
Any number of Chinese officials
Iran's mullahs play in this league too

And finally there are the darlings of "progressives" everywhere. The Palestinians

"Saddam Was A Mean Ass Bastard, But He Definitely Has A Point."

School bullies are "mean ass bastards". Saddam was a murdering sociopath who got his jollies from the torture, rape, and murder of women and children. He would watch as his enemies were put to death in industiral shredders, throw off three story buildings, or simply shot in the back of the head. He managed to sire two of the sickest sons one who ever be unlucky enough to meet. One who was a raping and murdering psycho who would torture soccer players for losing. The other a sociopath like his dad who would, likely, have had his older brother killed to clear his own path to the throne.

I'm going to be a sterotyping prick and assume most of the commenters here are in college. Because you'd have to have a pretty twisted world view to see any sort of similarity between Bush and Blair, and Saddam.

I'm sure I could have found better examples if I spent more time researching than I did. I pisses me off something firce when someone refuses to see the difference between a crime like Abu Gharib and a crime like Halabja. The US wouldn't commit an atrocity like Halabja in the wildest, wettest dream of the most feverent believer that this is Bushitler's Amerikkka. It wouldn't happen.

I'm sorry for the long rambling posts lately. My spleen feels empty so hopefully I'll be back to my usual "Recruiting sucks and everything that is wrong in my life is because of USAREC" soon enough.

*UPDATE* Editted a link so it would fit better. Was screwing up the display for IE.

Military Entrance Prevention Station

MEPS has been living up to it's name lately. Two 2807s and associated documents have come up missing for me this week. They, of course, realize these things at the last minute, despite the fact the projections were received at least two days before. During the prior regime at MEPS they would catch errors like missing pages, incorrectly completed paperwork, or outdated documents the day they were sent down. The admin assistant would take something off the fax, exam it, and cross-reference it off the roster for that individual. If more was needed we'd receive a call informing of the mistake. It was a wonderful system. It wasn't perfect, and the ball would sometimes be dropped (on both sides), but it worked.

The best I could say for the MEPS operations since the change of assistants is that I don't wish them horrible death every day. But this week has just been one repeating problem after another. This morning was the best of the week though.

It started well enough. I was still high on the endorphins my newfound power provides me. I whipped a knave on my way in, and I had two homeless people engage in a battle to the death for a half-eaten QT breakfast sandwich, and my entertainment. I'm at the office and I go over the PMS for the week thusfar with the CLT. For the next hour, I assume, the CLT was going over the roster with MEPS. I get a call at 10:00 saying that they needed the 2807 downtown on my guy for tomorrow morning. Now. I provide the 2807. Five minutes later I get a phone call saying that the 2807 wasn't any good because in his name block he wrote his name "First Last". Now, I know we're in the Army, and we almost always write our names Last First on documents. However, on the name block, on the first page of the 2807 (2nd page actually, but I never include the directions page) it doesn't specify. On every other page it does the Last, First, MI thing, but not on the first. I've seen and done 2807s both ways without issue before. This time though, huge issue. World is ending. He will not phys or enlist unless tomorrow unless the name is fixed. I fix it. Refax, and get ready to find my next contract.

Stop. Phone rings.

The MEPS again. The fax was missing a page. Re-refax. Start looking for next contract.

Stop. Phone rings.

MEPS again. I didn't include the 1966 page 6 (parental consent for the kid to enlist, he's 17 afterall). I was glad to hear this because it reaffirmed my sanity. I knew I'd already faxed this because I distinctly remembered having to fax the 1966 pg 6 on Wednesday when I faxed it the first time. Can't fax it to them now because I put the 1966 in the packet, which was currently sitting in the "in" box at MEPS. I get a dismissive remark about how I should have gotten all this to them earlier. I do the only thing I can do "Hoo-ah Master Sergeant, I'll do better next time." I will tilt windmills. I have no problem doing something insane if I think it has a chance of working, or not making things worse. Getting into a pissing match with the E8 in charge of the guidance shop will not end well for SFC B.

Anyway, go on with the day. Do an appointment with a guy in the Guard who's coming up on ETS. I do the FS orientation for my 09L. And I help SGT W^3 get his IRR-TPU contract done. I'm happy.

Stop. Phone rings.

MEPS. Again.

Now, the school district this kid is in has a short summer. 78 days to be precise. The Army requires 77 days for training, plus like 2 weeks after the end of the school year to account for snow days. Snow... days... in... PHOENIX!!!! The last time it snowed in Phoenix was in December of 1998. Anyway. I worked with the kid's parents, his counselor, and the assistant principal for academics and they agreed that, if he's ready, he can take his exams as early as 15MAY so he can join the Army. They will not allow him to take the exams if he isn't ready because, well, it's a one-shot deal. He blows them because the exams cover things he won't touch for two weeks it's his loss and he'll possibly fail his junior year. I felt that was reasonable.

The issue that MEPS seems to have is that the letter from the asst. principal and parents do not explicitly state in BIG BOLD LETTERS that he will take the tests on the 15th. They are phrased so as to allow him to take the tests later, even up to his scheduled completion date, if he's not ready. I explained the conversation and my position to SFC SC2 and he feels that it's something that will work out in our favor tomorrow. I hope so.

This whole things strikes me as a Clintonian "what 'is' is" moment. When recruiters complain about how it seems that MEPS doesn't want to enlist someone this is what I'm referring to. This is a painfully fine hair being split. The parents, the counselor, the administration, and the kid all want him to get as much out of his education as possible. As do I. If the difference between him passing his finals with a grade that raises his GPA, or one that lowers it, is one week of class, I say let him take the week. It's not my choice though. R2 produced a training plan that will allow him to ship for training, train, and graduate in time to make it home with about a week to spare. And missing no school. He can't afford to be recycled, but I don't think he plans to fail. If MEPS' interpretation of applicable regulations prevents him from enlisting, that's their call.

I've got another early one tomorrow so... have a good one folks.

It's almost worth not doing it

Third time this week for the 4am thing. As I scurried out of the bedroom trying to get out before my alarm woke up Queen Mrs. SFC B I thought "Jeez, why aren't I having one of my evil minions, lackeys, or hired goons doing this?" Then I remembered that the whole "evil tyrant thing" is just a bit of insanity I've been having lately. Really, it's a cry for help people, why doesn't anyone ever see them?

Seriously though, mornings like this make me remember the bad ol' days when I was putting no one in the Army. Sure, I was the world's worst recruiter, but I was a well-rested world's worst recruiter. There is value in that.

There are only 20 days until pitchers and catchers report, and 66 days until Opening Day for the Astros. In the previous sentence which was the right way to say it "There is only 20 days" or "There are only 20 days"? I know it's a weird thing for a guy who always misspells January to worry about, but I worry about it.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


I despise spam. The email, I actually like the taste of the quasi-meat. If I was promoted from Ruler of all Recruiters... in my station to Ruler of Everything I'd probably spend my first day in power creating new and clever ways to shuffle spammer off this mortal coil. Well, I'd actually spend my first day in power doing a dance of joy, followed by much debauchery with Queen Mrs. SFC B. But I digress

My second day in power is when I'd take care of the nasty spammer problem. After they were gone I'd move on to consolidating my power, eliminating my enemies, and pursuing the Super Weapon that all evil tyrants require. I found this to be a very useful resource. I'm digressing again.

In the spirit of being helpful I'd like to offer this advice to spammers. STOP IT BEFORE I KILL YOU ALLLLLLLLLL!!!! That and, if you're going to send someone spam, don't have it insult them. Today I received an email who's subject was, and I'm quoting here, "Upset bcoz of ur short dick? Longer 2" with this." I don't care if it's the greatest product ever. I don't care if it makes my hair fuller, my teeth whiter, cures cancer, and leads to the saying "Wow, that horse is hung like SFC B" I have a very strict policy about using or buying products that insult me. Anyway, consider this my little bit of friendly advice to those in the spam business. Just because your lives are shallow, purposeless things, and you're hated by your own mother doesn't mean that you should try and make yourself feel better by insulting people who you've never met and who are already bitter you found their email address.

Tyranny Day 2

The purge of the nobles has been complete. All those who were not fully, completly, and totally loyal to my rule have been... removed. Queen Mrs. SFC B enjoys her new status, and the throng on maidens who wait on her hand and foot. Fear of my wrath has quieted all signs of rebellion. I've also been careful to avoid allowing a plucky child, orphaned by my violence, who's hatred of me would lead to him leading a rebellion, to survive. I've seen Conan the Barbarian. I know better than to allow that to happen.

On a not-insane-reality note though it looks like we're going to be finishing the week in good fashion. A paper contract will be completed today (or I shall send my knights to downtown to burn the MEPS to the ground as a warning to others who would taunt my rule), and the RA dropped a contract yesterday. Saturday a CHIS will be downtown for the AR, and a senior and grad will be there for the RA.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Today marks the beginning of the rule of SFC B. SFC SC2 has left the area for three days of contemplation, reflection, and meditation, so I have crushed all opponents, spread fear and distrust through the people, and have assumed the role of Ruler of all Recruiters... in my station. Today marks my first turn as the temporary station commander.

I promise to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king.

The End

Another 0400. I think Yankeemom is right.

Today is ship day for a Soldier someone else in the station put in. The recruiter has since left USAREC for saner pastures, but I inherited her only remaining FS. He leaves today. It's an early morning because the dude lives about as close to LA as you can, but still be in the PHX area. It's way out there. Was watching The Shield last night so I'm effin' tired. This should be a fun day. :-/

As an aside. "Amazement" was the suggested word from spell check for "Yankeemom".

Monday, January 23, 2006

Next on the list

I'm no longer the World's Worst Recruiter. Now I just need to make sure that I keep that status.

With the mission reduction that comes from a 09L the station is now 0-3 on the USAR. We were -1 for 4 (you're welcome SGT W^3) so it's a step in the right direction. I figured I'd use this time to collect my thought and try to put in writing how I plan to get the rest of that mission done.

As we stand we're behind for the year and quarter by about 4 enlistments. Over-producing by two this month and next will get us even and give SGT W^3 and I bragging rights over our counterparts. And that is a good thing. However, overproducing by two just sounds painful, but I'll play along with the 79R mentality.

As it stands right now I've got two other people ready to go. One is the CHIS I'd mentioned before. He's committed and ready to go on Saturday. That puts us 1-3. I've also got a PS who requires a med waiver. In my opinion he should be good to hook, but it's not my opinion that counts so he's not something I can really count on. I've got another PS who has been toying with my emotions since November. He could come through tomorrow or he could be in Sioux Falls for all I know. Between the two of them one should shake out leaving us 2-3.

SGT W^3 will be providing the other two locked enlistments. Because of a little bit of follow-up an IRR-TPU contract walked through the door last week. Some updates need to happen at HRC to make him happen, but it's good for this week. The other bit of good news was the discovery that a slightly pudgy RE waiver went from a full-process to a paper contract with one date. Turns out a woman that SGT W^3 has been working for months is still in the IRR. And is until 2008. I was a bit shocked to find this out, but it was a good kind of shocked. These two contracts bring us to a possible 4-3 by the end of the second week. It requires a whole lot of things to go our way, but it's nice to survey the landscape and at least see a glimmer of hope.

Of course this will empty all the barrels and leave me in the lurch for next month, but I've learned not to take anything for granted. Just get em in boots and worry about next month when next month happens.



Future information for fellow recruiters.

If you ever put in a 09L, don't let them do any processing on a Friday. When they process on Friday they can't get everything done in time for them to join that day. So you're required to get up at 4am so you can pick them up and drive them downtown.

Oh well. I'll take some early mornings for a contract.


Still no news. Kid's been downtown since 6am and nothing is showing on TOS except he's arrived. The packet has been there for the past week. The ARISS errors were corrected on Friday. And it's not like he's got a whole list of jobs he's eligible for and he's doing some "shopping". He's got an 8QT and is enlisting only for his verbal skills in Dari. This shouldn't be so painful. If anyone who works MEPS reads this, can I please get an explaination?


I'm no longer the World's Worst Recruiter. I just ended a drought and placed my first special mission enlistee into the Army. In about a year a unit preparing to head to Afghanistan will have a very excited and motivated Dari speaker added to its ranks. I hope they appreciate the work that went into adding him. He's a good troop and I'm happy to have put him in. Not just because I needed the contract, but because he's a good man.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Doing somemore changes to the blog. Nothing major at all though. Mostly just trying to make my links look different. Also going to be doing some updating and adding some more people who've been kind enough to put their thoughts out there to be read.

I'm also doing this whole "blog" thing as something of a learning lesson. I do want to try and learn something about HTML. I'm not learning much, but I am learning some things. Nothing that will make me useful, but maybe enough to make me dangerous. And I like it like that anyways.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Some of the favorite things

I'm waiting for an applicant and his parents to come in so we can sit down and see what good can come from using R2. While I'm waiting I'd figured I'd try and remember some of the best things I've heard since I've been out in recruiting.

From the leads/prospects/applicants:

"I've never had any law violations. At least nothing which hasn't been taken care of."
Okay Skippy, what did you do that had to be "taken care of"?

"Why don't you run the police checks and tell me what I've done."
It doesn't work like that Scooter.

"Oh man, I want to join the Army now! Is it a problem that I have asthma?"
You couldn't have told me that when I asked "Do you have any medical conditions or currently taking any medication"?

"I'll have to see if I get that job working in produce at the grocery store. If I don't I'll join."
I just stare blankly as my mind tries to process how cleaning veggies is a more appealing life choice than serving your country. Dude didn't even want to be a 92G so he COULD work produce in the Army.

"I can't afford the pay cut."
You're pushing carts for tips.

"I'm going to join the Air Force."
Here's the Air Force recruiter's phone number. Give him a call and tell him you have a 32 QT.

From fellow recruiters:

"Hey, hey, SFC B. This is me, but it's not me. What you got made?"
SSG Peter, the only person who can ask me that is SFC SC2. Stop worrying about me and worry about your no-conducts week.

"Sure you can take my motorcycle for a ride."
Yeah, that was me. 45 minutes later I'm picking up bits of plastic while waiting for the ambulance to take someone to the hospital.

"This is bullshit. Where are my orders?"
Heard that every morning for four months when a recruiter was waiting for his PCS orders.

"I quit."
Same recruiter when he'd check his email and see no orders.

"She's a grad."
First thing out of a recruiter's mouth when we asked him how old the girl he was dating is.

"You're not supposed to use your senior LRL as a little black book."
Our response.

"Here's what I'm thinking I'm going to do. I'm going to get the kid in here and we're going to talk, and I'm going to see how he feels about taking the test. If he's good I'm going to schedule him and he'll take it. Hopefully he'll do good. If he doesn't want to take it I'll find out why by using some open-ended questions and hopefully overcome his objections. If I do I'll test him and then I'll see if he'll join so I can phys him and get me a grad for next month cause, man, I need something cause I've got nothing. I keep going out, finding these people, conducting them, but they're failing the EST cause they're all stupid. Man, what do they want from me? I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, they can't get too mad when you're out there trying. I'm tired of being skull-drugged because these kids don't want to do nothing."
Another foot down the slippery slope of insanity for a recruiter. That whole thing was in response to me asking "Hey, how'd you do today?"

"How's it going? Here, have a t-shirt. So, um, how are you doing? Here, have a mug. "You doing good in school? I've got a pen here for you. So, what have you been up to? Oh man, I've got a gym bag for you."
There are many ways to build rapport with a prospect. SSG Peter believes in bribing them into submission.

"You wanna join the Army or not?"
SSG Rage's opening statement. Can't knock it. He was the best worst recruiter ever.

"I swear to God. If I get another validation error for having the "current physician" blank I'm going to throw my laptop."
A common oath in my station when doing a projection.

"Let me see your planning guide."
Nothing good can ever come from hearing that.

"If volume equals box then why won't they count GED's for PMS?"
One of the great philosophical questions of all time.

"What do you mean you're not wearing underwear?"
Only recruiters can have a woman call them at work, tell them they're going commando, and have it be a legitimate work-related call. And only recruiters hate getting that call.

"You won't tell me you got a ticket last night, but you'll tell everyone at MEPS?"
I was impressed that SSG Rage didn't hurt that big-headed kid when he pulled that one.

"There are two senior 79Rs at the CLT who's only job is to put in 18X, OCS, and WOFT. They're done nothing all quarter. You, however, have put in two 18X's by accident."
My smart-assed comment to SSG Rage after he dropped his second SF contract in as many months. He hated them because it meant he had to do the Basic Training Task list.

"No one walks into a recruiting station carrying a glass of water unless they intend to throw it at a recruiter."
SSG Rage is a quote machine. He's also right.

Anyone, that's about it for me right now. Have to get working and see about getting this kid in. School here in AZ has a really short summer so Alternate Training might not work out well. We'll see.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Jeremiah was a bullfrog!

My 09L got himself a 2 on the OPI so he's a go to join. Joy to the world was the first thought into my mind. However he couldn't join today because I'm the worst recruiter in the world, no matter what SFC Chairborne says. Hopefully he'll join on Monday and all will be right with the world, until I get back to the office and SFC SC2 wants to know who's joining next.

Have a good weekend those who get to have one!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Mutha eff

A couple months ago our MEPS had a bit of a loss. The admin assistant was married to a recruiter and the recruiter PCS'd and she went with him. The MEPS has been suffering ever since.

For those not aware MEPS acts as the gateway. We at the recruiting station fax documents, scan documents, deliver documents to MEPS and they say if it's good. When it comes to the physical we at the station fax the 2807 and any associated documents to MEPS at least 24 hours prior. If the person marked "Yes" to any medical question beyond "Do you smoke?" or "Do you wear contacts?" you need to provide supporting medical documents. And if you have documents they need to be reviewed. If something needs to be reviewed it takes between 24 and 72 hours, depending on how many docs you send to doc.

I submitted the 2807 and assorted paperwork on a guy Tuesday for a phys on Friday. I found out today that he wouldn't be able to phys because MEPS just realized that the guy has a medical packet as thick as Order of the Phoenix. The previous MEPS admin lady would have seen the thick fax and wondered if it was something that needed a review. The current... Sergeant... working the desk lets it sit there. Lets it sit there until it's too late to do anything about it so she can call the station and tell you the day before that your guy can't phys.

It's bull. Complete and total bull. I know and understand that MEPS is a chaotic place. There is a lot going on, for a lot of people all at once. But when something as simple as delivering paperwork to the med section doesn't happen in time it affects business. It makes the recruiter look stupid because I have to call the kid to tell him he can't phys. I am perfectly capable of making myself look stupid, I don't need MEPS to help me.

This has been a growing problem for us. This is the second time that I've had an applicant get screwed by the folks at MEPS not do what they were supposed to do. What they did with great efficiency mere months ago. Maybe my station is alone in having these issues. Maybe we're not. But oh well... my spleen has vented and I feel good.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

That's new

$1,000 for someone to join the Army. That is what current Soldiers can receive if they refer someone who joins and they graduate AIT.

I spent the morning visiting the local reserve center and putting this information out to the FTUS and getting on training schedules to put it out to the Soldier on their weekend. It's a great way for someone to triple their monthly reserve pay AND help out the Army.

I'm slightly torn though. I dislike the thought of people being paid for getting people into the Army. But civilian recruiters are paid by each contract anyway, so why not allow Soldiers to receive the same benefit. It DOES NOT apply to recruiters or retention NCOs, or anyone who receives SDAP for recruiting or retention activities.

Let me repeat clearly: This does not constitute a bounty for recruiters. We get nothing out of it but an interested lead.

I hope this will work out well, and that this next year results in lots of young Soldiers supplementing their income by putting excited men and women into boots. For you folks reading this who are currently in the Army, Reserves, or Guard, go to the link above and register. Make your local recruiter's day by referring someone to him or her. Even after 24% is taken out in taxes that $1,000 is a nice bonus.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

You hate me! You really hate me!

My apologies to Sally Field.

In my blogging time I've gotten been lucky. I've only had one person come along and be vicious in my comments and I'd never gotten any email. Well, I hadn't gotten any email because I hadn't made my address public. I did, and I've gotten a lot of great messages an they've made me very happy to have started this blog. Today though I got my very first hateful message. I've edited it a bit to keep anyone but me from swearing on my blog.

" *SCREW* you *screw* you *screw* you! I *freaking* hate you and everything you do! I hope you *freaking* die! You're scum trying to *screw* everybody! Stop lying about the *freaking* army and what it will *freaking* do to people! You *freaking* suck! DIE! DIE! DIE! DIE!"

I felt so special reading that. I'd never managed to hit someone so personally that they decided to vent their spleen in my direction. I wrote back asking what post of mine had set them off so. I'd like to know so I can refine it a bit. I'm used to seeing such vitriol on political websites. Seeing it on my little space of the world is really kinda weird. I'm by no stretch of the imagination a figure of anything in the internet world. How the heck did I manage to have someone stumble across my page, and be so offended by something I wrote, to reply in such a manner? I've had like, 8,000 visitors according to my meter. I think 1,500 of them have been me checking my own page. So, maybe 6,500 not-me people have viewed my page. Discounting repeat readers (thanks mom!) maybe 500 people have actually read my page. 1 of them was so pissed of as to wish me to die. I don't know whether to be proud, offended, hurt, or indifferent. I'm going for a combination of the proud and indifferent.

To whoever you may have been who sent me that email. Thanks. You gave me something to ponder as I drank 7-Up.

*UPDATE* When I originally posted it I had the edits in the email in greater/less than signs... and forgot those are HTML thingys so they didn't show. Made the correction so the letter reads as it was originally intended... minus profanity.

Of course

Day one and I'm already going to be ruining my month by counting chickens and unhatched eggs. My 09L looks solid still. Plenty can go wrong, but it might not. I have a HS Junior who should do something, but I'm actually hoping it takes some time so that he can drop next month when I'm missioned for a CHIS (currently in HS). However if he's ready to go I'm not going to even think the phrase "sandbag". And then I've got two PS with varying degrees of medical issues. One is a PS Marine who broke his leg something fierce and will require an ortho eval. The other is an older woman, and, well, older applicants just have too many things that can go wrong, between blood pressure, eyesight, hearing, etc to be confident that they'll pass.

So... who knows... it won't be 800 but another 2 or 3 is possible. However until they walk in with a backpack on their shoulder I've got NOTHING!

Monday, January 16, 2006

First Day

Tomorrow marks the start of the new Recruiting Month and so all my sins are washed away. Each month brings new hope. I've got four people who I think will do something useful. As of tomorrow all of them stand a chance of doing so. That is, to me at least, the essense of recruiting; the hope that everything will go right and the reality that very little will.

The difficulties in joining the Army are plentiful. Unless you are one of the very small slice of people in America who have never been pulled over, been to the doctor for anything, at your target weight, have a GED or better, and either have no dependents, or married with two or fewer children you are in some way, shape, or form ineligible for enlistment and will require, at best, additional processing for enlistment.

From that tiny sliver of the population all the people who are to support and defend the constitution of the US are drawn. It's not easy, and it's not meant to be. I guess it's why I'm here in recruiting.

Sometimes I think that "recruiting" is a bit of a misnomer. We do go out and find people, don't get me wrong. Prospecting is a huge part of my day, but I'm pretty firm in my belief that every contract is a walk-in or call-in waiting to happen. What I mean by that is, no matter how I initially meet someone who eventually joins, the person wanted to join before I met them. I just happened to meet them in line at Barnes and Noble, or call them from the college list, or get their name from a friend before they went online to find their closest recruiter. With someone like that knowledge of the Army and processing is far more important.

Maybe I'm just the worst recruiter ever and everyone else in recruiting takes people who are not interested at all and convinces them that the Army is their best choice. Maybe I'm alone in thinking that I just happen to find people at the right moment in their lives when they're ready for a change. Maybe I'll have a whole different outlook when some miracle happens and 800 people join for me next month. Maybe I'll find that my truck has been replaced with a Viper GTS.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Krispy Kreme on Tuesday

It didn't happen. My 09L didn't enlist and I'm the World's Worst Recruiter. Or I would be if SSG George didn't take two DEP losses this month.

Wasn't DQ'd, thankfully. Something else broke the process.

Turns out that the Defense Language Institute doesn't have dozens of speakers sitting around waiting for a call. So I wasn't able to get the interview done, and without the interview he can't enlist. So on Friday he'll be speaking with a Durhi (sp?) speaker and hopefully getting a 2 or better on the speaking/listening test. If so, two GAs, week one. Yay. If not, SFC B will be taken out back and shot. Boo.

Off for the weekend. Have a good one folks.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Almost threw my cell across the room this morning when it went off at 4. Taking my 09L downtown for the med section to DQ him on something. It's been a while since someone of mine was shot down for eyesight. Maybe that will happen. You'd think on the last day of the month that they'd just wave people through so that they can get done. Nope. But they will do the opposite and DQ someone for anything.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Zero to Hair-Pulling

Spent all day building a packet. All day. One of the two 09Ls passed their ECLT. The world envisions him joining tomorrow.

Here is what needs done on him:

USAREC moral waiver approved
Language Interview
Education Tier Evaluation

All on the same day. I'm not confident about it happening. Of course, if it does it means I write a 09L on the last day of the month when I spent the whole month rolling the same nut around. So, he'll probably get in tomorrow, late, so I get to spend all day waiting for him to finish up, and then on Tuesday I resume being the world's worth recruiter.

Early morning tomorrow. Should be fun.

High Demand

Holy crap. That was interesting.

Yesterday I had a couple people scheduled to take the ECLT and the ASVAB. Although there were some minor glitches, the ECLT was taken and there was much rejoicing. For some strange reason though, no one at my level or visible from my level has any clue what these two scored on the ECLT. That is kind of important information for someone going 09L. It is more important for a Middle Eastern translator to know how to comprehend English than it is for them to pass the ASVAB. I need that info, and don't know if I'll ever get it. That might be a moot point.

One of the applicants, AJ, has been in the US since he was 13. He's gone to school in the US, he works in the US, and he can read and write in English. The other applicant, Imed, can not. Although he speaks English very well, and can understand what you tell him, he is illiterate. Cannot read or write at more than a very basic, functional level. At least in English. Apparently he is literate in Kurdish. Too bad the ASVAB isn't given in Kurdish.

Anyway, when I had scheduled Imed for the ASVAB he was under the impression that it would take him 15 minutes to complete the test. My fault for not driving home the reality. Well, I guess the reality is that if you can't read the ASVAB will only take 15 minutes. Imed has been taking classes at an adult learning center and the ASVAB was going to interfere with that class tonight. I could have talked him into being late for the class, but I felt that it really is more important for him to try and learn to read and write. The Army might be hard up for translators, but I thought they'd need to at least be to kinda understand what they're signing when they enlist.

Turns out I was wrong.

Brigade wants these two in NOW. It wouldn't surprise me if I got a phone call asking why I was writing a blog post rather than putting AJ and Imed into the Army. I don't track anything above Company level. If it's a mission that's beyond the station or company, I don't know it. Apparently these two 09Ls will box the brigade for the quarter in that category. How 1/6th of the US can only be responsible for providing two translators for a 90 day period is beyond me, but if that's what I'm told that's what I'm told. I am to get these two enlisted sooner than possible.

As always Imed, the guy with no issues beyond the inability to read, isn't committed. Yet. He's got the usual assortment of worries and concerns. He also can't read, he's unemployed, and he can't get unemployment benefits. However he speaks Kurdish and Arabic-Iraqi, and damnit we need that skill. He'll make a ton of money compared to what he's earning now, and the Army will teach him how to read and write.

AJ is committed. He wants in. Wants in now. He also committed aggravated assault when he was a juvenile and requires a brigade waiver. Of... course. Trying to get a packet, ECLT, OPI, and ASVAB done in a 72 hour period is fun enough. Throwing in a serious offense waiver just makes it skippy-keen. It's not as bad as it could be though. He's 18 and has lived, worked, went to school in just two cities and they're both local.

I'm all about putting these two in. I'm on a nut and this would get me off one. If I can close out a special category at the same time all the better. Here is my issue though: I don't know if they're qualified.

Did they pass the ECLT? We at the station are assuming they did because, quite frankly, I find it hard to believe that Brigade would be calling down saying to put these two in if they didn't know that they were qualified. But I'll be pretty damned hot when I complete a serious offense waiver packet and a whole lot of processing in two days for someone who is ineligible to enlist.

Monday, January 09, 2006


I found out that the school administrator who had kicked me off of the campus is doing. She's writting a letter, that will be signed by the principal, and it will be sent to my commander explaining what I had done. There's no word that it will say I've been banned from the campus, but who knows.

My punishment is a letter from the principal. I think I'm about a decade too old to really care what a principal thinks.

Friday, January 06, 2006

And the pain keeps coming

Hope dims.

People who I'd be counting on for this month are dropping. Dropping like flies. Some are going down like flies in a zapper; cooked to a crisp, others are just missing my proverbial enlistment fly swatter. The panic sets in and I go over my prior prospects list. Some of the going over is self directed. People who I've talked with, kept in contact with, and haven't alienated yet. Check and see if any of them are ready to commit. Nothing. Although I did get a positive contact with one, but not positive enough. Some of it is directed. Follow-up with everyone. That also doesn't pan out. Yet.

I'm still at the office and I'm still plugging away. Making calls, trying, trying, trying to contact someone and see if I can get some positive momentum.

I'm not hopeless though. Thanks to some creative prospecting I've managed to tap a vein of Arab language speakers. So far they've all been pretty committed and next week will tell the tale. If they take the ASVAB and ECLT and do well enough they'll join. But they're not flawless. One is an Iraqi, one is from Afghanistan. English is not their first language. Reading English is even less a strength. Oh well. As long as they can speak and understand English and their target language it can be dealt with.

The Translator Aide program may be my salvation. Each one of these guys could be worth 2 GAs. I'm counting my chickens too soon so I need to shut-up about it. No Recruiting Gods. I don't have any prospects. Nope. Not me. Go screw with SSG George. He still has a projection. Make her snort coke. This I pray of you of mighty Recruiting Gods.

Back to the grindstone.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Goin's on

2006 isn't off to a good start. Deep on a zero. I do have some hope, but it's faint and requires some decisions beyond my control to go my way. Oh well. It's not like I can be sent to Room 101. I read 1984 last night so I'm afraid there are going to be some references to it in the coming days. Sorry in advance.

Yesterday myself and my Reserve partner SGT Web got kicked out of one of our local high schools. Turns out that the New Year marked the beginning of a New Policy at Trademark Infringement High. Visitors must have made prior arrangements to visit the school. Prior to, apparently, yesterday it was perfectly acceptable for a recruiter to come onto the campus, check in at the front desk, and go visit the JROTC office. That was our plan. As the saying goes no plan survives contact with the enemy. Our enemy was a plum-shaped human-like creature who informed us that, without prior arrangements, our presence at the school was forbidden.

This wasn't an official visit. We weren't there for a class presentation or anything. We were coming in to check the RPI rack and leave some business cards. It's something I've done many times before. SGT Web and I thanked her for her time and told her we'd be back some other time when we had made the proper arrangements. SGT Web was supposed to go to the school on Friday with SSG Griffin anyway so it wasn't a huge loss on our part.

10 steps after leaving the office we ran into the NCO in charge of the JROTC class. He was taking the second year class out to the football field to do some D&C practice. A nice guy, I've met with him before, and we told him the situation. He said he'd go to the office and square us away and said we could just go back and see the JROTC commander. Silly SGT Web and I foolishly listened to a retired Navy senior NCO who we respect and did as he said. Stupid us, listening to the teacher of the class we wanted to see rather than the administrative wonk who was bitter that we interrupted her consuming of coffee and Red Vines.

I'm going to go ahead and concede some points here. We were in the wrong. The admin wonk had said we couldn't go back w/o the prior approval. I, mistakenly, thought that seeing the instructor we would have had to call to make arrangements would suffice for the school's "prior approval" policy. It would not have been an issue for Web and I to go w/ the NCOIC to the office and make sure everything was alright. We did not, and so we were in the wrong. Prior to yesterday this school had never had a problem with recruiters. We signed in, visited the class, student, teacher, or whoever we were supposed to and the world was good.

Web and I met with the commander of the JROTC and we talked for a couple minutes. We mentioned the event at the front desk and he seemed a bit amused. Remarked that it's been like that since they fixed a gate at the parking lot that gave them the power to prevent people from entering the campus. He told us all we'd have to do in the future is call him and let him know were we on our way so he could let the front desk know. No biggie. We thanked him for his time, and went to check the rack when it happened.

As I was walking to the rack this small, skinny woman with mousy brown hair and a taped knee stormed in and screeched for us to leave. We had violated their rules and, as such, were not welcome on the campus. We had been told our presence wasn't permitted, ignored the rule, and went back to the class anyway. I'd already admitted such a mistake. She was grandstanding and that was what pissed me off.

It's a significant event for a recruiter when a high school changes their access policies. Usually there is a meeting where such changes are announced so all services are aware of the change and we don't make mistakes like Web and I just made. No such thing had occurred. This was a change out of the blue. For all I know it is a change they made as we walked through the door. However, standing in front of the ROTC commander, when we're in the wrong, wasn't the time to argue with someone who can work to have the Army barred from the school. I kept my gut in check, apologized for the misunderstanding and we left the school by the shortest route possible.

It's not an unreasonable policy. I have no problem calling the school while I'm getting into the car and letting them know I'm coming for a quick visit. The problem I had was how out-of-the-blue it was. This is the only school in the area which, now, has such a policy. Every other school I've been to only requires that recruiters check in when arriving on campus. Just like every other visitor. This isn't a district policy. This isn't even a policy that's been formally put out for the services from the school.

Anyway, gotta get to work. Need to get myself off the nut because I'm holding back progress. First time being kicked off a campus. Hope it will be the last, but you never know.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Rezolooshun and Farewell

Mrs. SFC B asked me what my resolutions for the new year were. Told her I didn't have any and she scoffed. Yup, actually made a scoffing noise. So I spent a couple minutes and thought I'd share.

I resolve that next year I'll have my resolutions done before the end of New Year's Day.

I resolve to try and be a better husband by not being as painfully oblivious as I can be. And I'll stop putting so much trash on top of the trash can instead of pressing the pedal and lifting the lid.

I resolve to never, ever let anyone touch my motorcycle.

I resolve to let Oreos live through the week.

I resolve that I'm going to get a handle on the high schools in the company.

I resolve that I'll get ANCOC out of the way this year so maybe, MAYBE I can get selected for E8 and get out of recruiting early.

Today a fixture in the recruiting station left for snowier pastures. SSG Rage served his four years and has been set free. Although we didn't always agree on everything I learned a great deal from him. Some of it is even related to recruiting. He's off to Kansas to enjoy the snow until they ship him off for Iraq. Mrs. SFC B and I want to wish Rage has his family the best of luck. I'm sure the senior class from his high school will miss the weekly phone calls from Rage telling them that they're stupid and gay.