Sometimes the best Marine for the job is a former Marine.
While Midwest Marines recruiters found more than 5,700 new reserve Marines last year, finding leaders for them is a challenge all its own.
Reserve Marine units look for inactive Marines to fill key local assignments to keep their units strong and combat ready, and it’s up to the Midwest Marines’ prior service recruiters to find them.
“We are providing [our reserve units] the leadership and the structure they need to be a fighting force,” said Lt. Col. Dean Steffen, the Midwest Marines officer-in-charge for Midwest Marines’ PSR, out of Great Lakes, Ill.
They’ve been doing their job well and proved to be the best in the country by winning the Recruiter Excellence Award for Superior Performance for fiscal year 2009, the first year the award was presented, according to Steffen. Steffen accepted the award on behalf of his recruiters at the Reserve, Recruiting and Retention Task Force conference in New Orleans Jan. 14.
“My recruiters truly wanted to be the best,” Steffen said. “My hat’s off to them.”
According to Steffen, recruiters needed to meet 100 percent of their mission, maintain an attrition rate of less than 7.5 percent, have a job match rate of 93 percent or higher, and give each local reserve unit all of their requested personnel to qualify for award consideration. An example of job match rate and filling personnel requests is when a reserve unit needs three field radio operators. Prior service recruiters look for three inactive Marines who are either trained as radio operators or are capable and willing to retrain in that field.
Midwest Marines’ PSR met or exceeded all but one criterion; meeting the personnel requests from only 32 out of 39 units, yet remained “right on the cusp” of perfection, according to Steffen.
“We’re not trying to cram a bunch of people in,” Steffen said. “We’re trying to give the reserve units the right people they need; the right [military occupation specialty]; the right ranks.”
Reserve units are just one of PSR’s customers. The other customers are the inactive Marines who need jobs and still desire to serve their country.
Gunnery Sgt. Ralph Grimes, a recruiter with three years experience out of Kansas City, Mo., said that although winning the award was very exciting, providing an opportunity to former Marines is really what the job’s about.
“I didn’t come into recruiting to receive awards,” Grimes said. “I came in to help individuals.”
There are Marines in the civilian world who are dealing with tough issues, according to Grimes, and PSR is there to remind them they have options.
“Marines are dealing with the economy; lack of medical insurance,” he said. “We can provide [solutions] when they join the reserves. They can still retire with benefits in the reserves, and maintain a part-time job to supplement their income.”
Winning the award for superior performance was just a beneficial side-effect of “doing our everyday job,” according to Grimes. Helping Marines continue serving their country, and keeping units combat ready during a time of war, are awards unto themselves.