JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND — As the Air Force moves forward on making recruiting a Total Force concept, it reached a landmark Feb. 22, 2019 with the first Total Force graduating class at the recruiting schoolhouse here.
“This graduation is a significant milestone in our journey to Total Force recruiting. This is the first time we’ve had active duty, Guard and Reserve recruiters together in one single class from start to finish,” said Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, Air Force Recruiting Service commander. “I think the more we learn about one another, the more we work together and the more we build trust, the more effective we’ll be in recruiting.”
Leavitt said she sees the 15-person graduating class as pioneers in the Total Force recruiting journey.
“They are the ones who understand this better than our most experienced recruiters at this point,” she said. “I’m going to challenge them to lead the way on the journey. I want them to be that beacon. I want them to share what they learned. I want them to ensure we are always one team and help make this a reality.”
A Total Force recruiting council has been meeting for more than a year to plan and execute the integration. Leavitt said the Air Force is now ready to implement significant steps in the council’s plan. These steps include having the Recruiting Service headquarters at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, made up of members from the different components.
“We are moving quickly toward Total Force recruiting,” she said. “We’re going into the field and figuring out where it makes sense to combine offices and work together. I think it’s going great. I’m very excited with the new team members joining us in San Antonio and we are going to be that much more effective. I am honored to serve and I am excited to be part of this team. This is a very exciting time to be part of recruiting.”
Prior to this graduation, the recruiting school offered different curriculums for each component. The new combined curriculum added “must haves” from each component so the students learned about the different nuances of each.
“It will strengthen recruiting by putting all our recruiters on the same footing,” said Col. Timothy H. Martz, Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service commander. “Training together and developing relationships the minute they start recruiting school until the minute they put on their recruiting badge really sets up our recruiters – our most important asset – for success.
“It helps them establish rapport, trust and relationships across the Total Force so we can work together for the common objective of identifying and capturing the very best talent our nation has to offer.”
The new curriculum was written by representatives of each component and includes the benefits of each, the IMPACT (investigate, meet, probe, apply, convince, tie-it-up) sales system, eligibility requirements for each component, sales presentation skills, time management, stress management, AFRISS-TF (Air Force Recruiting Information Support System-Total Force), sequence of processing, and other topics.
“The course was an overhaul of the last course, not three separate courses crammed into one,” said Senior Master Sgt. James Scapperotti, an AFRC instructor at the school and one of the curriculum developers for the new course. “During the STRT (Specialty Training Requirements Team), senior leaders from each component and the curriculum developers selected ‘must-have’ job qualifications and skills line items a new recruiter has to know upon graduation from each component.”
For example, planning was a topic all three components agreed was important to have in the curriculum. Some topics, like the individual mobilization augmentee program, were only specific to the Air Force Reserve, but still were included in the course because it was a “must-have” item for the training.
Master Sgt. Andrea Jaramillo, an Air National Guard instructor for the first class, said one of the challenges as an instructor was understanding how each component recruits, the different processes, and rules and regulations.
“The students and I have taken a lot away in the past seven weeks to understand the different components and processes,” she said. “I feel the new recruiters will be able to sell the Air Force better by understanding the different components and referring applicants to the correct component for that person.”
The students said it was an honor to be a part of the first Total Force class to graduate.
“Being a part of the first Total Force Recruiting Course has been a rewarding experience,” said Tech Sgt. Tara Jackson, a recruiter with the Louisiana Air National Guard. “My classmates and I were here to experience the first hiccups and help overcome them for the future classes. This Total Force class has given me an advantage moving forward in my career field because I was able to see how recruiting fits in the big picture of the Air Force and not just at my state’s level.”
“It is very exciting for all of us to be in the first class,” said Tech Sgt. Luther Ray Chase, an active-duty recruiter. “We all realize the magnitude, importance and impact we will have on recruiting and eagerly accept the challenge. I am excited to be a part of the future and do my best to help the Total Force be a success.”