Policy changes, new goals leading to boost in AF recruits

Policy changes, new goals leading to boost in AF recruits

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Col. Bradley McDonald, 88th Air Base Wing commander, administers the oath of enlistment at Fifth Third Field in downtown Dayton Aug. 5 to members of the delayed enlistment program as Chief Master Sgt. Kathlina Racine, 88 ABW command chief, watches. (U.S. Air Force photo/Wesley Farnsworth)

The 338th Recruiting Squadron, headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is expecting a surge in numbers for new recruits this year due to the Air Force’s expansion of policies and increased annual goals. It recruits men and women across Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky and is meeting and exceeding a surge in new enlistments contracts this year due to the Air Force’s expansion of policies and increased annual targets.

Last year’s goal of 1,100 new recruits was reached. This year’s goal is set for 1,300.

338th RCS’s mission is to inspire, engage and recruit future Airmen to deliver airpower for America, according to the Air Force Recruiting Service.

Air Force Recruiting Service’s mission is to inspire, engage and recruit future Airmen to deliver airpower for America. This mission is being achieved by increasing the number of recruiters being assigned in offices around the nation — an increase approved by Congress, said Tech. Sgt. Travis Parker, Standardization and Training non-commissioned officer for the 338th RCS.

“In just our squadron, we’ve seen a 12 percent increase in enlistment targets from FY16 to FY17. Our annual new enlistment mission objectives are increasing so there is a need for more recruiters to be trained properly in an effort to ensure we remain the best and most professional recruiting force in the Armed Forces”, he explained.

Earlier this year, the Air Force released a new policy regarding tattoos. According to the Air Force News Service, an authorized tattoo which would have been considered excessive based on the on the“25 percent” rule on certain parts of the body is no longer a restriction.

Parker explained that since the Air Force is now removing the restriction on what is considered excessive regarding tattoos, it should increase the amount of potential qualified applicants. He reflected on an Air Force candidate at his previous assignment who was otherwise qualified as a USAF Pararescueman, but was not eligible to enlist because he had two half-sleeve tattoos on his forearms.

“It’s [Pararescue] one of the toughest and most demanding career fields in the Air Force, and even though he met all other qualifications, the ‘excessive tattoos’ prevented the Air Force from gaining what might have been a great Airman,” Parker said.

Another expansion to Air Force enlistment qualifications pertain to waivers for conditions that historically would’ve disqualified individuals from service such as eczema, asthma and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to AFNS. The changes are expected to open the door to a broader landscape of individuals to enlist who might not have been qualified based on outdated policies.

Aside from exceeding its annual new enlistment contracts mission, the 338 RCS has recently undergone a complete change-over in leadership. They’ve welcomed new squadron commander Lt. Col. Kristy Moore, Master Sgt. Michael Wright and are expecting a new production superintendent later this fall.

The 338 RCS is comprised of an agile support team at Wright-Patterson AFB in addition to the Air Force. They employ highly effective standardization and training, marketing, operations and supportpersonnel, all with a wealth of knowledge to support their recruiters in the field. They were the only squadron in the Air Education and Training Command to win the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award in the last year.

In addition to the effort to gain more prospective Airmen, the 338 RCS is utilizing social media to get the word out.

“Each DEP’er [new recruit] follows our Facebook page and they have thousands of friends,” said Parker. “We are able to reach all those people … Word-of-mouth and perpetuation is one of our biggest tools.”

They are also looking into using Facebook Live for training and to communicate event information to other recruiters.

“We get involved with events that target our age demographic which is 17- to 39-year-olds,” said Parker. “Whether it’s at universities, festivals, sports events … Community involvement ensures we remain ambassadors of the U.S. Air Force in the local area.”

For more information, contact the 338th Recruiting Squadron at 937-257-6070 or email 338@rs.af.mil.

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