Recruiting the Future Airman

  • Published
  • By Capt. Ashley Walker
  • 913th Airlift Group

The Air Force Reserve Recruiting service has a tall order to recruit the best and brightest of the future generations. The Air Force is the smallest amongst the military services and the Reserves has to compete against active duty recruiters for non-prior service applicants.

“I’ve been going to airshows since I was probably two years old,” said Kristen Daniels, a recent Air Force Reserve enlistee waiting for basic military training. “I saw military personnel out in the public at events and saw how they were immediately treated with respect and trusted.”

Though the desire to serve may have been incepted at a young age through community engagement events, Daniels didn’t think about military service until high school graduation. She recently completed her first year in college and started researching the benefits and culture of active duty and reserve service.

“In college, I’ve met many veterans who served and used their benefits to go back to college,” said Daniels. “The military has to be doing something right if people still want to learn and grow after serving their military commitments.”

Air Force Recruiting highlights education benefits and a culture that values science, technology, engineering and math skills. This focus is timely considering the rising cost of college tuition and the civilian job market desiring education to be competitive applicant.

“I definitely want to finish school and get a feel for the military culture,” Daniels said. “I’m going to be a reservist C-130J crew chief to learn the ins and outs of the plane while I finish my education. Eventually, I want to become a pilot.”

Before Daniels enlisted in the reserves she spoke to many recruiters, but a main source of information were video blogs on YouTube from military members themselves.

“I did all kinds of research and spoke to recruiters, but I watched folks share their own experience and discuss the different benefits or work environments,” said Daniels. “I know recruiters are trained to say certain things, so I like to hear a person’s genuine opinion.”

The digital media age enables recruiters to quickly reach a variety of applicants. What is shared by current and former military personnel carries great weight among future recruits. To inspire and recruit the future Airman, the Air Force needs Reservists to share their positive experiences. All Airmen, regardless of their career, are recruiters.

“My job would be a lot easier if we had such resilient and well informed applicants such as Kristen," said Master Sgt. Nathan Thorn, Air Force Reserve recruiter." It was a long journey and a great day to be a part of her enlistment in front of the last C-130 out of Vietnam on Vietnam Veterans Day. I look forward to seeing her graduate BMT.”

The Air Force Reserve is an opportunity to start, continue or share your adventure. Those interested in the Reserves can visit the local Reserve recruiter at 140 John Harden Drive, Jacksonville, Arkansas.