KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Mississippi –
Recruiters can leave a lasting impression on potential recruits. Twenty-six years later, Senior Master Sgt. Mark C. Shearin still remembers his recruiter, the man who prompted his future career choice.
“I’ve always wanted to be a recruiter. When I joined the Army, I’ll never forget the shiny shoes my recruiter wore and how sharp he was,” said Shearin, now a senior recruiter for the Air Force Reserve’s 403rd Wing, but this is after serving 18 1/2 years in the active duty U.S. Army, followed by time in the Army, Navy and Air Force Reserve.
He didn’t become a recruiter right away, but he did make the career switch in 2004, when he was a reservist working as a C-17 Globemaster II crew chief at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina. He applied for the recruiting job, and the rest is history.
In addition to looking for qualified men and women to serve in the Air Force Reserve, the Air Force Recruiting Service is also looking for qualified Airmen to fill AF Reserve recruiter positions throughout the United States.
According to Shearin, interested applicants must be an E-4 or above, have completed Airman Leadership School, as well as have a minimum score of 85 on their fitness assessment and a 24 in the general category of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB test. It’s an active, Guard or Reserve assignment, meaning it’s a four-year active duty tour, so members must be willing to move to another base, work there four years, and be willing to move again when their tour is complete.
“Reservists who apply for this need to make sure their family is on board when they make this career changing decision,” he said.
In addition to meeting the job requirements, Shearin said applicants need to become recruiters for the right reasons.
“You need to do this job for more than just the check; you need to want to help people,” he said. “As recruiters we change lives.”
While some high school students know what path they want to pursue after graduation, many teenagers do not.
“Some of these young adults lack direction; they don’t know what they want to do in life,” he said. “As recruiters, we can assist them with their future. The Air Force Reserve can provide them with a part-time job, developmental education and career training, tuition assistance and low-cost health insurance.”
Shearin, and other Reserve recruiters, see the men and women they enlisted return to the 403rd Wing, unlike active duty recruiters who often never see their recruits again.
“It’s so rewarding to see these Airmen come back from technical school because you can see the change in them,” he said.
However, the Air Force Reserve is open to more than graduating seniors.
“I have seen young folks straight out of high school join to get education benefits for their degrees as well as older folks come in later on in life looking to take advantage of our healthcare benefits for their families,” said Master Sgt. Sara House, who is a recruiter in New Orleans, Louisiana, and previously worked in D’Iberville, Mississippi.
House said there are many benefits to being a recruiter, but her favorite part is getting to know the members of the community.
“I talk to the local media stations, high school counselors, first responders and community members on a regular basis,” she said. ““Being a recruiter for the United States Air Force Reserve is an extremely rewarding opportunity, and I would highly recommend this position to folks who are motivated, and like to talk to people.”
Interested applicants can contact Shearin at 228-377-5236 for more information. Qualified members who are selected to become recruiters are required to attend a three-day evaluation and selection course at Robbins Air Force Base, Georgia, followed by the six weeks of Recruiting School at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.