JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – The U. S. Army is actively engaging with the public to raise awareness of the many opportunities offered in military service. In that effort, Army leaders are visiting their hometowns to meet with students, parents, educators, and other community influencers. Recently, Maj. Gen. Michael Talley, commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence (MEDCoE), had the opportunity to visit schools in the greater Sacramento, California area, a return to where he lived while his father was stationed at Travis Air Force Base.
During his hometown visit, November 14 and 15, Talley reached over 700 students near the military’s target demographic for new recruits of 18-24 year’s old. Contact outside of Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where the MEDCoE calls home, helps to establish the medical training and education institution as a national asset for future careers in Army Medicine. Planners also used the visit to help improve community relations for Sacramento area Army recruiters.
Lead planner for Talley’s visit, Cpt. Benjamin Wheatley, a member of the newly formed MEDCoE Recruiting Task Force, explained the goal of the trip.
“Reaching out to schools and community leaders, informing them about the benefits of military service, is one of the lines of effort the Army is using to assist in meeting recruitment goals,” Wheatley said. “The Army has numerous opportunities in officer and enlisted career fields, many more than are commonly aware to the general public.”
Talley established the MEDCoE Recruiting Outreach Task Force in October to promote Army Medicine and assist in recruiting. The team has been busy with local San Antonio outreach since then. The Sacramento visit was the first of several recruiting trips planned outside of the state of Texas.
Talley’s first visit was to Fairfield High School, California, where he spoke to over 250 students attending the Sports Medicine focused Patient Care Technical Career Pathway program and Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC). He talked about his life story, including how he considered joining the Air Force like his father, and instead, ultimately chose the Army to take advantage of timely medical training. Talley discussed the many options available for post-graduate training and education and career fields.
Next, Talley was featured live on the local GoodDay Sacramento news station segment during his visit to Vanden High School, where he attended his freshmen, sophomore, and part of his junior year.
“Coming back and sharing my story with the great students gives me an opportunity to talk about what we do in Army Medicine,” said Talley on the televised interview and in front of the school’s Medical Science focused Patient Care Technical Career Pathway program and JROTC students. “It gives exposure to the students that are going to make tough choices in the next couple of years. The Army gives them options to pursue skills and education they would be interested in.”
During the two-day visit, Talley also visited the University of California Davis, California Northstate University College of Medicine, Dublin High School, Sacramento Medical Recruiting Station, and met with local leaders, to include the Dublin Mayor, Melissa Hernandez, and San Francisco Area Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army. Talley also had the chance to attend a key focus city strategic partnership meeting, hosted by the 63rd Readiness Division, that included many local Bay area Army recruiters.
“Think of any medical occupational specialty, ranging from our combat medics, veterinary technicians, dental hygienists, doctors, dentists, nurses, physical therapists, and many more; diversity is our strength,” said Talley. “We matriculate through the Medical Center of Excellence over 30,000 students a year.”
Talley remarked that he would consider the visit a success if the students, parents, educators, and community leaders felt better informed about the diverse medical careers available in the Army and the many ways to begin a career in service.
Upon his return to the MEDCoE, he lauded the recruiting task force for their efforts and encouraged wider participation in community outreach initiatives across the entire command. Fewer than one percent of Americans currently serve in the military. According to the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, of those who serve, 61 percent are more likely to have been exposed to military life through friends or family, and in turn, will go on to encourage their friends and Family to serve.
“We need everyone at MEDCoE to help tell our story,” Talley told an audience at a MEDCoE town hall days after his visit to California. “Our recruiting task force is doing great things, positive effects that will be felt across the Army and Army medicine for years to come.”
The Army offers enlistment contracts ranging from two to six years, duty station of choice, and more than 150 different full and part-time career specialties; over 60 include medical or healthcare specialties.
To learn more about opportunities in the MEDCoE and Army Medicine, visit https://medcoe.army.mil/medical-outreach