Recruiting is considered one of the most stressful and challenging duties in the Marine Corps, next to combat. For a Marine combat veteran turn recruiter from Recruiting Station Milwaukee, the skills he learned as an infantry Marine and ability to train fellow Marines and gain information from Iraqi civilians has helped to be named the Marine Corps Recruiting Command Recruiter of the Year for fiscal year 2007.
Staff Sergeant Brandon Dickinson, a recruiter out of Recruiting Substation Waukesha, Recruiting Station Milwaukee, has been able to take his nearly 9-years of Marine Corps experience and leadership into the realm of recruiting.
“Dickinson shows people what a professional Marine is,” said Gunnery Sgt. Nicholas Fox, staff noncommissioned officer in charge of RSS Waukesha. “He shows people that the Marine Corps is not just a job, but a profession and a lively hood.”
Dickinson, a Princeton, Ill., native explained that recruiting is simply another form of combat. One of the biggest differences he noted was that “instead of being fired at by enemy bullets, you are fired at by misconceptions.”
For the average recruiter this can be hard to overcome and takes many a few months to become comfortable combating this attack. Master Gunnery Sgt. John Purcell, the recruiter instructor for RS Milwaukee, said that Dickinson combats this with his personality and attitude.
“He is never down and always up beat,” explained Purcell. “He is the type of person everyone wants to be around and when you are around him you end up in a better mood than you were before talking with him.”
This upbeat attitude is not something people usually associate with Marines. Dickinson said one misconception he faces a lot is that all Marines are robots and killers. When Dickinson is out in walking the streets of Waukesha and Brookfield, Wis., he brings his up beat attitude with him.
In the Waukesha and Brookfield, Wis., areas, Dickinson is well known by everyone in the community. He knows everyone from local government officials to corner store owners. These are the people who have helped him work smarter and become successful during his time recruiting. This has also allowed him to maintain a 3.7 APR (accessions per recruiter) for nearly two years.
“One key to my success is overcoming the simple stereotype that all Marines are robots and killers,” he said. “I do this by smiling and being friendly with everyone I meet.”
With his outgoing attitude, Dickinson was able to gain access to a private school with more than 90 male seniors. This private school, like many private schools, had a “closed door” policy when it came to military recruiters.
“I started out by talking to the school secretary, whose late husband served in the Marine Corps. From the report I built with her, things sort of trickled down,” explained Dickinson. “Last school year the school received a new band teacher, who received a high school band award from the Marine Corps when she was a senior. She said she will never forget that day when she was presented with the award by a Marine.”
This report at the school and the impact one Marine recruiter made on the band teacher has given Dickinson an open door to the school.
With all of this success, Dickinson has recently been assigned as the SNCOIC of RSS Waukesha. His ability to stay proactive will play to his advantage on this billet, as it did as a production recruiter, explained Purcell. Yet there is one thing Dickinson was not able to accomplish as a recruiter.
“Just like the previous MCRC Recruiter of the Year (from RS Milwaukee), he couldn’t beat the (recruiter instructor’s) record of 8 contracts in one month,” joked Purcell, who currently set that record in 1994.