EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska — I remember five years ago when I started the long process of joining the military. I was nervous, excited and had no idea what to expect when going into the Air Force.
The person who assured me, mentored me and put tons of hours into my career is the reason why I stand behind the lens telling the stories of other Air Force service members – my Air Force recruiter.
I was recently given the opportunity to participate in the Recruiter Assistance Program in my home town of Junction City, Kan. This was the third time I have participated in this permissive temporary duty.
Making sure my dress blue uniform was looking sharp and knowing I would be representing the Air Force to students who may have never dealt with the military before is always a little unnerving. However, the thought that I could be the voice in someone’s ear to encourage them to join “The greatest Air Force in the world” made me want to tell them everything amazing that has happened to me since joining.
I also gave some relief to potential recruits’ parents by answering questions about how the military works.
Visiting high schools, driving from town to town and working until six at night, I got an inside look at what a recruiter actually goes through and it made me respect them more for all the time they put into their job.
Recruiters work a job that entails a lot of time traveling, working long nights and stacks of paperwork making sure potential enlistees are mentally and physically qualified.
Knowing I could relieve even the tiniest amount of work for my recruiter, Tech. Sgt. Kevin Baird, and provide him company during the visits to different schools was also gratifying.
I enjoy participating in RAP because each time I relive my enlistment experience, get to mentor new enlistees and give them advice to prepare them for Basic Military Training.
I also get to see firsthand where the future of the Air Force is headed. The people interested in the Air Force have to be top-notch material and could become my brothers and sisters-in-arms.
Airmen can participate in RAP as often as their supervisors approve their leave, their commanders approve their eligibility and recruiters need assistance.
The Air Force grants up to 12 days of non-chargeable leave, including one weekend, in accordance with AFI 36-3003. RAP is open to Airmen of all ranks interested in participating and having a positive impact on recruiting.
I encourage all Airmen to do RAP after technical school at least one time. Now that you have the knowledge of the operational Air Force, spread that knowledge with potential enlistees and see the hard work the Air Force recruiters are doing to bring in future Airmen.