Sunday, May 28, 2006

A reprieve and some memories

It's the Memorial Day weekend. Better writers than I will be posting their thoughts and feelings on the signifigance of the day.

In the recruiting world it means I have a three day weekend. It's a weekend that is bittersweet though. A young man walked into the office late on a Wednesday night. If I'd done what most everyone else does I wouldn't have been in the office, I'd have been home. But I was in the office with SGT Curtain and this man walks in and asks to speak with someone about the Reserves. I'd been at a golf tourny that day (it was work-related, one of our high schools have an end-of-year tourny for the teachers and the JROTC NCOIC invited the Army to attend) and was still in my shorts and polo. I was busy making some corrections to my 09L applicant's record, but I'm never too busy to talk to a walk-in.

We make some small talk, he's the assistant manager at one of the many lube shops in the area, and he just got his GED last month. He was tired of not doing much with his life, wants to get his certification from UTI, and his brother is in the Reserves in Indiana and always told him how much he liked it. This man, Mr. Lube for lack of a more creative pseudonym, had done some research online, saw we had a light-wheeled vehicle mechanic job, and wants to do that. His days off are Monday and Wednesday.

This is where the bittersweet comes in.

This Wednesday he's going to his grandfather's ranch to help them prepare for a rodeo this weekend. Monday he'd be free, and on Monday we can do a full process, test, phys, enlist. Monday is a holiday. I'm thrilled to have the day off, but at the same time if it was a work day, well, I could have a contract. And there is a value to a contract, even a GED. Oh well.

Memories from my childhood are fuzzy. A lot of time has passed, a lot of things have happened, and I'm not sure what is what. My father was a Marine in Vietnam. He was an artilleryman. He was a lucky one in that he came home in decent shape, physically and mentally. He died at about the same time in my life when I'd have become curious about what he did in the war so I never got the chance to ask. I know he shared a good bit with his brothers, my uncles, but I've never gotten up the courage to ask them about it. However, I do remember him spending a lot of time with his fellow veterans. Some of them men who hadn't been as lucky and came home with the sort of scars no one sees.

I remember one of them in particular. I can sing the Mr. Ed theme song, but I cannot remember this man's name. He was about six feet tall, always had a scruffy beard, wore frayed blue jeans, aviator sunglasses, and sometimes wore an OD green field jacket. He drove a truck with a large camper, and I remember thinking how cool it must have been to be able to live out of your truck. It would be like camping every day and that sort of thing is neat to a 10 year old. Or, well, it was neat to a 10 year old before the introduction of the NES.

This man and my dad would usually go out and sometimes they'd bring me with them. We once went to this mom and pop pizza place a couple towns over where I had my first thin crust pizza. I didn't like it much because it was too hot and is was weird not having a crust to hold on to. I also remember a time when he, my father, and I were driving down the mountain from our house to town and he drove the truck into the center median to knock over some road cones that had been set up because of some construction.

I'm telling this story because, well, I've forgotten. I don't know what became of this man. My family moved to Texas, my father died, and the stories have been lost. I don't know what ever became of the scruffy vet living in a camper. I do know he'd go to the VA hospital and spent a lot of time at the local VFW. He was rarely without a beer and I remember having to kick a can from my feet when we drove down that mountain. It's a memory made fuzzy by the passage of time and an incomplete history. I'm not even sure how much of it is something I remember and how much is just something I thought up to fill in some blanks. I like to think of my father as someone who would try and help those he served with who weren't as lucky.

I've been to The Wall once. I can't even recall the reason, but it had to have been for a holiday. Memorial Day or Veteran's Day. Probably Memorial Day because it was warm and sunny in DC. My father, mother, sister, and I all joined a group of the veterans from the VFW (probably) for a bus ride to the capital. It was a good time. Beer for the adults, soda for the kids, lots of people talking, laughing, and reminising. We get to the capital and mom, sis, and I go for the tour. Lincoln Memorail, Washinton Monument, and all the other sights of the Mall. We join my father and make a trip to The Wall.

It was huge and beautiful. A line of sheer black with the names of the lost etched forever. It dwarfed my father who simply walked slowly, looking for those who didn't come back. I remember him placing his hand on the wall and hanging his head. I didn't really stay close. I was a child and the enormity of what I was looking at was lost on me. We were there for a while before the call of food beckoned us back to the camp we'd established at a park. Night fell and everyone went back to the wall for a candlelight vigil. Candles with cups were passed out, men in partial uniforms with their patches and walked through the crowd. Men hugged, cried, and shared the memories of those lost so they wouldn't be forgotten. There were speakers. More tears, and a late bus ride home. A bus ride I best remember because of a drunken (I wasn't the drunken one) dare for me to pinch the butt of one of the girlfriends of the people we rode with. The things a mind can retain.

The number of men who fought for our country is dwindling. The veterans from WWI are so few as to be listed by name on Wikipedia. Over 3 million veterans of WWII and Korea remain, as do 8 million Vietnam Veterans, and 3 million Gulf War veterans. With Americans again fighting and dying so those who don't don't have to, this Memorial Day is a time, as all those before, to remember those who never made it home. The death of a Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine is a loss to all who loved them. Their family, friends, and those who served with them, and were there when they passed, and the country as a whole are made poorer by the loss of the men who's names are carved into small memorials across Europe, placed on a field of crosses on the coast of France by the English Channel, who are represented by line of metal men in ponchos, and by the long, black wall. Some day those who fought and died in the sands of Kuwait and Iraq will be added to the tourist trek in DC. Until that day though the minds of those who knew them must represent the memorial.

Tomorrow, Monday, will be the day most will have to make those personal moments of rememberance. Many won't. Many will take advantage of the day off to get work done around the house. To enjoy time spent away from the grind and with friends and family Some won't get the time off because the store has to remain open. Some will go to that bronze marker and leave a flag and flowers. Me? Mrs. SFC B and I will be making a trip to Tombstone to do the mandatory Arizona tourist thing. But I do ask that sometime tomorrow take the time. Find a charity to give a couple bucks to. Call that uncle who was a MP just to say "hello" and let him know you thought of him. In a world where only 1 in 150 is currently serving the threat to be forgotten is too present. Little things do count.

Anyways, enough of my drivel. Hope everyone has had a great weekend and that it continues tomorrow as well.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wealthy and wise

Today marks the third morning in a row I'm up before the sun to work with one applicant. The 09L I'd mentioned here, as well as in several entries I never finished, has been something of a pain. He's had to go downtown repeatedly for processing, each of several steps having to be completed by itself, and unable to combine the steps and kill two birds with one stone. It's been frustrating for the both of us because there's been the usual assortment of errors and mistakes on all three parties involved: the applicant, myself, and MEPS.

Today is the rubber-meets-the-road day though. Testing is done and hopefully he'll be in today. Fingers crossed.

*UPDATE* He didn't join on Thursday, but he did sign his contract today. The Reserves has now covered their end and we're working to make-up shortfalls from the rest of the year.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What reason?

Well, it seems that the Jesse MacBeth story has ground to a screaching halt. He's been exposed as a fraud and a repeating criminal with arrest warrants in two states. The point I'd raised yesterday was proven valid when Army spokesman John Boyce stated that there was no record that Mr. MacBeth had ever been in the Army, or at least with SF or the Rangers.

I know that one shouldn't attribute to malice what one can easily attribute to stupidity, but is it possible that this was just a bit of a scouting action? What possible reason could there have been for such an obvious fake? Pictures of Rangers and SF litter the internet. It shouldn't have been difficult for someone interested in committing such fraud to have at least dressed better. Is it really that unreasonable to consider that maybe MacBeth was a sacrifice to see what would happen? If I were of the mind to commit a fraud to discredit the Army, the military, Bush, America, whatever, and I was looking for what I'd need to do to make it believable, I'd go straight to here and work my way back, making notes not to do what they did. Things like "uniform is important," and "don't use someone with a criminal background," and "timeline, timeline, timeline." Maybe I've spent too much time reading The DaVinci Code reviews and I'm just in too much of a conspiracy mind.

This wasn't the most elaborate fraud ever committed, but it's still pretty amazing that within about 12 hours a person can go from being the darling of the Anti crowd to having the Anti crowd link to Blackfive and Hot Air, among others on the Democratic Underground webpage to refute the man they'd been hailing as a hero speaking truth to power not a day before. It is a testament to just how quickly and readily information is available, and how dangerous it is for someone to try and lie in a world where your Tacoma court record is available online.

I've talked before about how, as a recruiter, there is little incentive to lie to a prospect or applicant. I'd be lying if I said there was no incentive, but that small gain is easily offset by the loss when you no longer have the person's trust, and you never know who else that person may no. This is a lesson which seems to be something that the Antis need to learn.

This whole MacBeth fiasco is so fake. There is no way that MacBeth seriously thought he could get away with it. His story was so outrageous, his appearance so beyond the pale, and his history with the press frequent enough to make telling a consistent lie difficult. The producer who recorded, edited, and published this tripe is just as guilty. The producer of the original video obviously didn't verify the claims that MacBeth made. Keeping within the world created by MacBeth such verification would be impossible because everything was covered up. However the producer appears to have made no effort to verify that MacBeth was ever in the service. A simple ID check, DD4, DD214, or any other official documents would have, I'd think, be sufficient to at least verify he'd joined the Army. Either the producer is the most trusting soul on Earth, or he's complicit in the fraud and slander.

Monday, May 22, 2006

My contribution

There's been another apparent fraud found impersonating a Ranger. Far better bloggers than myself are all over it. However, I did have a little thing to add. It's pretty clear that this guy isn't a Ranger, but was he even ever in the Army? As Allah pointed out anyone can make a profile on, but this guy's took the cake. So I figured I'd go look where it's a lot harder to fake the funk.

He's not on Army Knowledge Online. It doesn't mean he's never had an account, but for how old he is, and how long he served, he really should still have a user name for AKO. It's a requirement for anyone in the Army, and it has been for a few years now.

I only searched for a couple of different spellings of his name, there seems to be some disagreement about what it is, but it seems to me that this guy has done worse than just lie about being an elite like the Ranger. He mighthave lied about ever putting on the boots.

Searching for Jess MacBeth:

And searching for Jess McBeth:

AKO Allows you to search for a specific name, or a name that contains particular letters. Since Jessie and Jesse both contain "Jess" I went with that to save the trouble of four different searches. Regardless, it doesn't change the results.

Who do I need to email to get this guy charged with fraud?

*UPDATE* Originally I'd linked to a hosted version of the AKO screenshots but I got them embedded into the post now. I just prefer how it looks. I also added the explaination about just searching for "Jess".

*UPDATE 2* Thanks all you kind visitors from Hot Air and Allahpundit. Never had a 'lanche of any type before. The ego is well-stroked.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Lazing continues

Sundays are always a mixed blessing. Every minute is a blissful, recruiting-free minute. But at the same time each minute is one less I have to enjoy until the pain renews on Monday. It's the afternoon now, the sun is preparing to set. Sunsets in Arizona are a special thing. Something that should be experienced. Phoenix isn't as special, the pollution in the valley clouds the sensation, but when travelling north, as I'm prone to do, it is a visceral sensation.

The day has been a slow one. I like my Sundays slow and relaxed. It doesn't mean I don't want to do anything (although that is sometimes the case) it's that I don't want to be rushed while doing it. After reading the paper, blogs, and the comics on my favorites list a trip to the gym was in order. Following the gym induced fatigue a shower was in order and that always feels good. There are few more simple pleasures than a relaxing shower after a good work out. Endorphins are my friend.

One of those simple pleasures for me lately has been watching Sin City. Despite some calls that it's not a good movie, I like it. I like the disjointed plot and the stylized enviroment. It has a level of violence that, if done in normal filming, would have earned it a NC-17. Now, seeing the ass of a woman who had her hand cut off makes me feel a bit conflicted inside, but it's still a good movie.

And in keeping with my theme from yesterday of music I'm enjoying, Remember Me (warning, big download) by Steve Dobrogosz is a work of art. I like it when smart people point me to good things.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Lazing about

The company had some of our mandatory training on Friday. It was some useful stuff. I came away from training learning how important it was to penetrate the female high school senior market, that the proper way to respond to someone threatening to kill themselves isn't a rifle and some privacy, and that "being an ass" and "ass-ocity" are recognized psychological terms and diagnosises (diagnosi? diagnosis'?).

One of the things that anyone in the Army can be guaranteed is that they will have hundreds of hours of their career absorbed by mantatory training not related to their actual jobs of being a Soldier or whatever their MOS is. Sexual Harassment, Equal Opportunity, Homosexual Policy, Suicide Prevention and Awareness, Domestic Abuse Awareness, Child Abuse Awareness, Enviromental Awareness, and whatever else comes down the pipe remain training distractors that frustrate leaders and Soldiers alike. Throw in the annual race and ethnic mandatory-fun celebrations and you can usually count a day involving these briefings and events as a wash.

My frustration with briefings and training such as these isn't with the briefing and training itself. Leaders need to be able to spot the various warning signs, and not everyone is adept at spotting them. A Soldier killing themself is a horrible tragedy affecting their family, friends, and comrades. And on a very practical level it's one less Soldier available for the fight. If the difference between losing one Soldier to their own weapon and having them available is an hour briefing, well, then, fire up the projector and let me see some slides. It's just very difficult to concentrate on a briefing you've gotten once a year for the past 11 years when you have work that needs done. Oh well, the block has been checked and I won't respond to someone saying "I want to kill myself," with "Well, you probably should, no one likes you anyway," like I'd planned to before the briefing.

It's Saturday and the sun is turning the Valley of the Sun into a hot, hard-baked oven. No matter how bad it is though I just remember "You don't have to shovel sunshine."

There is currently a ball of dough hopefully rising in the fridge right now. I'm trying Alton Brown's homemade pizza dough receipe. It took a couple tries to adjust to not having (not being allowed to purchase) the indgredients AB calls for. However I finally got the dough to the point when it windowpaned and I'm letting the yeast do its thing. I'll keep the six people who read me (Hi Mom!) updated on how it goes. I'll be rolling out to Home Depot to try and find some unfired brick tiles to make a brick oven out of my conventional oven.

In the interest in showing just how dorky I am I figured I'd share what's currently on the top 25 playlist on the on iPod.

Beast and the Harlot/ Avenged Sevenfold
Vitamin R/ Chevelle
Vindicated/ Dashboard Confessional
What was I thinking?/ Dierks Bentley
Live This Life/ Big and Rich
Lost and Found/ Brooks and Dunn
The Red/ Chevelle
On the Roof Again/ Eve6
Tessie/ Dropkick Murphys
When Worlds Collide/ Powerman 5000
Beer!!!!!/ Psychostick
Remedy/ Seether
America, *uc* Yeah!/ Team America World Police Soundtrack
Move/ Thousand Foot Krutch
Prison Sex/ Tool
Sweet Emotion/ Aerosmith
Crazy Bitch/ Buckcherry
Dance, Dance/ Fall Out Boy
I Hate Everything/ George Strait
West Texas Moon/ Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers
Nobody/ Skindred
Drop it Like it's Hot/ Snoop Dogg
Promise/ Eve6
Hurt/ Johnny Cash
Lips of an Angel/ Hinder

And yes, for those curious, I'm just trying to come up with stuff to fill the space. I figured a 25 item list would do well.

Welcome home Jack Army. Glad to hear it was some productive work out in the lovely, temperate NTC. Missed your wisdom and guidance.


The pizza came out pretty good. The dough was very crisp and light, but I made a small pizza but it came with enough crust for a large. Long story short, less crust, more pizza next time.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


The usual suspects will soon be bemoaning the degrading of the quality of the Army again. I received a message today that CAT IVs, the lowest allowable enlistment category, people who score under a 31 on the ASVAB, will be allowed to join the Army again. This is, of course, a symptom of the over use of the Army, and a sign that Bush's policies are trash. Or not.

In order for a station to be allowed to write a CAT4 they must meet their assigned GA mission. For every GA they enlist beyond their requirement they'll be allowed to enlist 1 CAT4. This is for the RA only, the AR won't be allowed to write any CAT4s. So, basically, a station that is required to write 3 GAs (A GA is a HS Grad with a 50+ on the ASVAB) will be allowed to write one CAT4 if they enlist 4 GAs.

When a news/opinion piece talks about the lowering of the standards this is what they're referring to. The number of CAT4s being enlisting is miniscule. Only stations that have already made a contribution of quality enlistments will be allowed to contribute a CAT4. And these enlistments must ship soon, and they'll be enlisting into the lower skill jobs available. It's not like a CAT4 is going to be an x-ray technician or EOD. They might qualify for laundry and textile. So please, those who are not in the recruiting world, when the inevitable claims of a lowering of standards come blaring out, remember, this is going to represent a slim, slim portion of all enlistments. And it's probably an effort to make sure that training seats don't go unfilled and are thus wasted. If forced to choose between wasting assets by not training someone, or training someone who might be a rock with lips, I'd prefer to see a rock. But that's just me.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Very early in my tour in recruiting, even prior to be beginning this blog, I'd enlisted a HS Senior. Well, that senior is now approaching his ship date and hell is unleashing. He dropped out of school and went underground. Family moved, cell phone was cut off, number changed, so on and so on. Kinda figured he was going to be a loss. Although I dislike taking losses, losing a SB doesn't get my panties in a wad like an OCS, 09L, or Alpha loss would. Last week he reestablishes contact with me. He still wants to ship and all that. But of course he hadn't gotten his GED over the past time.

Luckily there is a school in the area who is willing to administer a GED exam to walk-ins and he can get the results back in time to ship. Unluckily to administer the GED he requires two forms of ID, government issued, not a school ID or work ID. Of course he doesn't have a driver's license or ID card. Getting such items isn't difficult though, a trip to the MVD with his birth certificate and he'll get it in about half an hour. Of course he doesn't have his birth certificate anymore. It was lost when they moved. I enter Catch-22 territory when it becomes apparent that he needs to ID to get his birth certificate from Vital Records, and he needs his birth certificate to get his ID. I surrender and finally convince his mom join us at vital records since she can get it. Needless to say this morning sucked.

He's able to get his ID now, but whether he'll be able to take the GED today remains a mystery. If he doesn't get it done today it'll happen tomorrow. Just painful.

It's a triple treat of frustrations. First it's frustrating that he'd dropped out. It wasn't something he even told me about. His counselor had given me a call about a week after the fact because she'd remembered I'd asked for updates on his progress. I'd talked to him a couple times after he'd dropped out, but before I'd found out, and he never mentioned it. This was a while ago so it's something I'd have been able to help with. Secondly it's frustrating because it's a day spent chauffering someone to and from government agencies. That's never fun. Lastly it's frustrating because it reminds me I could have done better. I hate failure.

I accept failure as an inevitible result of trying. When it happens it happens and all someone can do is learn from it to do better. I would like to think I've done a better job with my future Soldiers since this young man. My two current high school future soldiers are frequently calling and coming into the office. It's a good thing. But it took me jacking up with the one kid to learn those lessons. But although I accept failure as inevitable, I don't like it and work to avoid the mistakes that led to failure. This leads, perversly, to my habit of finding new and creative ways to screw things up.

Oh well, it appears that things will work out, but it will be close. He got his birth certificate and his ID and tomorrow he'll take the GED. Two weeks to get the results back will put him right on his ship date. It'll be close but it should work.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

At the top

The new month begins on Tuesday. In keeping with my thought to have my production put out for peer review, I figured I'd go over what I'm currently working.

My senior from last week is still a possible. His mother has become a pretty serious obstacle. I jacked it up, no doubt about it, but she's one of those prior service folks that Station Commando had mentioned before, she also has that protective parent thing going on. Thanks for making this post shorter than I'd planned SC. It's always possible that sometime in the future his mom will wise up and realize that her boy isn't going to be graduating valedictorian from Harvard Med. I don't think too many SBs go on to glorious careers as top flight surgeons.

I've got a prior service going OCS who will be wrapped up and ready for the board this week. If he gets selected next week he'll be a good for an OCS enlistment. Which is a very, very good thing.

On the prior service front, one of the PS I'd made last week is ready to go. Some med docs need to be gathered and submitted for a review, but it shouldn't be a huge issue. Although it does mean it won't be good for week one.

However, a bit of decent follow-up has set me up for maybe an awesome week one contract. The 09L I'd enlisted a while ago has a cousin who's ready to go. He's in town from LA to see his mom in PHX and I'll be seeing him tomorrow to get the process started. Good on law and med, and he's ready to go. Just, well, need to make it happen, which between ASVAB, PHYS, ECLT, OPI, and actually enlisting might take some work. Oh well, it's not like I have anything else to do.

Hope everyone had a good Mother's Day. If you're a mom, thanks. If you're not, you'd better have called yours. Astros won, 3-0 on a Petitte shut-out.

Most Wonderful

Today is, of course, Mother's Day. A recent study I'd heard about on the radio said that 47% of women thought that Mother's Day was a more important holiday that Christmas. Yes folks, a sizable minority of people think our moms are more deserving of recognition than Christ. In the spirit of that I'll maintain my life-long commitment to being late and forgetful.

I'm not someone who is very good at expressing how they feel. What I think isn't a problem. Hell, I have a whole blog devoted to expressing what I think. However what I feel is something I keep to myself. The way any good, proud man does. Keep it buried, deep inside, pushing all emotion down into the belly until it forms an ulcer. Don't look at me like that, it's healthy. So, anyways, here goes something.

Thank you mom. Thanks for handling one of the tougher jobs on Earth and handling it so very well. I won't put raising me on the same plane as performing brain surgery, but I'm pretty sure that a brain surgeron would rather cut open a skull than have to have been a parent to me. Thanks for always being there, and supporting me despite some moments of supreme stupidity. Thanks for taking on both roles and doing them better than most people handle one. I deal daily with people who don't have a parent who cares. I often chafed at the concern you'd show for me, enforcing curfews asking questions about where I've been, who I went with, etc etc, but it's something I'm thankful for now.

Anyways, Astros are on soon and my brain has tired out. Thank mom and Happy Mother's Day. I loves ya moms.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Comings and Goings on

I'm sure that Station Commando's frustration at the lack of responses to his poll led to the death of many innocent Jawas. As an aside, if there a Star Wars critter you'd more want to torture than a Jawa? Jar-Jar notwithstanding. Oh, and just to stoke your fires more SC, I was one of the five hippies.

Over at Politics of a Patriot the future of the Marine Corps clues us in to an excellent addition to a Soldier's equipment. It's triple digits here in the Valley of the Sun so I can appreciate the value of something which can lower body temp. Of course I keep myself cool by driving the GOV with the windows up and the A/C on 5. HMMWVs don't have that luxury though.

The Astros finally ended their 6 game skid. It's going to make it slightly harder for me to collect from SSG Rage now. Of course, it was going to be very hard since he'll probably be in Iraq cursing the plethora of CAT IVs I'm trying to enlist so they'll be in his platoon.

It's a sign of my total dorkitude that I know exactly what Brian is talking about when he has Black Mage being frustrated by the locals. I'm pretty sure that such annoyance will be met with a vicious and murderous Hadoken. Killing innocents is fun.

It hasn't been a good week for me. Self inflicted damage, both professional and personal, keeps happening. Oh well, the pain makes one feel alive at least. Have a good weekend folks.


Made a slight change I'd been meaning to do. Added Jon of Just my opinion to the lil blog roll. I actually like the thought of my Future Soldiers blogging. I'm curious how the recruiters of these blogging recruits feel though.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Other people's brilliance

Today I'm stealing other people's work and using it to create content for myself.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


So far this week it looks like I'm going to keep spinning my wheels. The guy I jacked up on Monday is still not doing anything. In the spirit of the recruiting gods though I keep plugging on, building up the bank of prospects that will be used to bludgeon me. It's like making the condemned dig their own grave. So far this week I've made a grad, a senior, two prior service, and a CHIS. The grad and senior have been conducted. The former won't be doing anything. He's in the middle of a custody fight which is going to keep him from doing anything. He won't join the Army while fighting for custody, and if he wins he won't be able to join because he'll be a single parent. The senior will be joining. However, he'll be joining the Regular Army. He just wasn't interested in what the Reserve had to offer. Although his mom had hoped he'd go to college after he graduates, he has no interest in that. He wants to be in the military, and he wants to do the high speed stuff: SF, Ranger, Airborne, etc. Good on him, and as long as he's in boots I'm not too picky about who puts him in.

Today should be a busy day for me with three appointments scheduled. Both of the PS sounded pretty decent. One has been out for a while and came into the office on a whim, wanted to see what was available, and if he could get into a mechanic position. The other has been in the Guard for 8 years and is still a CPL. He's tired of the lack of promotion and seeing guys he knew from when he first enlisted getting a rocker because they transferred to the Reserve four years ago. Of course I can't guarantee promotion, and his quality as a Soldier is something I just don't know, only spoke w/ him on the phone, so how likely it is for him to earn a promotion isn't know, but I do know that if he wants it, and he's qualified, it will happen. The CHIS is about to become a senior. School ends in three weeks so he probably won't be doing the alternate training program if he wants to join; too close to the end of the year. Which sucks because if he wants to enlist I'll have to wait until June to do it because he can't be in the FS program for more than a year. Oh well, I'll still need a contract next month.

I kinda figured I'd start putting more info about my recruiting activities out there. Maybe something like an online AAR. I won't be able to give detailed info about the prospects of course, but relaying some of my observations for comment might bring about some suggestions that I can use. Something I can try with the prospect, or future prospects, or maybe something I might be missing. I do talk about appointments in the station, and that's usually a good thing. Getting more help and feedback might be a gooder thing.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Back to basics

My little cluster**** today reminded me I still have a lot to learn, and have a lot of mistakes I can make. I've been getting complacent and relaxed, relying on fortune to find me rather than beating the bushes. It's going to come back and bite me hard. Fate is lining up its pointy teeth and preparing to add another scar to my ample, leathery ass.

Going for two

Took the kid from last week down to join today. His waiver was approved Firday so he was walked on today. As always, until they walk in with a bag on their shoulder they're not in. And I'm not able to enjoy the enlistment until they ship out without a problem. If he gets in without a problem that will give me two, and give the station three for four. SGT W^3 has a couple people lined up, so if one of them can drop this week it will close the reserve out for the month.

Next month should be interesting. I'm working on an OCS enlistment. First one who was serious about doing it. Other folks I'd talked to about it were more interested in just making more money, not actually leading Soldiers. I will have the packet done this week, and barring the usual interference from the Recruiting Gods, he'll be in by the end of the calendar month. Of course, by saying that he's now doomed. Oh well, it's been a while since the Recruiting Gods made me tithe.


And I'm now tithing. QNE. And an upset mother. I'd gotten too complacent and didn't explain myself well enough. Too relaxed and over confident and it's costing me now. Pride goeth before the fall and all that.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The spectrum

My recruiting activities of the last week have run the full spectrum of good, bad, useful, stupid, and a little painful thrown in.

On Monday I had a kid finish the phys and submitted the waiver on him. Luckily it was merely a battalion level waiver and it has since come back approved. He goes down tomorrow morning to join. On Friday I had an appointment with a guy who really wanted a job. He's doing the "going nowhere" thing at Wally World and looking for something better. I sit him down on the EST and 30 minutes later he's got an 11. My SOP for that is a March to Success brochure and my well-wishes on their future. I did follow that portion of the SOP, but there were a couple of other factors at work here. One, it was Friday. Two, the kid had this massive iron cross tattoo with the script one usually sees on white power tattoos. He had another tat which had "NA" and his initials and a date. I asked him about that one. "Oh, those are my initials, and the day I entered Narcotics Anonymous". Grrrrreat. I drilled him a couple minutes about getting busted, he swears he didn't. The online court checks backed it up. Guess he was one of the lucky ones who got help before help was forced on him.

I'm happy that he's been clean for four years now, but the fact remained he got an 11 on the EST. He's also a recovered drug addict and graduated from a school that is likely to be tier II. Not exactly a candidate for a massive turn-around in ASVAB scores. He even said he'd taken the ASVAB in high school and failed it pretty badly. He's less than thrilled with my very business-focused attitude. He feels that his willingness to join should offset his inability to display the necessary aptitude to join, and the likelihood that his past drug addiction and possible racist affiliations will further prevent him from serving. I point out to him that he's failed the test before, and nothing I've seen shows that he's likely to change that if he takes it again. All his excuses about being tired, working all night, etc don't change that fact that if he doubles his EST score on the ASVAB he's still only 60% of the way to displaying the necessary aptitude. I walk out to my GOV as he spews an angry stream of profanity in my general direction.

Yesterday though, life took a turn for the stupider. The Glendale High School Alumni Association had a little homecoming function featuring a 3 on 3 basketball tourny and a car show. As well as static displays from local organizations. My station was tasked to provide the rock wall and a HMMWV. I'm a Soldier. I know that my time is not my own. I also know that as a recruiter putting a good face on the Army is part of my job description. Something like this Homecoming was a community event where we're basically supposed to smile and be happy people; glad to be a part of the community. I can do that.

We set up the rock wall at 8am. This is after waking at 5:30am, driving to Luke AFB, getting the vehicles, etc etc. The first person to scale the wall went up at 9:30am. The next person to go up went at 12:30. Although the schedule had the 3 on 3 tourny starting at 9, the rest of the event wasn't kicking off until 2. It seems that whoever gave the services (the Air Force and the Marines both arrived wicked early as well) their start times had no idea what this event was going to be like.

The majority of the recruiters in the station, including two HRAPs and a Future Soldier spent the majority of the morning and early afternoon cowering from the abusive Arizona sun under a tent. During this time we spoke to few people, not because we didn't want to, but because no one was there. I didn't expect this to be some wealth of enlistments. People in the target age group have better things to do than walk around a school parking lot jumping in bouncy tents and looking at a monster truck. However, we were unable to even be a decent emissary of the Army to the local community because the event planners acted like we weren't even there. The maps of the grounds, including locations of all vendors and events, didn't mention the military, let alone the Army. The list of people and organizations the planners wanted to thank made no mention either.

I'm venting. My head got set on fire by the sun. I know there was no malice intended by the planners. They didn't realize that if they tell the Army that they can set up at 8, the Army will be there at 8. Lesson learned. Next year we'll be there at 2.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Consolidation Redux

Earlier I'd mentioned a desire to share some information with other recruiters. Well, I don't know how well this will work, but I just finished creating a Knowledge Network on AKO.

There is a good deal of recruiting-related content on AKO, but it looks like it's all stuff done spur-of-the-moment with little to no follow-up. I doubt my piddly effort would accomplish much beyond what's currently out there. But I'll give it a shot.

For any recruiters out there reading it's titled "Recruiting Support" and I've got a handful of write-offs available for download.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Help needed

Got a message from Mrs. Greyhawk this morning. Greg Anton from Greg's Notes is an OIF veteran who is now in a far more dangerous fight w/ cancer. He and his family can use the well wishes and prayers of those of us out here. His wife Sheryl has asked for cards, flowers, whatever to be sent to his room. The address can be found here.

Sorry I haven't been writing much lately. I've been very busy ruining everything good in my life.

Monday, May 01, 2006


It's 4am as I start this. I've got a senior going downtown this morning for the phys. He's a possession waiver so, well, he's probably not joining this week, but looking good for next week. He's young and has been local for the past few years. Heck, he's lived, worked, and went to school in the same city since 2002. This is not going to be a difficult waiver to process. Well, barring the likely "other charges he failed to mention" problem that is far too common that is. We'll see what Maricopa County Juvenile has to say.

As I was preparing this waiver I did some reminising about waivers past. Something which I always thought would make this process slightly easier was a consolidated write-off. For those not in recruiting a write-off/stroker is a police or court check which you're not required to do because the agency in question either does not release, or charges a fee to release, information. The applicant is still required to reveal any and all charges they have in those jurisdictions, but their recruiter won't find out if they're being honest until the ENTNAC check comes back.

There does not seem to be any sort of consolidated list of agencies that do not release. Heck, in my little slice of recruiting it seems that getting the brigade list is something that borders on the impossible. I hear rumors of it existing, even as local as the battalion, but there seems to be some sort of barrier preventing if from entering my station.

So, here was my idea. I have my own write-off, as well as the write-off for a couple of other areas. I figured I'd scan them in, and post them online. For the two recruiters who read me, maybe these will be useful at some point. Of course we'll still have to call the appropriate stations to verify the write-off is still valid, but at least it's a starting point. I debated doing a knowledge network or forum on AKO to get these out there as well, but I don't know if there is already some sort of recruiter network on AKO. Any info on that would be appreciated.

Anyway, kid called to say he's running late. Forgot something. I didn't press because it probably meant he forgot to wear something he's required to for the phys. I'm usually much happier not knowing that my applicants go commando.