Recruiting service adds enlistment development opportunity for Airmen

Prior-service recruiting

Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Zwelling, AFRC RS manager, talks to a group of individual ready reserve members at an IRR muster in Augustl at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. Zwelling's team surpassed their recruiting goal of 8,100 for fiscal year 2017. Reserve recruiters gained 8,241 accessions for the year. (Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Chance Babin)

Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service is looking for a few good men or women to fill its ranks. A recent initiative developed by the recruiting service in conjunction with Chief Master Sgt. Ericka Kelley, AFRC command chief, and the Air Force Reserve Senior Enlisted Council will give deserving Citizen Airmen an opportunity to serve a three-year recruiting tour at their home unit.

“It’s an opportunity for an Airman to use recruiting for career development,” said Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Zwelling, AFRC recruiting manager. “This will allow Airmen to get the experience of recruiting for three years and at the end of the recruiting tour bring that experience back to their unit.”

The current plan includes five initial bases: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona; Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio; Niagara Falls ARS, New York; Nellis AFB, Nevada and Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

Wing command chiefs at these select bases will be able to nominate a deserving Citizen Airman to do a three-year tour in recruiting. The nominee will then go through the normal new recruiter vetting process. Once the recruiting flight chief at the wing processes the selectee, he or she will proceed to the Recruiting Service evaluation selection course and then go to recruiting school at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas

“Since the command chief nominates the Airman it will benefit recruiting service since the local wing will have buy-in with the recruiting force,” Zwelling said. “There are currently five locations and depending on success of these locations there could be future growth to this program.”

While many of the Citizen Airmen who pursue becoming a recruiter want to move and experience living in a new location, this new program is a great option for those who want to stay at their current location.

“Some of the advantages for those selected for the enlisted development initiative is they will be able to stay at their current unit and not have to do a permanent change of station move,” Zwelling said. “They will also have familiarity with the local area and the wing. Not having to PCS can be less stressful on family and make the decision to become a recruiter easier.”

While having these new recruiters will help the Recruiting Service with current needs in the recruiting force, there are also some valuable gains for the wings and the Airmen gaining this experience.

“Being a recruiter allows them to work with every single squadron and group at their assigned wing,” Zwelling said. “This experience will be brought back to their local squadron and help develop the squadron from this experience. Some of the skills gained by Airmen include the ability to speak to leadership at all levels and knowledge of the wing’s mission, as well as learning to build relationships within the wing and with outside agencies.”

The enlisted development opportunity is one path to becoming a recruiter, but for the majority of bases, the traditional path still exists. Anyone interested in becoming a recruiter can contact the AFRC RS program manager at HQAFRC.CPM.Information@us.af.mil or call (478) 327-0147 to begin the application process.

“I can tell you from experience there is no better job in the Air Force Reserve than being a recruiter,” Zwelling said. “Not only do you learn skills that translate well either in the military or in your civilian career, but the main thing is you have the ability to change people’s lives on a daily basis. It is a truly rewarding job.”

(Babin is noncommissioned officer in charge of public affairs for the Recruiting Service at Robins AFB, Georgia.)

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