Sometimes, the best applicants for the Marine Corps are those who have already served.
Enter Staff Sgt. Glendon L. Garrett, prior service recruiter, Prior Service Recruiting Site #1, Great Lakes, Ill.
Garrett, who was recently recognized as the 9th Marine Corps District Prior Service Recruiter of the Year, recruits and processes prior-service Marine Corps officer and enlisted applicants for active participation in the Marine Corps Reserve, as well as reenlistment into the active component, in accordance with the assigned mission.
“If a Marine’s military occupational specialty is available locally, we’ll put them there,” said Garrett, referring to the 11 Marine reserve units located in the greater Chicago area. “The goal is to get them in to meet Reserve end strength.”
The former maintenance management chief with Marine Wing Support Squadron 472, Detachment A, entered the recruiting world when a friend, also a prior service recruiter, suggested that Garrett would do well “on the streets.”
“I took his word, and here I am,” said Garrett, who began recruiting in April 2005.
Garrett recruited 53 individuals into the Marine Corps Reserve during his first six months as a prior-service recruiter, ending fiscal year 2006 with a total of 76. He is one of 11 prior service recruiters from 10 prior service recruiting sites in 9th MCD — his site in Great Lakes is the only site with more than one recruiter. 9th MCD Prior Service Recruiting, whose headquarters is co-located in Great Lakes with PSR Site #1, put 450 Marines back in the Corps last year.
Garrett credits his success to his personality, networking skills and strong reputation with the local Marine Corps Reserve units.
Through close working relationships with supported Select Marine Corps Reserve, Individual Mobilization Augmentee units, the Marine 4 Life coordinator, and local recruiting reserve support officers, Garrett supported Operation Iraqi Freedom requirements by sourcing nine Marines to 1st Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, and four Marines to 1st Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, prior to their recent activations.
He also referred eight non-prior service and four prior service applicants to local non-prior service recruiters for potential service with the active-duty Marine forces, as well as five Marines to serve as recruiter aides in the local area, providing significant additional manpower to the non-prior service recruiters in the accomplishment of the their mission. He filled 13 non-prior service Reserve mission requirements in order to assist with the Reserve-shipping mission.
“They’ll come back and thank me, and bring more people back too,” Garrett said.
“His communication skills and resiliency to getting the mission accomplished have really impressed upon me,” said Sgt. Matthew J. Ortiz, prior service recruiter at PSR Site #1, Great Lakes, Ill. “Making mission for him isn’t enough. He works to not only meet, but surpass end strength.”
Garrett consistently strives to hone his craft, whether its on the streets, looking for individuals sporting “high-and-tight” haircuts or Marine Corps bumper stickers, or canvassing local malls, theaters and restaurants with canvassing recruiters throughout Chicago.
“I like going out with canvassing recruiters, talking to people,” he said.
With an area of responsibility that coincides with Recruiting Station Chicago’s 12,100 square-mile area of operations, Garrett frequently encounters RS Chicago canvassing recruiters who are also searching for highly-qualified applicants. A team player, he shares his leads with canvassing recruiters throughout Chicago to help the Marine Corps make its recruiting mission.
“I’ll get phone calls from applicants from time to time, and technically I can work them,” said the 31-year-old native of Huntington, W.V. “If it’s something the local station needs, though, I’ll send him over there. I’ll still help out with the screening, taking his height and weight, background check, things like that.”
Although the truth is always the best path for any recruiter, Garrett says it’s even more evident when talking with former Marines who know the ropes.
“We talk to them (former Marines) and clear up misunderstandings and misperceptions about the Reserves and educate them on the different Reserve programs available, such as the opportunity to retrain into new MOSs and attend formal schools,” Ortiz said.
“When you talk to a Marine who’s ‘been there and done that,’ you look into their deployment issues and preferences,” Garrett said. “There’s no fooling around with them – you tell them how it is, and that’s what they want.”