JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
In the final stretch of a fiscal year quest to meet Air Force Recruiting Service’s goal and Air Force manpower requirements, the service’s senior recruiter outlined a novel competition and criteria for coveted awards.
Maj. Gen. Edward Thomas’ May 31, 2022 memorandum for more than 3,000 Airmen and civilians in his command, describes the fiscal 2022 Commander’s Cup Challenge. The “C3” is part of an overall campaign to overcome the Department of Defense-wide recruiting “headwinds” that have made fiscal 2022 the toughest year for recruiters since 1999.
“I briefed the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff this week and they appreciate how the team is hustling and running hard towards the goal line,” Thomas said. "This Commander's Cup is just one more way to help cheer on and keep up the drive of this hard-working team. Regardless of which units take this award, finishing strong and making our 2022 goal will take all of us. We are America's premier recruiting team and I am inspired by how this group of professionals is pulling out all the stops to protect our readiness and keep the pipeline of recruits flowing."
His C3 plan bears the hallmarks of many sports championships including organization, judging, scoring, timing and rewards for team as well as individual performance. AFRS’s operations division tracks performance and maintains a “scorecard” so competitors can see how squadrons and individual recruiters are faring. “We really want recruiters to be excited as they check their stats each week the same way they’d check on their favorite sports teams or players throughout the season,” said Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Neff, enlisted standards non-commissioned officer in AFRS’s Operations Division at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.
To keep the C3 fair, Neff and other members of his team looked at five years’ worth of data and then organized three groupings containing eight comparable enlisted accessions squadrons. The ad hoc divisions are identified as the Red, White and Blue Divisions during the C3.
“We realize that markets in each squadron vary, so dividing our units into these divisions offers every recruiter a chance to compete and show us their true potential,” Neff said.
Each squadron earns points according to performance in eight categories. Points are deducted for shortfalls. “We want to reward squadrons that manage their processes in a way that is best for the Air Force,” Neff said.
Squadrons can score additional points for quarterly New Enlistment Contract overproduction and low levels of Delayed Entry Program discharges and in-week cancellations in June, July, August and September.
The top squadron in each division at the end of fiscal 2022 receives a Commander’s Cup trophy during the unit’s annual awards banquet sometime in fiscal 2023 which begins Oct. 1, 2022.
Just like professional athletes who don championship garb, a winning squadron’s Airmen can show their pride by wearing a specially-designed fiscal 2022 C3 morale patch throughout fiscal 2023. “Just like we do with our (recruiter) Silver and Gold Badges, giving recruiters a chance to represent their hard work will hopefully motivate them to continue the amazing things they did the previous year and show everyone why they’re the best,” Neff said.
Neff’s team created a unique, “puzzle-coin” award for individual recruiters. Squadron performance matters for this sophisticated keepsake.
“When a squadron scores 150 points in a given month, each of its recruiters qualifies and receives 25% of the coin which will feature various aircraft,” Neff said.
The objective with the “puzzle coin” challenge is that squadrons will reach at least 150 points per month and while it’s possible to finish fiscal 2022 with only 75% of a puzzle coin completed, Neff built a way for squadrons to get all four pieces with a strong September. He said that if a squadron reaches 700 points on Sept. 30, it automatically receives 100% of the coin.
“It really drives home the point that, although you might not have had a good month or a good half, you can’t give up and the whole team makes a difference in the end.”