Fort Polk career counselors meet fiscal year retention
November 17, 2008
The efforts of Fort Polk career counselors were rewarded Nov. 6 at Alligator Lake, where they gathered for a fiscal year-end cookout. During fiscal year 2008, the Army Reserve component counselors exceeded their goal by retaining 200 percent of their assigned number of Soldiers.
The total number retained by both the Active and Reserve components was 120 percent of the mission requirement.
Army career counselors advise Soldiers of available options and opportunities in the Army, and provide counsel on other career decisions. Retaining Soldiers in the Army is a key mission for the counselors.
Sgt. Maj. Arthur Burd, Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk Command Career Counselor, said retention efforts on Fort Polk are excelling. "This is the second year in a row we've made our mission. Fort Polk is a great place to Soldier."
Brig. Gen. James Yarbrough, commander, JRTC and Fort Polk, stopped by to visit with Soldiers and offer congratulations.
"If you ask any commander what keeps them awake at night," he said, "they will tell you it's the task of keeping the greatest Army in the Army." Yarbrough commended the career counselors for exceeding their goals.
Master Sgt. Eric Huff, JRTC and Fort Polk senior Reserve component career counselor, said Fort Polk has unique problems with retention. Though retention goals are being met, some improvements in the community might make the job easier. "Soldiers either love being here, or hate it. Those who love it invariably enjoy outdoor activities, those who hate it are disappointed in the sparse opportunities for shopping," he said. "The key to Fort Polk becoming the best kept secret in the Army is what happens outside Fort Polk."
Master Sgt. Richard Rieck, senior career counselor for the 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, said a successful retention mission has a lot to do with attitude.
"I try to bring a winning attitude to the team, and I have a lot of good troops, too," he said. "We want every Soldier to know that when they come in to their retention office they can expect honest answers to their questions. This post prides itself on its integrity, and I credit a lot of our success to that integrity."
Rieck said the task is rewarding and daunting. "You have to be the Army's face to the Soldiers who come in your office," he said. "You can't be complacent in this job."