Recruiting, Readiness and Go Air Force, Beat Navy!

  • Published
  • By 301st Fighter Wing Commander Col. Mitchell Hanson

Recruiting -

Do any of your recall the recruiter that signed you up for service to our great nation? Perhaps it wasn’t a recruiter but instead a friend or family member who persuaded you to join the Air Force Reserve. We have a dedicated group of men and women in the Air Force Recruiting Service whose sole mission is to fill our ranks with highly qualified individuals. While our recruiters do a great job, they need your help. There are only a few hundred reserve recruiters who do their best to reach applicants, but there are almost 70,000 Air Force reservists. It’s easy to see that we cover a much larger ground than our recruiters do. If you look at the U.S. demographics for young men and women, the pool of recruits we have to choose from is actually quite small. Of that small pool, we compete with the other services to find the best and the brightest. We are unique in the Air Force Reserve because we also recruit from the Active Duty, including our sister services, in order to make our pool of applicants much larger.

Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein has directed the recruiting service to fully integrate all three components of the Air Force: Active Duty, Reserve and Guard. Recruiters are now trained in the varied nuances of all three branches. When a young man or woman goes to a recruiter, they can get information on any and all avenues depending on their desires. Gen. Goldfein is steadfast in his belief that we are one service and we only harm ourselves if we compete with each other and I agree. When we all join together to recruit the best and brightest, we all win. I’ve always thought we are the best recruiters because we can share a first-hand account of what the unit is like, what we actually do and how we like it. The 301st is the greatest unit in the Air Force because someone took the time to get you into our wing. Let’s continue to do the same and continue our great legacy.

Readiness -

Are you ready?! As you all know, next month we will be doing our Airman Readiness Training Exercise (ARTEX). I’m sure you’ve asked the question, “we just did this… why are we doing it again?” The ARTEX, which was conducted last November, was the first real readiness exercise the 301st has conducted in seven years. All of you that participated did a good job, but we are not where we need to be. Our mission is to train and deploy combat-ready Airmen. That means we must continue to train, improve, and ensure we are ready in case we are called up for a deployment. If we are activated to deploy next week, are you ready to operate in a contested environment? Do you know how to properly don your protective chemical gear and do you know how to do your function while suited up? I know the ARTEX may not be your most favorite event in the world, but preparing to answer that call when it comes is why we are here and it’s why we wear the uniform.

We are not being graded by an external agency. Yes, you are reading that correctly. Air Force Reserve Command Inspector General’s Office will be here to observe that we are doing the training, but they will not be assigning a grade. In the same manner, AFRC IG also observed Homestead Air Reserve Base, Fla. earlier this year and they did not fail or pass. This team is simply observing what we are doing and how we are doing it. Your wing leadership’s job is make sure you are trained to the highest level possible with the limited amount of time available. I want us to learn, to get better and to be more prepared, but we are looking at this internally. If you show up with a good attitude, and a desire to get better and learn then you are on the path to success.  I hope this quells some of your fears about the upcoming ARTEX.

Go Air Force beat Navy!

One last note, this weekend the Air Force Falcons collegiate football team will square off against the Navy Midshipmen at Annapolis, Md. The base skipper, Capt. Jon Townsend, and I have a friendly wager like we did last year. If Navy loses (which I fully anticipate), the skipper and his staff will raise the Air Force flag over the Navy HQ. Do me a favor and support our Falcons and if you see a squid (Navy personnel) walking around the base make sure you tell them, “GO AIR FORCE, BEAT NAVY!” I hope to see you all at the Navy HQ flag pole when they once again raise the Air Force colors.

Thank you for all you do day in and day out to make this a better unit. Without you, your service and your dedication, we could not successfully complete our mission. Please remember to take care of yourself, your family and your teammates. Do your very best in the time you have allotted this weekend but don’t forget to have some fun along the way.

Fights On!

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