When U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Kenya Dugger left San Diego in January 2000, he didn’t have a clear idea of what the future would hold. He just knew joining the Army would provide him the opportunity to be “better than I was yesterday” and he would encourage others to follow in his footsteps.
This week, the U.S. Army kicked off its first nationwide virtual hiring campaign with a goal of recruiting 10,000 new Soldiers to serve in 150 different occupations. Army National Hiring Days is an all-Army effort to inspire individuals across the nation to "Join Us."
As part of the event, Army leaders, operational units, recruiters and community partners across America are focused on encouraging individuals to explore the Army's career paths, ranging from traditional combat roles to support positions in logistics, engineering and technology. They will also highlight the benefits of military service, to include health insurance, retirement plans, training and education opportunities, and family support programs.
The son of Navy veterans, Dugger’s choice to join the Army was initially surprising, but meeting with the Army recruiter seemed a logical choice when affording college and finding meaningful employment proved difficult.
“I joined the Army to find a life purpose, to do something that mattered,” Dugger said. For the last 20 years that purpose has been serving in locations around the world as a tactical signal support specialist (Military Occupational Specialty “25U”).
“Honestly, I did not know too much about being a 25U. The recruiter described it the best way with a rough analogy -- like watching an old war movie, you are the guy in the middle of the fight with a radio on his back.”
His career has included jumping out of airplanes while serving as a team chief at Fort Bragg and working as the G-6 (signal) sergeant major in Daegu, Korea, performing joint operations with Soldiers from 11 foreign countries. Along the way, he completed five combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Over the years, he has seen the Army culture change as the institution works to break down racial and gender inequalities while remaining committed to the seven Army values -- loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage.
He is putting those values, along with his experience and doctorate in organizational leadership, to use in his current position as the senior enlisted advisor at the Center for the Army Profession and Leadership, Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Here, the Army is working initiatives such as talent management, assessing leader development, and building the Army profession. These programs and products will help Soldiers and leaders grow personally and professionally throughout their careers.
“To become a Soldier is not an easy task, but it is achievable. A person considering the Army has to realize that the Army is not a job, but an idea. A belief in servant leadership, with the understanding that your commitment does not end when you leave work for the day,” he said.
To learn more about the Army and Army National Hiring Days, interested individuals can visit www.goarmy.com/hiringdays to see if they meet the qualifications, learn about job opportunities and associated hiring incentives, and connect with a recruiter.