Educating our force multipliers
April 25, 2011
- Former USAREC CSM now and Army Reserve Ambassador coordinator
- Former Major General now an Army Reserve Ambassador
- How recruiters can have USAR Ambassadors help them
Briefings, given to a group of recruiters, are "old hat" for the 81st Regional Support Command's
Strategic Outreach Coordinator, Marty Wells. You see, from September 2006 to March of 2008, everyone in the U.S. Army Recruiting Command referred to him as their CSM, but this time, USAREC's former Command Sergeant Major has a new reason to speak to recruiters - to educate them on the U.S. Army Reserve Ambassador program.
As a civilian now, Wells is the Ambassador Coordinator for the 81st RSC, a job inherent to his Strategic Outreach Coordinator duties. That's no small task considering it entails managing their speaking engagements, filing their quarterly reports and sometimes even arranging travel plans for his 20 ambassadors, most of them former two-star officers.
On April 21, Wells and one of South Carolina's two ambassadors, retired Maj. Gen. George Goldsmith, spoke to a group of 17 students who were about to graduate from USAREC's Company Commander's Course.
Many of the future company commanders were unaware that the Army Reserve even had such a program but were excited to learn that ambassadors could help them open doors to otherwise inaccessible venues.
Capt. John Ladson, of the San Antonio recruiting battalion, admits that prior to the briefing he knew nothing about the ambassador program but realizes how important it is to establish and use "networking" to reach his mission accomplishment.
"Now, with having the Army Reserve Ambassadors in our kit bag, it's just another tool that we can use to reach out to our communities," said Ladson.
Ladson said that now that he knows about ambassadors, he plans on using them at a minimum, quarterly.
"We'll have quarterly future Soldier events and I plan on inviting our ambassadors to speak at those events. In addition to that, I'd like to use my ambassadors as centers of influence within the community, to assist my recruiters in gaining access to schools and areas that were previously difficult for them to get into so," Ladson said.
Before introducing Ambassador Goldsmith to the class, Wells told the students a little bit about Goldsmith's background and what qualifies him to be a subject matter expert. The students were mostly impressed with the fact that ambassadors are volunteers - unpaid champions of the Army Reserve and its cause.
Capt. Andrea Acosta, who is going to the Aguadilla recruiting company, in Puerto Rico, said "I've learned, as company commanders, we're not the only ones out there actually working in the community, that we definitely have help out there with these ambassadors and that they can go out there and help us increase the public's reception of the military and what we do."
Acosta said she thinks the public, generally, has a negative perception of the Army - "they think of what's going on in the Middle East as what represents the Army, but I think with these gentlemen going out into the community, they're not wearing a uniform, they can go in and be able to give the public better information on the Army because either they've been there before, or they have a very strong understanding of all the opportunities the Army has to offer both Soldiers and their families," said Acosta.
Goldsmith, who was selected by the Chief, Army Reserve in 2002, is always eager to tell everyone why he wanted to become an ambassador.
"While I was still serving in the Army Reserve, I was a member of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) and saw how effective AUSA was in servicing as the voice of the Army. I knew when the CAR established the USAR Ambassador Program, in 1998, that there was a critical need for the Army Reserve story to be clearly explained to all of our elected officials and to community leaders. It was obvious that when a Soldier was in uniform that there were limits to what could be discussed in the public arena. So when I retired, I wanted to serve as an ambassador to help present the real story of the success of the Army Reserve," Goldsmith said.
Goldsmith said that talking and getting to know UASR Soldiers and their families during Yellow Ribbon events and during Strong Bond weekends is his favorite part of his job because during those discussions, it gives him an opportunity to explain to Soldiers who are unemployed or underemployed how the Armed Forces Employment Partnership Program can help them in their search for a rewarding new career.
But the ambassador views his number one priority as "ensuring that our elected officials, community leaders, and employers understand the important role that our Army Reserve has in our War on Terror," said Goldsmith.
Speaking about his briefing to the Company Commander's Course, Goldsmith explained "It was my intent to let these commanders know that there is help available to them in each of their recruiting areas. The Army Reserve has ambassadors located in each state and these ambassadors have established a network of key leaders that can be called into action to advise and assist the commanders and their recruiters. The primary point that I wanted to make was that the commanders should not be hesitant to invite an ambassador to discuss key issues and ask for help," Goldsmith added.
Now armed with knowledge of the program, what will the new company commanders do next'
" I'm so excited!' The first thing I'm gonna do is contact my ambassador in Puerto Rico. Just as soon as I get there!" exclaimed Acosta.