High standards reap high rewards

29 Nov 2003 | 9th Marine Corps District

Working persistently out of his humble office in Valparaiso, In., SSgt. Charles P. Berglund ex-pects to succeed. And he does. He has established a self-fulfilling prophecy in which he achieves exactly what he expects to achieve, success as a Marine Corps recruiter.

Berglund?s success has led to his selection as the RS Chicago Recruiter of the Year for the second year in a row. In addition to this back-to-back achievement, Berglund has been recognized as the 9th Marine Corps District?s Recruiter of the Year for FY03.

Berglund joined the Marine Corps in June 1995. Excelling in his first school, Basic Motor Transportation, he trained as a Logistics Vehicle Systems operator. He served in several billets within motor transport before attending Recruiters School in the spring of 2001.

During his 26 months as a recruiter for Recruiting Station Chicago, Berglund has earned numerous recruiting awards including the Pace Setter Award for writing the first three contracts of the month, with 66 percent Alphas, nine 4.0 Club Awards, eight Hammer Awards, and several quarterly and monthly recruiter awards.

His recognition as RS Chicago Recruiter of the Month for four months of fiscal year 2002, and RS Chicago Recruiter of the Quarter for three quarters of fiscal year 2002, led Berglund to competition for the Marine Corps Recruiter of the Year in 2002.

?My first year I did not get the Recruiter of the Nation,? said Berglund. ?Earning RS Chicago Recruiter of the Year wasn?t good enough for me, so I set my goal this year to win the national award.?

Berglund stepped into this year?s competition for the national honors just nine contracts away from the coveted Centurion award. While top honors went to GySgt. John H. Choi, RSS Orange, Orange County Calif., Berglund?s accomplishments remain undiminished in the eyes of his fellow recruiters and SNCOICs.

?The thing that continues to impress me about SSgt. Berglund is his work ethic,? said MSgt. David A. Lee, SNCOIC, RSS Indiana. ?He just doesn?t settle for the average or baseline. He sets his goal to be the best.?

Lee also said Berglund?s ability to persevere and to put his personality to work for him contributes to his success.

?He has an uncanny ability to relate to everyone,? Lee said. ?Kids love him. Parents love him. School faculty love him.?

In addition to having a personality seemingly designed for recruiting, Berglund benefits from following one of the key rules in sales and recruiting, ?Believe in what you sell.?

?I believe one reason I am an outstanding recruiter is because of the fact that I believe one hundred percent in the product that I am selling, the Marine Corps,? he said. ?I definitely have a true passion and love for what I sell.?

The Corps sells itself,? he added. ?I don?t even think of myself as a salesman. I think of myself as just a Marine in the community who is looked upon to answer questions (about the Corps) and to dispel misconceptions (about the Corps).?

Berglund?s approach has not only earned him a number of plaques and accolades, but also a position of greater responsibility and authority. As of October 2003, he is the SNCOIC of the recently-established recruiting substation in Valparaiso. The position affords him the opportunity to mentor a new recruiter, SSgt. Matthew S. Houston.

?New recruiters can learn many lessons from SSgt. B,? said Lee. ?I think the most important thing to learn from him would be how to start off on the duty. He always tells people (recruiters) ?you must work extremely hard early to establish yourself in schools and in the community.? Following this will pay dividends your entire tour.?

Establishing himself early in his recruiting tour proved an emotional and stressful battle for Berglund. During his first year as a recruiter, Berglund dealt with the loss of his father and his brother to cancer, in addition to other personal battles. The stress accumulating in his off-duty hours accompanied by the stresses associated with recruiting duty would have slowed or completely stopped most Marines, according to Lee. But not Berglund.

Time and stress management round out a recruiter?s toolbox, according to Berglund. He emphasizes this when working with Houston.

?He never seems to stress, no matter how close we are to  making mission or how many ?special cases? I throw in his direction,? Houston said.

?You have to be able to stay focused and not stress about the mission,? said Berglund. ?Stressing about mission can lead to pressure sales. You (the recruiter) don?t need that and neither does the Marine Corps. Besides, potential applicants and their parents can sense pressure sales or desperation sales pitches. If you don?t believe you are going to make mission, you won?t.?

9th Marine Corps District