After two years of close second place finishes, the Recruiting Station Lansing Legionnaires took the Western Recruiting Region Recruiting Station of the Year Award, after repeating as 9th Marine Corps District RS of the Year.
“This was a very challenging year for Lansing,” said Capt. Elgin Young, executive officer, RS Lansing. “We had a lot of our successful veteran recruiters rotate out this year, but the leadership remained the same, and we were able to effectively train the new recruiters. Our success is all due to the hard work of the recruiters hitting the streets and the (staff noncommissioned officers-in-charge) providing the proper training to keep them successful.”
Their diligence paid off this fiscal year, where the net average per recruiter in RS Lansing was 1.40 — the highest in the nation.
“The leadership of our 8412 (career recruiter) community has been superb in training our recruiters to be the best at finding quality men and women,” Capt. Paul Vanderwater, RS Lansing’s operations officer. “The staff NCOICs had the mindset that their stations would work between the 15th and 15th of each month, allowing them to make mission at a faster rate. And their hard work shows.”
Lansing’s contracting goal for fiscal year 2006 was 731, an increase of 72 from the previous year. The recruiting station shattered this by contracting 953 — 130 percent of its mission.
Shipping, which is the most important and accurate indicator of the recruiting effort, was also better. With a goal of sending 751 recruits to recruit training, RS Lansing shipped 781 — 104 percent of its mission.
“What really put us over the top was the (Musician Enlistment Option Program) and the NROTC program,” said Young. “Over the past two years, we had not made our MEOP mission, but this year we made 120 percent of our MEOP mission.”
So far, in fiscal year 2007, RS Lansing has already attained 100 percent of its MEOP mission.
According to Vanderwater, keeping the pool involved was a huge part of Lansing’s success because bringing in more referrals saves recruiters time.
“Keeping the pool strong is a huge part of our success,” said Vanderwater. “The recruiters have to be involved in the poolee’s life to ensure that they ship, and a strong pool will bring in more referrals.”
Maj. Richard W. Whitmer, commanding officer, RS Lansing, said the station’s formula for success is based around the concepts of Systematic Recruiting, with three basic parts.
“You have to have professional people, a sound training program and organization skills,” he said. “We are very systematic in the way we execute recruiting and it has been the key to Lansing’s success.”
At the station level, Whitmer said it is vastly important for the recruiters to continually prospect and to be involved in the community.
“Community involvement is a huge part of the recruiting process,” he said. “The more time you spend in front of the people, the more people and prospects become familiar with the Marine Corps values of Honor, Courage and Commitment, which increases the potential of future enlistments.”
RS Lansing’s Recruiter of the Year, Gunnery Sgt. Jason M. Duggar, emphasized his personal success throughout the year came through good training and his involvement in the community.
“You have to get out in the community and talk to everyone,” said Duggar. “Be as excited as you can be and tell your Marine Corps story and smile. I wake up every day thinking about setting three appointments and getting one interview. My day is not over until I do.”
According to Whitmer, not one single element will make you successful.
“There is a series of things that you must follow in order to be successful, and you must do them well,” he said. “If you do what you have been trained to do with enthusiasm and with a good attitude, you will be successful.”