Yours truly, was invited for a sit-down with some leaders from the Army Accessions Command while they were in NOLA to recruit during the Essence Festival . These folks are responsible for pretty much everything to get, guide and transition potential soldiers. Their site states, “From First Handshake to First Unit Assigned” and that pretty much sums them up. But, just because you shake and get information, does not mean it is for you or you are committed to anything. Nobody should be afraid or intimidated of recruiters seriously!

I spoke at their Commander’s Conference last year (notice links to where I tried to join the Army & failed) regarding social media and have stayed on their radar. Mark Mohammadpour with Weber Shandwick, who I met at the conference last year, suggested that I could possibly be helpful to them. Community outreach and getting proper information out there are definitely important to the Army’s future of quality soldiers. Since I have a “big mouth” on the internet, especially in Louisiana, I am happy to help the Army any way I can:-) Oh…and on a sidenote…I have 3 kids (10 1/2 , 13, 15) and my hubby and I are encouraging all of them to enter the military. It may be just 1 out of 3 that heads in that direction, so arming myself with information as a potential Army mother (or whatever branch they choose) (gosh I feel old even saying that) is important to me as well.

Not knowing what to expect, I arrived and it was 4 gentlemen and myself in a conference room. 2 former military and 2 active duty (what an honor for me):
* LTC Jose Torres: Battalion commander, US Army Baton Rouge Recruiting Station
* LTC James ClarkL: Southern University Army ROTC Department
* Roger Harmon: Chief Advertising & Public Affairs, Recruiting Battalion Baton Rouge
* Don Hilton: Carol Williams Field Marketing Rep Army Accessions Command

In my famous bullet blogging fashion, I will highlight some key points on info that I think are valuable to y’all (yes that comes naturally now instead of youse guys):

* Recruiters not only have to deal with potential recruits but they must deal with families as well. This makes their job quite challenging.
* Army recruiting numbers are good right now (especially in Louisiana). But, that does not mean they do not want new recruits.
* The Army wants to help give potential recruits opportunities (I really believe that).
* There are a gazillion places to go to get info for the Army – the best one is GoArmy.com
* Getting parents educated and on-board is more than half of a recruiters job. If parents are armed with proper information and their children want this, it may ease the process.
* The ASVAB is the test everyone needs to take to be in the military. Based on how an individual scores, it helps guide potential soldiers into certain career paths. It can NEVER hurt for anyone to take it!
* Just because you take an ASVAB in a recruiters office – DOES NOT commit you to anything! You can take a practice on-line *no commitment* & even do the “March 2 Success” on-line course that can raise your score up to 20 points. I am going to encourage my kids to take this test!!!
* Jr ROTC in high school is a fabulous program and can lead to college scholarships & opportunities.
* Depending on the individual, some will go the officer route and some the enlisted. Recruiters seek candidates for both options and will guide them accordingly.
* If you have time to serve, do it when you can. I regret it now (but Army wife counts for something).
* Only 1% of the nation serves – so this is a pretty elite club and those who serve and their families should be proud!
* Those who serve/served all experience the Army differently. Meet with as many of those who serve/served to help decide if the Army is for you or yours.
* ROTC scholarships are a great alternative to student loans and will also provide experiences & opportunities that would not otherwise exist!
* If someone is out of shape, contacting a recruiter for tips is a great start to get them in the right direction (no commitment necessary).
* Any opportunity to serve your country, in our nations Armed Forces is an honor!

I certainly do not have all the answers to the gazillion questions you may have…but am happy to get them for you or put you in touch with someone that might have them! greta perry at g mail .com

* Thanks to Meredith Young and Michelle Holford for arranging this.

c/p at Kiss My Gumbo

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