The competitive nature of Marine Corps recruiting can be almost as grueling as professional sports ? long tiring hours and hard work can push Marines to their limits.
For SSgt. Jeffrey W. Davidson, harsh competition only pushes him and his substation to work harder and harder.
Davidson, SNCOIC of RSS Olathe, got his reward after recently being named SNCOIC of the Year for 9th Marine Corps District. ?It?s all about being competitive with other people, he said. ?Even if you have to compete with each other in your own shop or if it?s against other RSSs, competing against other people keeps you pushing yourself to do more all the time.?
Close to 3 1/2 years ago, the St. Joseph, Mo., native came to RS Kansas City with his wife, Jennifer, and two newborn twins, McKylie and Karissa. He had shown leadership ability while in the FMF, having been meritoriously promoted twice as a bulk fuel specialist.
Davidson said he came to a great RSS and that?s where his success started. ?I had a really good NCOIC (GySgt. Charles Pitts, SNCOIC RSS Independence) when I got here. He trained Marines really well. Because I?m naturally competitive, I wanted to be the best out there.? This paid off for him, earning him another meritorious promotion to his current rank, as well as garnering several RS and District Recruiter of the Month awards.
After two years as a canvassing recruiter, Davidson was bumped up to an SNCOIC position. ?I like leading Marines, but it?s different leading here than in the Fleet,? he said. ?As a recruiter, you?re responsible for your own things. When you?re an NCOIC, you?re responsible for everyone. Their successes and failures are your successes and failures.?
Davidson attributes his success as an SNCOIC to a few things. ?My recruiters did everything, really. They?re the ones out there doing the interviews, making ACs, and doing all the heavy work. My job as an NCOIC is molding them and teaching them.?
He also said the efforts of previous RS Kansas City commanding officer LtCol. Gary S. Johnston and prior RS recruiter instructor MGySgt. Mark W. Erhart. ?(LtCol.) Johnston is the best Marine I?ve ever worked with without a doubt. He expected us to do the best we possibly could, then made sure we did it. He always set the example for us and would even AC areas and do interviews with you.?
About Erhart, he said, ?MGySgt. Erhart expected both contracts and quality from us. They both led by example and held us to the standards they set.?
Of all the personal achievements earned by Davidson?s RSS, one thing stands out above all. ?Two Marines under me (SSgt. Johnny Ruby and SSgt. Joe Leija) have done well enough out here to get meritoriously promoted,? he said. ?Knowing that I had a hand and made that sort of impact in their careers and their lives is probably the greatest feeling.?
Leija, a canvassing recruiter from RSS Olathe, said, ?SSgt. Davidson is the foundation of the office. He definitely tries to be modest and give us all the credit, but he?s the reason we?re where we are. He constantly pushes us to do the best we can.?
Davidson also said family support was crucial to his success. ?My wife has always been very supportive of everything I do. When I?m out until 10 or 11 at night working and helping out the team, she?s there making sure everything is OK. She takes care of us all by herself with no complaint. I just can?t say how helpful she?s been.?
As for Davidson?s future goals for himself and his substation, he said they?re going to keep doing what they?ve always done. ?We might take it a little slower and spend more time with family, but we?ll keep the same competitive attitude.
?I know we can do it again next year, but we?re just looking to make RSS of the Station,? he said. ?Last year, our MCRD attrition was 8 percent. If we can lower our attrition, we won?t have to work nearly as hard.?
Looking back, Davidson got more than he expected out of recruiting duty. ?When I first got here, if you would have asked me if I saw myself picking up staff sergeant meritoriously, I would have said yes. I?m naturally competitive, so I saw it coming. I had no idea I?d be in the running for meritorious gunnery sergeant.
?There?s too much to gain out here to be just average,? he said. ?As Marines and leaders, we should want that responsibility. We should want to be the best. There?s a light at the end of the tunnel as long as you remember what you?re working for. I?m proof."