|Date: Wed, 14 Oct 1998
From: Tom B <t@.us>
I left recruiting and the Air Force in 1992 with almost 10 years of service, two in recruiting. AFRS was the worst experience of my life. I was one of very few recruiters in May of 92 to be ATB or above in our squadron. I happened to be in an office that was on the way out to most of the northern offices in the squadron. This meant that any time the squadron supervision went anywhere north, they stopped in my office. The squadron super stopped on this occasion and was upset at the squadrons performance and took it out on me. My zone was heavily populated with Mormons so many of the 18-21 year olds went on church missions. This had no effect on my "goal" each month.
I worked the zone fairly successfully in my two years and was 1 above ATB at the time. The squadron super went through all of my school folders and matched them up to my schedule. He found around 15 unverified phone calls over a 3 week period that at the time I couldn't explain. Any recruiter knows that you make calls on a hunch or lead that you neglect to jot down the source. I had explained that this was probably the case on these calls, but still received the first LOR I had ever received in my almost 10 years in the AF. It had statements about lack of integrity and dishonest behavior and so on. Luckily for me, the next day, 50 slots were opened for recruiters to seperate under the SSB. I jumped on that and did seperate three months later. If anything, the AFRS teaches unethical behavior to entice people to join. (I did find and verify the calls over the next two days with my flight supervisor)
I am sure that I would have stayed for my 20 years if I had not bought into the best in the AF that the recruiting service claims. The recruiting takes the top 10% not because the job requires any genius but because it is the top 10% of airman that are concerned about their careers and the AFRS uses that as a tool for intimidation. I am a high school teacher now and I still recruit for the AF. I still believe in what the AF has to offer young men and women. I am upset at how the AFRS takes everything I believed to be good about the AF and turned the whole 10 year experience into a waste of my time.
If anyone I knew was thinking about going into recruiting, I would definately tell them no. The supervision at the time I was in applied very poor management techniques and displayed very poor leadership. Lack of good supervisory skills led to scare tactics for attempts at motivating troops. The older corps of recruiters that are now in the supervisor positions didn't have to recruit with the same limitations and recruited a different generation of kids. They threaten the careers of good airmen to make themselves look good. I see AFRS as the a the worst of what the Air Force has, not the outsanding airmen that work their lives away for little return, but the what the AFRS does to these hard working people.
Date: Wed, 14 Oct 1998
I was utterly fascinated by your web site. I am a retired MSgt with 9 years service in USAFRS. Recruiting Service nearly destroyed me and my career. I would like to address my remarks to NCO's considering recruiting as well as those presently in recruiting.
Recruiting is long on promises, short on delivering. Do they still talk about Maslow's Heirarchy of needs in Recruiting School? you guys are selling your souls for recognition,... a few pieces of wood to hang on the wall. I did it for 9 years, and both my family and my career suffered for it. It isn't worth it.
Squadron commanders promise you the world, give you the warm fuzzy feeling of being needed, but they will be the first to give you a less than best EPR when the chips are down. In recruiting "yesterdays sunshine don't warm your ass today." Don't be suckered into giving them the best years of your life.
I returned to my primary AFSC after 9 years in recruiting and wondered why I'd given recruiting service the best years of my life. I was treated with the respect due a Tech Sgt, something that doesn't really happen in recruiting.
To sum it up, my advice is this. If you are in recruiting, don't extend. If you are not, don't even consider it.
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998
From: "Jim" <Jim@email.com>
Thanks for the info. My nephew and a friend's son are considering joining the service. I am a veteran myself - Army officer - and have heard many horror stories about recruiting. This homepage is very valuable because it forewarns me what to look for.
Military recruiting has developed a well deserved suspicion based on actual experiences of service members. This has helped cut back on the primary means of quality recruits - referrals from current and former active duty members.
Best of luck. It is much better on the outside - trust me. The letter of reprimand you received shows a lack of civility from your manager. God forbid I ever have to work with him in the civilian sector!
Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998
Great site! You have really exposed what we all knew about AFRS. I was a 8R00 for 6 years spending 2 years NPS, 2 OTS and 2 Nurse in the 349th. I had 5 silver badges and was top nurse recruiter for the group. I left the AF 2 years ago after being in for 10 years. (I bought a business and decided to get out) I know totally what your talking about as I saw alot of good people rail roaded!
I would like to address some things I havent seen discussed here:
ALL ZONES ARE NOT THE SAME: My first flt. sup told me every zone had the potential to be gold badge zones. RIGHT...thats why the gold badge goes to the same office every year. I knew when I left NPS, I needed to jockey for good areas, not one where a previous recruiter was fired!! For example, I was top nurse recruiter in the group one year and only worked 3-4 hours a day and they told me how much they loved me...my office partner, however,,,, worked his rear off and he was scum.
PROMOTION IS VERY TOUGH: I made Below the Zone and Staff first time and came into RS with less than 4 years in the war. It was mathmatically impossible to make Tech until my 8th year. I really think it was unfair to not even be able to compete.
JOB BOOKING (NPS): It is a statistical fact the AF attracts the best people...as far as mentally and morally. (come on guys, we all seen some of the "rocks" our brethern in green puts in) With that in mind, tell me why is it that we cant forecast jobs any better?! Whoever thought of AI's should have his or her butt kicked! I will never forget a very pretty, petite cheerleader sitting in front of me with her dad present and me trying to get her to sign an MAI contract...and she had and 89 QT! Needless to say, no accession...and I was berated by my flt sup for not selling it!!!! Hell, I would have never came in with an MAI. Remember "press hard, theres 6 copies".
HELP FROM THE LEADERSHIP: Fact, the AF has the lowest cost per accession. Meaning the cost involved from the time we take them off the street till the time they arrive to camp at Bexar county. So why is it I see Army commercials during NFL football games and I had to go beg for PSA's??? Why dont we have an AF college fund coupled with the GI bill? Why did I have 4 Army recruiters with just one AF (me) in my zone? Wouldnt it stand to reason that the powers that be would have a good sell to congress to appropriate more money for AF recruiting? Naaaaaaa, it couldnt be leadership, it must be a bunch of lazy recruiters fault if they cant make goal.
With all that I have said above, I still failed to mention how tough it is to find people who even qualify. I will never forget my boss looking over my PIR's and telling me I was "working trash". These were good kids and any other branch would have jumped on them! It didnt take very long to see that I need to "adjust". I found if you did it the right way, you would never put anybody in.
I was in RS from 1990 - 1996. What I have stated above may or may not be true today. I would like to know if and where Im wrong. I am impressed that the guys still on the bag, are able to make goal with all that I have said and the intense stress they are under. Thanks for letting me weigh in
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998
Love your site. I'm an Army Recruiter going through hell. I'm starting to send your emails around to others. I will write soon ( you know if I can get enough time to compile a paragraph).
I too had Great Ambition with Recruiting, It didn't last long. I've been able to document my problems with Mental Health and from there forced my chain all the way to the Battalion Commander to talk about it. It's been hard walking the middle line without pissing everybody off. I put 2 Grad alpha's in my first 2 months on mission I put them in just to save my sanity. I now have the pleasure of finishing my 6th consecutive month on a "nut", a big O.
I should be heading back to the main stream Army soon, I've finally convinced them that I'm not a salesman, and working from 0800 to 2130 (0600 on mon, wen, fri ) each and every day to include 8 hours every Saturday won't help.
I believe, and have lived every emotion explained on your site.
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998
From: Robbie <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I was an Air Force Recruiter , May 1989 -- October 1992. I just found yourweb page today and I have not had time to read all of it. It is VERY interesting to me, I also recieved A BUM deal from recruiting !!!!!! I would love to share with you my dealing with AFRS. I am no longer in the Air Force. Guess why??? I will e-mail you later and discuss my stories with you in length. I look foward to talking with you. Sorry I am short on time.. Best of luck and God Bless.
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998
I too have a story to tell. It is similar to yours in many ways as it is with many of the letters that you have posted.
My story begins in 1994 when I "Enthusiastically" volunteered for Recruiting Duty. I was seriously misled in the interview process about the demands placed upon you as a "BAG DRAGGER" as I would painfully discover later on down the road.
I realized fairly quickly that I was not a natural, insofar as I was not one to thrive under the constant stress. I was placed on a full goal two weeks after being assigned to my squadron and naturally failed to produce. Immediately I was labeled as "Defective" and required to attend remedial training. These meetings were conducted monthly for all of those recruiters who "willfully missed goal". These meetings were nothing more than veiled punishment. You had to take planning guides, telephone logs, and school folders and then stand in front of your peers and the commander and explain why you failed. It, is might I add, a very humiliating and degrading experience.
As the months went on and I still was struggling, no positive motivation was ever attempted. It was a continual river of negative paperwork that was supposed to motivate me. From memos for record to letters of reprimand for such things as "having a bad attitude" (I'm not kidding...having a bad attitude!!!). Wow...what a wonderful array of motivational techniques!!!
I was then certified as proficient after 12 months. Mind you I was only at 79% and "they" said I was doing fine.
As the paper trail began to grow over the span of the next two years, I definitely saw a trend developing that did not favor my best interests. The turning point came on 22 January 1997. I received a Performance Feedback that indicated I was doing fine. All of the marks were to the right. Nine days later, 31 January 1997, I had an appointment with the Inspector General concerning my situation. On that day when I returned to my office, my Flight Supervisor was at my desk waiting for me with another Performance Feedback. This PFW was considerably different than the one I received only nine days earlier. The marks were now on the left. Amazing how one can degrade that quickly!!!
The frequency with which my office inspections were performed increased exponentially. Going from the normal once a month for a certified recruiter to two a week was incredible. These office inspections lasted anywhere from four to six hours. They were normally conducted during the middle of the day when I should have been out performing recruiting duties, not sitting around the office watching some idiot dig through every piece of paperwork he can find.
The illustrious Recruiting Service IG finally decided to investigate my allegations......three months later. They appointed a MSgt. from my own group to conduct the investigation (cozy...don't you think?). Coincidentally, he showed up and did the investigation while I was on convalescent leave!!! He never spoke to me or any of my witnesses. Absolutely incredible!
After drinking coffee and exchanging pleasantries with my Flight Sup., he came to the conclusion that no wrong had been committed. Go figure.....
After the Flight Sup. figured he had been exonerated, he placed me on a Letter of Direction which mandated I perform at a level even a Gold Badge recruiter couldn't maintain. I won't go into details, just suffice it to say they were absolutely impossible to achieve.
Long story short.....after three months of failure to achieve the goals outlined in the LoD, I was given an Article 15 for Disobeying a Direct Order and Failure to Obey a Direct Order....sounds like the same thing to me. I was given a hard bust to SSgt, a "2" EPR, and non-recommended for re-enlistment. Unbelievable!!! Sixteen years in the Air Force, several decorations, numerous Airman and NCO of the Quarter awards, NCO of the Year, nothing less than a "5" EPR prior to recruiting, and countless letters of praise for outstanding work and they want to throw me out!!!!
Just a footnote.....while all of this was going on, my father was dying of cancer. I was the only child available to care for him, so needless to say the anxiety was high. None of this was ever taken into account, although it had been documented and I had just received a Humanitarian Reassignment two days before I received the Article 15 (one last shot on the way out I guess).
I got to XXX AFB and immediately contacted the IG and started an appeal to the Article 15. I'm happy to say that the IG re-opened the case (which is in final draft as of this letter) and my new commander Set Aside the Article 15, which means that I was restored to my original rank of TSgt., given my original date of rank, and given all back pay that was deprived from me while I was a SSgt. Additionally, the Article 15 was expunged from my service records as it was deemed to have been given to me illegally.
I am now on the verge of having the "2" EPR removed and also supplementally promoted to MSgt. because I was illegally denied testing not once but twice. Justice has prevailed!!!!!
I believe that your web page should be required reading not only for those contemplating entering Recruiting Service, but also squadron commanders, superintendents, and flight supervisors. If they haven't already been de-humanized from recruiting duty, then maybe, just maybe, they'll stop and consider their actions before it ruins someone's career.
Again, thanks for the great page. I wish you all the best in your endeavors to right what was obviously wrong. God bless.
P.S....I enjoyed the "Jeffrey Drivel".What a joke he is!! The typical Holier Than Thou flight sup. attitude.As long as people like him are allowed to be in charge, then nothing will ever change. I feel sorry for him and more importantly his flight.
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998
From: Ron <email@example.com>
I stopped by the page and read quite a bit of what you had to say, I still am trying to conceive of all you are saying, I keep saying to myself..."self, it seems as though some recruiters may actually have a concious and may actually care". It's like in basic you fear TI's and know they are all the spawns of Satan (until you realize how much they did for you) and with recruiters it is the same. I was told many things that were untrue, given false promises and was told I couldn't get a guaranteed job, I can get a "field" but not a specific job. I wanted admin but my recruiter said Ron lets go to the electrical field, and after a long 6 month Tech at Sheppard I washed out and was re-trained to an admin field (command and control...a.k.a command post). If I ever come across you I would like to shake your hand, you seem like a stand up kind of guy. The only thing I truly regret about joining the Air Force is not being able to voice my full opinion which you seem to have also encountered, if we speak we represent the Air Force and apparently these Air Force guru's have some strange idea that what this A1C (soon to be SrA) says will influence the whole world and be taken as solid factual actual Air Force opinion and truth. that and one other huge reason I don't plan on becoming a lifer. Whats the other reason you ask? Well, it seems the Air Force feels more need to make a new rank (Command Master Chief [formerly senior enlisted advisor]) then to worry
about my retirement. Quality Air Force eh?
Well take care and keep up the great work, and don't get me wrong I have much respect for recruiters, when I did the Recruiters assistance I learned a great deal and got a small sample of the stress you face on a daily basis.
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998
I am the retired MSgt who wrote you a brief E-Mail about 2 months ago. I feel compelled to write again because I don't think I did a very good job of relating the message I want to communicate to NCO's currently in recruiting or are considering it.
Let me begin by saying that I left recruiting in 1992 after 9 years service. Although technology available in recruiting has advanced, the pressures are the same today. In other words, I am not some old crusty retired fart who can't relate to what's going on today. I'm sure it's the same pressure as I experienced.
I entered recruiting as a 23 year old rookie SSgt in 1983. If you'll look into the history of Air Force Recruiting, you'll see we were enlisting 60,000 annually. I was working my ass off. My monthly goals ranged from between 5 and 7, and I made them. In fact, I won the silver badge carrying those kinds of goals. I had a wife and two small children at home at the time. I routinely arrived home after 10:00PM, sometimes in the early morning hours. My rural recruiting zone required extensive travel. I worked every Saturday. Saturday was ASVAB day, so I had to be at the office to get my applicants tested.
My kids were growing up while this was going on. I won some recruiting honors (big deal)… but at what price? I am blessed with a devoted wife. She typed case files for me at home when I was on the road. She pisses red, white, and blue to this day. I mean it, she is a real patriot. Pay attention here, because her positive attitude and proven record should have given her some credibility with my squadron, a fact which will have relevance later in my story. Read on, comrades, it gets better….
I was moved to MEPS. MEPS is a totally thankless job. You work your butt off to insure you have no QNA's (qualified, not enlisted). You work your butt off to unlock job-locked applicants. You show up at 5:30AM and don't leave until 5:00 or 6:00PM. I served as LNCO and SLNCO during this period. There was constant concern of making an error… writing an erroneous enlistment, i.e. contracting a kid for a job he or she is not qualified for. The consequences for such an error are usually at least a LOC, sometimes an LOR. As SLNCO, I won top MEPS in my Group and was rewarded with the first 8 APR of my career. This was because I wasn't current on the meal and lodging audit.
I then became a Health Professions Recruiter. That's where the wheels finally came off for me. I convinced myself I was failing, when in fact my numbers were quite respectable. I fell into a deep depression. I was seriously considering suicide. I was an emotional wreck. However, I was also too proud and too stubborn to tell my superiors anything about my emotional state. (In recruiting, we were taught that "there is no excuse for failure", and I took that mindset to heart).I was geographically separated from them, so I put on a good show when they visited. My wife stepped in (remember her?) and called my supervisor. He refused to believe her. I think he categorized her as a "whining wife" or something like that. He took no action. Thank God she persisted and called the Squadron CCU, a man who knew her and believed her. The Superintendent was a good man, and is not included in references to "squadron management" in the following paragraph.
I was relieved "without cause" and sent back to my primary. My fellow "bag draggers" made sure to let me know they were with me, and wished me well. Squadron management, on the other hand, treated me like a pariah. These were the same folks I worked my ass off for, and for so many years! What a joke! Throughout most of my recruiting career, everything I touched turned to gold, so they thought I was great. But when the chips were down, they acted like I was a worthless piece of shit. This was an amazing thing to watch happen. By the way, the APR system had by now changed to an EPR system, and I received my first "4" as a going away present. But I didn't care, because I already had a line number for MSgt.
I returned to my primary and thoroughly enjoyed the remainder of my career. I got the chance to mentor young airmen instead of using all my communication skills and persuasion to get them to enlist.
I'm retired now and making more money in the electronics industry than I ever thought possible, definitely more than I ever made in the Air Force. Sometimes I have to smile, because I can't believe I got so stressed out over the whole recruiting experience. There IS life after recruiting, and there is life after the Air Force. I wouldn't trade the friends I made in recruiting for anything, but I wouldn't do it again, and I wouldn't encourage anyone else to do it. I still keep in touch with some of my friends from my recruiting days. I friend who was a flight supervisor made the comment to me that "recruiting is designed to get rid of people, not keep them."
Thanks for listening to my story. I hope it contributed something to the whole issue of the risks and rewards of recruiting service. To all of you "bag draggers", God Bless You!
Date: Sun, 6 Dec 1998
Just found your web page today. Some very interesting reading. One year on the bag not having a great time. I just wanted to drop you a little note about Jeff S. First, I have not had a chance to read everything yet. I know who Jeff S. is and if you still correspond with him, ask him how his squadron in Michigan did (atb?) while he was such a superstar trainer. Please do not use any part of my e-mail address as I am sure you are constantly being monitored.
Date: Wed, 09 Dec 1998
From: John <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Just got done visiting your website. Some pretty interesting e-mails you have received. I especially enjoyed MSgt Jeff's colorfully versed letter. Maybe Jeff could learn from something that is tought to all those young recruits that are sent to Bexar County in Texas; "Integrity First, Excellence in all we do, and Service before Self".
I was quite impressed with all of Jeff's awards, but I am wondering how many fellow recruiters he had to screw over to get those awards. If Jeff is happy and proud of those awards that is great, but as both you and I know he only has one person to answer to as to how he got them.
With all of those awards, I am wondering if he even remembers what the Air Force is all about? Has he experienced a trip to the desert? Has he had to console a young airman's (or Recruiter on the bag even) family when that airman has been placed in the hospital for a suicide attempt? What about all these NCOs that he claims joined AFRS for the wrong reasons? Who is this man to determine what is right and wrong? If I remember correctly, Jeff said he was a Flight Chief. As far as I know there is nothing in his job description that says Judge and Jury.
As far as getting people into AFRS, I applaude them for taking on a very challenging career move. I also try to lay out the facts as they are, tell them the things that the RTR Team would never tell them. After all they are recruiters themselves!
I am not bitter or angry at AFRS, after all they have the job that keeps today's Air Force Flying and Fighting. It is those few people who made it a priority in their lives to make mine a living hell that I have a beef with.
If I could have just one Christmas wish it would be to confront those individuals and thank them for making me realize that no job is bigger than the person performing it. After all, "forgiveness is the best revenge." I also hope that these individual's Maker can forgive them for their indiscretions and lies.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and if you want to, post it on your website and feel free to forward it to MSgt Jeff.
Here's hoping that this season that celebrates the birth of our Lord finds you and yours healthy and happy.
TSgt John C.
Former NPS Recruiter, Current Security Forces Flight Sergeant.
P.S. Isn't it ironic that I was found incapable of being a Recruiter, but am capable of being in charge of security for 50 ICBMs?