Story and Photos by Sgt. Broderick Hennington, 1st Cavalry Division public affairs
FORT HOOD, Texas-- Recruiting new Soldiers is a vital function for maintaining the world’s premier volunteer military force, the U.S. Army, but equally important is retaining its most highly qualified Soldiers.
The Army recently missed its recruiting goal by several thousand, making retention of current Soldiers even more important.
“There is an equal relationship between recruiters and career counselors to make the Army’s retention a success,” Staff Sgt. Katrisha Jansen, career counselor, with 1-12th, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division said. “When they struggle, we struggle. I feel we’re picking up the slack, but we are working together find what’s missing.”
The Army provides benefits healthcare, education and other benefits for Soldiers and their Families. It also provides enlistment incentives.
Those characteristics have driven the Army’s ability to meet recruiting goals, but a competitive civilian sector, which is now offering many of the same benefits, is competing with the military for highly qualified recruits and talent.
Jansen, a native of Eureka, Illinois, excels at identifying highly qualified Troopers within 1st Squadron, 12th Cavalry Regiment’s formation and meeting their needs to continue their military career.
“Joining the Army is a big decision,” said Jansen. “It’s our responsibility as career counselors to help them fully understand everything the Army has to offer them. We sit down with the Soldier and identify what works best for them.”
Jansen is nearing ten months as a career counselor, and she takes pride in doing whatever is possible to assist 1st CAV Troopers complete their reenlistment.
“A Soldier who had just become the custodial parent for his son wanted to change his Military Occupational Specialty,” Jansen said. “We worked together for three months to find something that would work for him as a single father. I was thrilled to help him because the entire process was out of love for his son.”
Although Jansen is still learning her position, she still excels. Her desire to help Soldiers has enabled her to achieve, and surpass her retention goal in June, four months before the target date.
“Staff Sgt. Jansen closing her mission this early shows how hardworking and dedicated she is to the Soldiers of 1-12 CAV,” said Staff Sgt. Kendall Howard, 1st Cavalry Division junior retention operations Noncommissioned Officer. “This fiscal year's requirement has proved to be very difficult for other units throughout the Army. However, she pressed on and got it done.”
Jansen was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal July 11,2022, by, Maj. Gen. John Richardson, commanding general, 1st Cavalry Division, for her role in reaching the retention goal for this fiscal year, which is 56 personnel.
During Jansen’s award ceremony, Maj. Gen. John Richardson praised Jansen for her work as he addressed the 1-12 CAV formation.
“She’s passionate about her job and she’s passionate about helping you all,” said Maj. Gen. John Richardson. “You have a career counselor who will get the assignment for you. Whatever you need, she will find it. She seeks things out and doesn’t wait for things to happen.”
Although this is Jansen’s accomplishment, she relishes in acknowledging the support she continues to receive from the 1-12 CAV Troopers and leadership.
“It was the Soldiers,” Jansen said. “The Soldiers in the 1-12th are great. They know what they want, and we do what we make it work. Secondly, the support from the command teams was amazing. They want their Soldiers to succeed.”