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Navy recruiter in the spotlight: looking to be a leader in America’s military

By Burrell Parmer | Navy Recruiting District San Antonio Public Affairs | Nov. 2, 2018

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas —

“Now that I am in the Navy, I’m not only representing myself as a man, but also my parents,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Vincent Barnes Jr., assigned to Navy Recruiting Station New Braunfels, Navy Recruiting District San Antonio.

Barnes was born in Chicago and grew up in Memphis, Tenn. After graduating from Cordova High school in 2008, he enrolled in a private college in Kentucky where he spent his time attending classes and working for UPS at night.

“I never knew anything about the military because I never paid attention to it while growing up,” Barnes said. “I was always told that the only way to be successful is to go to college right after high school so that was my goal at that time.”

Barnes remembers contacting companies which he wanted to work for after college.

“I asked them what I needed, other than a degree, to get my foot in the door and the consensus was about two years of work experience at a reputable company,” Barnes said. “So I decided I did not want to keep compiling debt and not know if I would even get a job that I was aiming for.”

According to Barnes, a recruiting advertisement sparked his interest to seek military service.

“I saw a Navy commercial and it caught my attention,” said Barnes, who was recruited from Navy Recruiting Station Louisville. “One word caught my attention: travel. I went to see recruiters for the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. The rest is history.”

Barnes joined the Navy in July 2009, and has served on the USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723), as well as the USS Frank Cable (AS-40) and USS Emory S. Land (AS-39).

“I joined the Navy because they offered me opportunities and a challenge that no one else had,” Barnes said. “I wanted to push myself and not back down from any challenges. I wanted to travel the world and I knew that the Navy covers water, which makes up most of the world.”

Barnes started his recruiting career at NRD San Antonio in April 2016.

“I heard about Sailors being selected for recruiting duty from the ‘cream of the crop,’” Barnes said. “I also heard that recruiting was very challenging and I wanted a challenge in order to be one of the elite.

“Recruiting is important to me because the Navy has a reputation for having the most highly developed technology of all the armed services,” Barnes said.  “I believe we need the best and brightest to operate our equipment and ensure we maintain our reputation as these young bright minds replace us.”

According to Barnes, recruiting is unique because it is independent duty.

“The mentoring I provide, training, presentations, as well as my interview-to-contract process is all done my way which helps me to be successful in ways that others may not be,” Barnes said. “I've overcome the challenge of being taken out of my comfort zone and going alone to speak in front of hundreds of kids at multiple schools and colleges. I have also overcome the challenge of selling something non-tangible in the form of careers and dreams.”

Barnes is appreciative of the Navy which has provided him with financial stability and job security.

“The Navy has paid for my personal education and training,” Barnes said.  He is currently attending Ashford University pursing a degree in Organizational Management. “It has also helped me build and purchase my new home at the age of 26.”

While assigned to NRD San Antonio, Barnes has been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, recognized as the Enlisted Leads Recruiter of the Year, received the Admiral's Warrior Award and was meritoriously advanced to the petty officer first class.

During his off-duty time, Barnes volunteers at local schools and within the community.

“I volunteer as a personal trainer and develop meal plans,” Barnes said. “Personal trainers and meal plans can be expensive, so I enjoy helping others for nothing more than genuinely wanting to help them reach their fitness goals for a healthier lifestyle.”

Barnes’ goals are to join the Career Recruiting Force, serve a minimum of 20 years of service, and attain a master’s degree.

According to Barnes, the best part of the Navy is its diversity, as well as travel and networking opportunities.

“Being trained by and training men and women of multiple ethnicities and ages are priceless,” said Barnes. “We all learn in different ways and diversity offers endless outlooks and input to create maximum growth both personally and professionally.”

Barnes takes pride in everything he does.

“The Navy has taught me to be a leader since boot camp and I never stop learning how to be a better leader,” Barnes said. “That alone will follow me through the rest of my career and my life in general.”

NRD San Antonio recruits in an area covering more than 144,000 square miles of Texas territory, spanning from Waco, west to Midland/Odessa, southwest towards El Paso, southeast along the Rio Grande Valley, and west of College Station.

Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, two Navy Recruiting Regions, 20 Navy Recruiting Districts and six Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 1,000 recruiting stations across the country.

 The Navy’s recruiting force totals over 6,100 personnel in more than 1,000 recruiting stations around the globe. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.