Station Commander Models Recruiting After Infantry
July 12, 2011
It’s never easy giving up a passion. Sgt. 1st Class Jacob Lopez still misses the sense of brotherhood from eating, breathing and sleeping alongside his fellow Soldiers training in the field or defending freedom overseas.
“In recruiting, everybody lives more spread out and tends to want to do their own thing once getting off work,” Lopez said.
But he’s not one to lament on the shortcomings of any situation. He prefers to make things work toward his advantage.
“I did four deployments when I was in the infantry so I’m a firm believer that life is too short. Every chance I get to spend with the family I will definitely take it,” Lopez said.
In July 2008, after doing well in recruiting for a year and a half under legacy, Lopez converted his military occupational specialty to recruiting. At the time, the Indianapolis Battalion implemented team recruiting which resulted in Lopez having charge of two Soldiers.
“I quickly trained them and within no time we became one of the top three fire teams in the company and sustained that momentum for many months to follow,” Lopez said. “If you can show a recruiter how something can be done whether it is making an appointment on the phone or posting some brochures in an establishment that recruiter can learn from you and grow much quicker.”
Lopez said he was pleased when team recruiting was implemented during his stint with the Indianapolis Battalion.
“I believe that legacy recruiting takes away what the Army really stands for and believes in. Everywhere else in the Army we fight and maneuver together as a team making us more efficient and the most powerful force in the world,” Lopez said.
Team recruiting doesn’t automatically make things easier. It requires all members doing their part and understanding each other.
“No one can afford to be an individual in team recruiting, bottom line,” he said.
If it seems that team recruiting is open to disruption by a member who doesn’t carry his weight, Lopez said leaders and station commanders are the ones who ensure teams function.
Lopez wasted no time demonstrating his leadership capabilities under team recruiting.
In May 2010, he was reassigned to Milwaukee Recruiting Battalion and assumed duties at Dixon Recruiting Station.
“I was very excited because even though I was coming over here (to Dixon, Ill.) as a team leader I was still going to be running my own station. I told myself over and over that this was my chance to shine and prove to everybody what I was capable of doing as an on-production station commander,” Lopez said.
Nine months later Lopez was given the position of station commander overseeing two stations and six Soldiers.
As a team leader and now as a station commander, Lopez has counted on the leadership qualities he gleaned from his station commanders while with the Indianapolis Battalion. Upholding standards, training Soldiers, and making time for family are all aspects he takes seriously.
He also takes seriously something that he learned from his days in the infantry. That is, the effect of comradery upon the team. To build comradery among his Soldiers, Lopez holds physical fitness training among his stations three or four times a week. In addition, he requires all his Soldiers to participate in Future Soldier training once a week. Once a month they get together for recreation.
“This keeps cohesion going. It breaks the monotony of (office) work. And it allows everyone to be able to joke and relax,” Lopez said.
So although he can’t recreate the conditions that gel infantry Soldiers into a single-moving unit, he believes that comradery can exist in recruiting.
His hard work as a station commander paid off in May. Within the Milwaukee Recruiting Battalion he was selected as the station commander of the month as part of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command “Year of the Station Commander.”