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.


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