FORT HOOD, Texas - Long hours, overbearing station commanders, seven-day work weeks and strict quotas. These are stereotypes typically associated with being a recruiter for the United States Army. Although recruiting can be challenging, being a 79R is one of the most rewarding assignments in the military, and Sgt. 1st Class Marion Phinazee knows this better than most.

"There\'s nothing greater than when you see a young individual and you get to help them out," said Phinazee, a seasoned Army recruiter now attached to the United States Army Recruiting Command, Fort Knox, Ky. "As a human being, as a Soldier, there's nothing greater that you can do than to help someone."

Sgt. 1st Class Wallace Bias and Sgt. 1st Class Marion Phinazee, USAREC, Fort Knox, Ky., both Army recruiters for the past 11 years, briefed prospective recruiters at the Soldier Development Center from Feb. 2 - 4.

The briefings given by Bias and Phinazee informed noncommissioned officers of the requirements and procedure for creating packets that would allow them to volunteer for recruiting duty. Qualified recruiting volunteers whose packets are selected are then released by their branch managers and given orders to attend recruiting school for six weeks and four days at Fort Jackson, S.C. Upon graduation, recruiters serve a 36-month recruiting tour.

Bias informed the potential recruiters who attended the briefing that it takes dedication to be a successful recruiter.

"You've got to have self discipline," he stated. "You have to be professional and do those things that you know you need to be doing when nobody's looking."

Phinazee added that one has to not only dedicate himself to the job, but also stay focused on the mission. "All you need to do to succeed is keep a good attitude and keep your head up," he said.

Sgt. Theresa L. Unger, a military police officer assigned to the Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, attended the briefing Feb. 2 and expressed her optimism in volunteering to become a recruiter.

"I want to help others better themselves," Unger said. "It's part of my character to help people and show them their opportunities that they would otherwise pass up."

Unger explained that this is her third time entering the military and the experience that she has gained over the years will assist her in becoming a successful recruiter.

"I have a lot of experience in the military, and I think the Army is a great opportunity for others," Unger said. "I want to give recruits guidance and show them their opportunities in the military."

Spc. Michael Walker, a cavalry scout with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Calvary Division, and a former recruiter for the Dothan, Alabama National Guard for one year in 2006 before he entered active duty, also attended the briefing Feb. 2. He has plans to return to recruiting upon promotion to sergeant. For Walker, the ends of recruiting justified the means.

"I liked talking to and influencing others to enlist," Walker said. "The letters the recruits wrote me in basic were often downhearted, but once they got out of basic training and saw me, their attitudes had totally changed."

Walker said that after completion of basic training and advanced individual training, the Soldiers Walker enlisted into the Army often came back to thank him for helping them make a choice to better themselves.

Every Soldier remembers the day he first visited a recruiter. A recruiter not only has the ability to change the lives of both young recruits and older enlistees, but he can also open the door to a successful career path. Recruiters may not have the easiest job in the Army, but they have the chance to give future recruits a job they want, which can make it all worthwhile.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16