DES MOINES, Iowa --
It is no secret. Marine Corps recruiting duty is considered a very challenging opportunity for Marines to take on.
Three Marines with Recruiting Station Des Moines, Iowa, took the difficult, challenging, yet, rewarding special duty assignment by the horns during Fiscal Year 17, as they were recognized during the station’s celebration of the 242nd Marine Corps Birthday, Nov. 11.
A combat engineer by trade, Sgt. Michael Alfaro, a recruiter with Recruiting Substation West Omaha, Neb., claimed the title of, not just for RS Des Moines, but the 9th Marine Corps District Recruiter of the Year. Alfaro competed against more than 300 recruiters across the Midwest to receive the coveted title.
“Recruiting duty has taught me self-reliance, self-direction and self-discipline,” Alfaro said. “It takes a lot of discipline to set the example you want to emulate to your [men and women awaiting recruit training].”
Alfaro added hard work pays off every time one his poolees graduates from the recruit training, citing one of his applicants who lost more than 80 pounds in order to become a Marine and is currently attending his military occupational school at the top of his class.
“I have had many great leaders and mentors to teach me,” Alfaro said. “All you need to do is be humble and take a piece of everything to form your own technique.”
As Alfaro’s staff noncommissioned officer in charge at RSS West Omaha and one of these mentors, Staff Sgt. Jeremy Spaunhorst was also recognized as RS Des Moines SNCOIC of the Year.
“I have learned a different side of leadership at all different levels,” Spaunhorst said. “It’s relatively easy to lead Marines in the Fleet, but when you are put in front of an applicant who doesn’t necessarily have to listen to you it’s a challenge. You truly have to inspire them to want to do things and lead by example.”
Although both of these Marines have less than a year left on recruiting duty, the “Wolfpack Nation” is in good hands. Sergeant Shawn Stevens, a recruiter with RSS South Omaha, won Rookie Recruiter of the Year for RS Des Moines.
“You have to get out of your comfort zone,” Stevens said. “It has really shown me how to be a multi-tasker with life. The days are long but being able to juggle that with a good home life has made it worth it.”