I got trapped into a tour as an Army Recruiter. It was after my sister was killed in a car wreck (she was a passenger). I thought I was okay and could go back to work but I blew my cover and had to be pulled. Instead of putting me in planning, the general decided that I needed to be taken down a peg so he sent me to recruiting. I went to the school at Ft Ben Harrison in Indianapolis. Then I was sent to Pennsylvania.
Recruiting command is the most anal retentive, micromanaging, pack of nervous people you’ve ever seen. They make the pointy haired boss look good. This was before 9/11 so half the time when we went on campus at a high school or college, we were given the Nazi salute. The good thing was I got to meet Joe Paterno. But the command had a formula they insisted everyone follow. You had to make so many phone calls in order to get so many appointments to talk to a kid face-to-face. Then of those you’d get so many enlistments to fill your quota. You were to emphasize the educational and training and slack off on patriotism and adventure. They actually counted your phone calls and how long you were on the phone with each potential recruit. You had to account for every minute of your day.
As a professional NCO it was insulting. I did it my own way. I talked about patriotism, I talked about hard work. I told them their drill sergeants would not be nice to them and why drill sergeants had to act as they did to find out who could handle stress. To those who said there would be no more wars I said there will always be another war. I took them out to where the Guard and Reserve were training and had them rappel down walls and shoot M-16s and ride in tanks. And they had to help maintain and clean equipment, too. I was always the high scoring recruiter of the battalion. Professional Development (recruiting command’s tattletales) would come down, look over my numbers and tell me I was doing it all wrong. So, I brought out the score sheet for the battalion, laughed and went to go get a coffee while they fumed. I found out as long as I was bringing in quality numbers, I could get away with murder, pretty much, so I did. I’d fill my quota early then take my family to Hershey Park or somewhere. When my year was up, they wanted me to stay, badly, I said not just no, but hell no. So, I was able to go back to counterintelligence and special ops command. The general said I was too stubborn to teach a lesson as I got an Army Commendation medal for getting a gold recruiting badge in only one year. I told him I had indeed learned a lesson, that if they ever tried to put me back in recruiting command, I’d go AWOL first.
Being in recruiting command is worse than being at the Pentagon, which I thought was impossible until I was in recruiting command.