“During my time as a recruiter, I want to accomplish three things: get promoted to gunnery sergeant, be a part of the RSS (recruiting substation) of the year and my biggest goal - become a centurion.”
These are the words Staff Sgt. Froilan Ramos spoke when he was promoted from sergeant to staff sergeant on February 1, 2008, just a few days after checking in to become a canvassing recruiter with RSS Des Moines, Recruiting Station Des Moines, Iowa.
While waiting to hear the results from the gunnery sergeant meritorious board and RSS station of the year, he put in his 100th individual and became Centurion when Marina Arredondo, a senior at Saydel High School in Des Moines, Iowa, raised her right hand and swore to defend this nation on Sept. 11, 2010. He will receive his award at the Marine Corps Ball in November.
During his 33 months on production, he was frequently named Recruiter of the Month and received a myriad of other recruiting awards such as, the Big Stick Award, Commanding Officer Achievement Award, Sergeant Major Achievement Award, Rookie Recruiter of the Month, Sharpshooter Award and Expert Award, all the while maintaining a 64 percent Alpha mix.
Staff Sgt. Jason Atherton, the staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of RSS Des Moines, said Ramos comes into work every morning with mission accomplishment on his mind.
“He shows up to work every day usually before everyone else, works hard and accomplishes any mission given to him,” Atherton said. “He’s definitely the last one to leave.”
Becoming a Centurion is no easy task. Statistics show many recruiters, after 36 months of duty, will return to the Fleet writing between 60-70 contracts and be considered a successful tour.
Recruiting nationwide is doing well and during the current relatively calm recruiting period a recruiter only needs one contract per month. The recruiters in RS Des Moines usually do not overwrite their monthly mission, but when RSS Des Moines was understaffed by two Marines for a period of four months, Ramos stepped up to the plate.
“It wasn’t just about Ramos overwriting to accomplish his goal,” Atherton said. “Rather, we were shorthanded and during those months we were still getting tapped as if we were fully staffed. Ramos wanted to help the team and he definitely did just that.”
While recruiters spend time away from their families on a daily basis, Ramos, whose wife and children are in California, comes to work with no excuses, Atherton said.
“His family is more than 1,000 miles away and yet, he comes in every day with a purpose,” he said. “He definitely doesn’t complain about anything and that sets an example with the other Marines.”
Major Sean T. Quinlan, Recruiting Station Des Moines commanding officer, refers Ramos as a quiet professional who emulates the expression “excellence without arrogance.”
“In my 25 years [as a Marine], I’ve seen many talented Marines get side tracked when it comes to setting goals - especially with recruiting,” he said. “There are an incredible number of factors to weigh and obstacles to overcome out here, but he stayed the course and was successful because of that. Ramos is truly an exceptional staff noncommissioned officer, not just because of his 100 contracts, but because anyone who has stood in the presence of him knows that he is a team player, hard worker and disciplined.”
While explaining how he became successful, he pointed at the Marines around the room.
“When the CO [commanding officer] checked in, he instilled in us the ‘Team, Team, Damn Team,’ philosophy,” Ramos said. “I wouldn’t be where I am at today without the Marines to my left and right.”
Ramos will be officially taken off production come October 1, 2010, but he will still have at least three more months here before he transfers back to the Fleet Marine Force. He is currently on the meritorious gunnery sergeant board and will extend his tour to find out the results. In the meantime, he’ll continue to contribute to the mission and mentor his replacement.
“I won’t stop helping the RSS make mission,” Ramos said. “I will continue to help those Marines around me to make the RSS even better than what it was. I will give my replacement the best turnover as possible because he deserves that.”