FORT HOOD, Texas - How many of us have had a Platoon Sergeant or First Sergeant say to us, "Recruiting was the worst three years of my life; only a fool would volunteer to be a Recruiter." In their defense, the U.S. Army recruiting Command, or USAREC, of old had that affect on many of the Soldiers who served a tour of duty within its ranks. So why would anyone ever volunteer for recruiting duty? Well, because this isn't your First Sergeant's or Sergeant Major's USAREC anymore.

Recruiting Command, just like other Army units, has had its share of black eyes over the years. It's been plagued by leadership issues, excessive work hours, pressure to make mission, you name it. Now I will admit, as someone who has spent the last 11 years of his career serving in USAREC, I have not described an organization anyone , to include myself , would volunteer to be a part of. But I believe the sign of any great organization is measured not by its ability to accomplish an assigned mission but by its ability to identify the need for change and successfully implement that change while accomplishing the mission. During the past few years that is exactly what USAREC has done.

So what's new? Recruiting Command has successfully implemented many new programs focusing on the quality of life of recruiters and their families.

Commander's Work Hour Policy: Gone are 14-hour-duty days in recruiting. In 2009 the commanding general implemented a work-hour policy setting duty hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for all of Recruiting Command.

Team Recruiting: Also gone are the days of Recruiters signing for individual missions. The mission is now assigned to the recruiting station and recruiters within each station work as a team to accomplish their assigned mission by focusing on each individual Recruiter's strengths.

Leased Family Housing: One of the unique attributes of Recruiting Command is the ability to be stationed almost anywhere. With that comes assignments to areas of the country with a considerably higher cost of living than others, and although your Basic Allowance for Housing is adjusted by zip code, sometimes it's simply not enough. The Leased Family Housing initiative is very similar to on post housing: the Army Corps of Engineers inspects and approves your home then contracts with your property management group for your rent and utilities.

Gym Memberships: We all know physical fitness is important, but for years in Recruiting Command if you wanted to go to a gym you had to pay for the membership out of your own pocket. Not anymore. All recruiters who are not by a military instillation can have a membership to a local gym provided to them free of charge.

Family and Well-Being Initiatives: USAREC understands a strong family makes a strong Recruiter and the Command is consistently improving support to Soldiers and their families. Each battalion has a Soldier and Family Support Advocate, who assists Soldiers and families with in TRICARE and family program issues. USAREC also provides assistance with childcare for Soldiers assigned to geographically dispersed units and spouse employment.

Those are just a few of the changes happening within Recruiting Command, but there are also a few things that haven't changed,

Unique Leadership and Training Opportunities: Being an Army Recruiter will help you develop leadership and inter-personal skills that will benefit you throughout your Army career. Imagine having the opportunity to use your training skills to prepare future Soldiers for Basic Training.

Special Duty Pay: Detailed Recruiters receive $450 per month in Special Duty Pay; $150 more than you would make as a Drill Sergeant.

Recruiter Expense Account: As a Recruiter you will need to spend money on work-related items, such as taking prospects to lunch. To help compensate you for these expenses, Recruiters have authorized expense accounts.

Favorable Consideration for Centralized Promotion Boards: As the Army continues to draw down its end strength, competition for promotions will naturally become more competitive and the need to separate yourself from your peers will become more important than ever. A tour of duty with Recruiting Command is one of the best ways to not only separate yourself from your peers but also show the Army you are a versatile Soldier who is capable of operating in any environment.

Ability to tell your Army story: As a Recruiter, you are a member of an organization that has some of the toughest qualifications in the Army and if you make to cut, you have the unique opportunity to tell your Army Story to America. You will also play a key role in shaping the Army's future

That's a little bit about today's Recruiting Command. Is it for you? That's a question each of you has to answer for yourself.

My name is Sgt. 1st Class Jeff White; I am the 1st Cavalry Division outreach noncommissioned officer. A 79R, professional Recruiter, with more than 11 years experience in recruiting, one of my duties is to assists Soldiers with the information needed to determine whether a recruiting assignment is right for them.

Page last updated Fri October 12th, 2012 at 00:00