Wisconsin Recruiting Station Commander Takes Pride in Helping People Reach Goals
June 2, 2011
After three years of competing against his fellow recruiters, Sgt. 1st Class Eric Tremblay was excited to discover that not every recruiting battalion worked that way. When he came to the Milwaukee Battalion he learned he would be working with a team.
Tremblay was used to assuming responsibility for every phase of the enlistment process but he said he always thought that dividing the labor and working as a team was a better way to recruit for the Army.
“When I first came out in recruiting it was every man for himself. It was highly stressful and it discouraged cohesion within the station,” Tremblay said. “There were so many responsibilities, many of the important things like Future Soldier management would go overlooked because it was always about getting the next contract.”
Yet he felt so compelled to change the status quo that he implemented a kind of team recruiting for a six-week stint when his station had no permanent station commander.
“We found a way to work together and distribute contracts instead of cutting each other’s throats,” Tremblay said.
But his experiment did not stick once a senior noncommissioned officer was appointed station commander.
When Tremblay was reassigned to Milwaukee Recruiting Battalion, he was amazed to learn that team recruiting was a fully-integrated concept. He had no idea that some battalions had been working out the particulars of team recruiting.
“I was happy because it was exactly what recruiting should have been from day one,” he said.
He was put in charge over two other Soldiers. He shifted through various roles from prospector to counselor all the while he was a team leader. It took some time to determine the best way to make use of each Soldiers’ talents but in the end the results surpassed what he would have accomplished as his own under legacy recruiting.
“We were a success. My team always was one of the top of the battalion each year. It worked,” Tremblay said.
Over the years he has come to learn that team recruiting doesn’t work automatically. One person can potentially ruin the overall success of the team.
“Every team member has to hold each other accountable. Everybody has to have the desire to win as a team,” he said.
Tremblay said there was a time when he started recruiting in 2004 that he didn’t have that desire. In fact, it took him more than four months to enlist someone.
Eventually he came to terms with the fact that recruiting was an indispensable mission for the Army and he took as a personal challenge that he would overcome.
“Once I kept doing it, it got easier,” he said. “I took pride in helping people reach their goals. I was excited to watch civilians come back from Basic Combat Training as Soldiers. It was satisfying to see the transformation.”
Tremblay said he got good at recruiting. He adjusted to the circumstances and established himself well in the community. After two years of recruiting, he was designated top recruiter of the Mid Atlantic Recruiting Battalion in 2006.
Tremblay has been with the Milwaukee Recruiting Battalion for three years; and station commander of the Onalaska Recruiting Station for nearly two years.
“As a station commander I have learned that you have to allow the Soldiers the opportunity to innovate and solve some of the problems on their own,” Tremblay said. “I feel it motivates them and allows them to experiment, learn from their mistakes, and grow as leaders.”
Giving Soldiers the opportunity to develop as recruiters and grow as leaders in their own right is what Tremblay said is the best thing a station commander can do for his subordinates.
Tremblay is from Lisbon, Maine. He joined the Army in June 1998 as an indirect fire infantryman. Four years later he reclassified as an internment resettlement specialist. He served as an internment resettlement specialist for two and a half years before becoming a recruiter.
In October, U.S. Army Recruiting Command declared Fiscal Year 2011 “The Year of the Station Commander.” The Milwaukee Recruiting Battalion selected Tremblay as the Station Commander of the Month for April.