Recruiters meet goal, still looking for new talent
By Airman 1st Class Dylan Gentile, 919th Special Operations Wing
/ Published October 23, 2019
DUKE FIELD, Fla. -- Most everyone in the Air Force has had that moment, in an office with the buzzy fluorescent lights, sitting nervously as a recruiter rattled off dozens of acronyms resembling a language that was native to a foreign land.
With time and a few questions along the way, the road becomes much clearer. It’s this process that brings new energy, new ideas and a wealth of talent to the world’s most capable Air Force.
For the past several years, the service has exceeded the previous year’s recruiting record, this time bringing in a whopping 34,129 active-duty Airmen. The Air Force Reserve recruiting goal for Fiscal Year 2019 was 8,950 new accessions.
“We are tasked with recruiting over 500 Citizen Airmen this year,” said Chief Master Sgt. Brian Mounts, Flight Chief, Air Force Reserve Recruiting Service based at Duke Field, Fla. “That’s the regional goal shared with Eglin.”
That number also represents the goal from last year which the recruiters exceeded by 6 people.
Mounts reclined in his office chair, scanning over numbers on his computer screen.
“I would say the majority of these [recruits] are going to Duke,” said Mounts. “Duke Field has over 1,500 authorized positions."
A number of these positions are in aircraft maintenance, said Mounts. Recruiters are always looking for more maintainers, especially at Duke Field. To go into maintenance, a new member must achieve a score of 47 on the mechanical section of the ASVAB. The trend with young people, however, seems to be away from mechanical skills and more towards computer or digital based skills, which makes it difficult to get qualified individuals in the field.
Regardless of career path or ASVAB scores, young people going into any field on base have to come through the Development and Training Flight, which is a program that prepares young soon-to-be Airmen for basic training.
“The process of me coming to Duke Field all started when I decided I wanted to do more with my life after I finished nursing school,” said Breanna Sewell, a student at the D&TF program on base. “I did my research and I was able to find Master Sergeant Carlile who walked me through the whole process of MEPS [Military Entrance Processing Station] and swearing in, and from there I was assigned to my job and my Unit Training Assembly dates. I am so thankful for such an amazing opportunity such as the D&TF program and I pray that it continues to bless future recruits as it has me.”
She chose her career field as a medical laboratory technician because she’s always had a passion for healthcare, said Sewell. She didn’t take her job because of the incentives, although it definitely helps. She also had never heard of Duke Field before looking for this job specifically.
Duke Field also has many specialized positions in units such as logistics, medical and operations, said Mounts. Part of the issue with filling these positions is that many people aren’t even aware that the Air Force Reserve exists, which is why Mounts and his recruiting team are trying to boost name recognition.
“We need to get our name out there,” said Mounts. “We’re always doing events around here. We did Gulf Coast Jam and the Pensacola Airshow.”
The recent economic upturn is part of what makes getting leads more difficult, said Mounts. Whenever there’s a good economy leads go down. This year, the recruiting office had a 20 percent decline in leads throughout the entire command.
According to Mounts, it’s more difficult to incentivize people during these periods.
“Most people join the Reserve for educational purposes, said Mounts. “They want to get the GI bill, and if they do additional time, they could be eligible for the post-911 GI bill. There’s also no insurance that can touch our medical benefits.”
“We need our Air Force Reserve members to reach out to their family and friends to get them interested in joining,” said Mounts. “”Because who better to work right next to you than family or friends.”
The Air Force Reserve has created a program that’s been created to incentivize Citizen Air Commandos to reach out to their loved ones and get them in our force, said Mounts. The app is called “Share your adventure” which allows current members to win prizes just for referring people to the Reserve.
Anyone who wants the inside story on Duke Field can talk with Sewell. She’s ready and willing to share her adventure with others.
I would like to say how amazing I think Duke Field is,” said Sewell. “Every [drill] weekend I learn more and more. I cannot wait to work at Duke Field after completing [basic training] and tech school.”