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Recruiting legend retires

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Chance Babin
  • Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service Public Affairs
Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service said goodbye to one of its legends. Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Zwelling ended his 34-year Air Force career and 19 years in recruiting Aug. 23, here.

Four former AFRC RS commanders presided over the retirement ceremony at the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB. Retired Colonels Francis Mungavin, Joe Wilburn, Steven Fulaytar, and Christopher Nick each presented the chief and told stories of his career.

Zwelling enlisted in the active-duty Air Force in 1984 as a construction equipment operator and served for six years before joining the Reserve in his hometown of Niagara Falls, New York. In 1999 he joined AFRC RS.

“It has been an honor serving in the United States Air Force,” Zwelling said. “It has defined me as a person. I can’t thank the Air Force enough for the opportunities it has provided me.”

Mungavin said Zwelling was targeted early in his recruiting career for senior enlisted leadership as his name was brought up continuously for his high production in the field. Zwelling had 348 accessions into the Air Force Reserve as a recruiter before moving into a leadership role of mentoring other recruiters.

Zwelling said being a leader is easily defined.

“Set the example by living the Air Force Core values,” he said. “Be loyal to your leadership even if you disagree and be humble but confident. Always remember it’s about taking care of Airmen! There is a president Reagan quote that sums it up the best, ‘the greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.’ It’s the Airmen who serve who make the Air Force Reserve recruiting service the best in DoD (Department of Defense).”

Zwelling is most honored to have served in AFRC Recruiting Service and be part of the mission performed by Airmen on a daily basis to keep the Reserve strong.

“What we do in recruiting is a powerful thing. We change people’s lives,” Zwelling said. “We make a difference every day and not everybody can say that. It is not an easy job and the mission never stops and we are constantly measured and evaluated. What we do is so much more than just putting people in boots and a number. I am proud of what we do.”