By Alun Thomas, U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion, Phoenix:
(El Paso, Texas, Nov. 22, 2017)
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Phoenix Recruiting Battalion hosted 28 foreign military attaches on their Foreign Military Orientation Trip for the Washington Corps of Military Attaches, Nov. 13, at the Scottsdale Recruiting Center.
The visit was part of a weeklong trip to Arizona and Texas, where the attaches are observing the U.S. Army and how it functions. It includes stops at Fort Huachuca and Fort Bliss, among others. The attaches included officers from nations such as Canada, China, Israel, Namibia, New Zealand, Portugal, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.
The attaches were welcomed by Command Sgt. Maj. Jose Gomez, command sergeant major, Phoenix Rec. Bn., 1st Sgt. Ben Dojaquez, first sergeant, Phoenix Central Recruiting Company, and Sgt. 1st Class Fernando Gonzalez, center leader, Scottsdale Rec. Cen., all of whom briefed the visitors on how the battalion performs its recruiting duties.
Gomez explained to the attaches that only three out of 10 applicants qualify for military service, which makes the Army anything but a last resort.
“We only accept the best. We turn a lot of applicants away due to moral violations, failing the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) and height and weight issues,” Gomez said. “It’s tough getting the right ones out of that group, but our recruiters do a great job finding them.”
Gomez spoke at length about the procedures involved in placing an applicant in the Army, from the moment they walk into the recruiter’s office, to the final stage at the Military Entrance Processing Station.
“We go out and visit high schools, colleges, and give them presentations about the benefits of joining the Army,” Gomez said. “We offer free college education, medical benefits and a variety of more than 150 jobs they might be interested in. By doing this we hope to get them to walk through our doors and ask more questions.”
Brigadier James Carr-Smith, military attaché, United Kingdom Army, asked Gomez how long the process took to place someone in the U.S. Army, from the moment they walk in the door, to the final steps at MEPS.
“From the time a recruit first sits down in front of a recruiter, until the time they walk out of MEPS, the fastest time you’ll get is 14 days. Right now as a battalion, it’s closer to 32 days,” Gomez said. “Some centers take longer than others, but that’s the average.”
Carr-Smith said the system moves much slower in the U.K. and expressed his amazement at the speed Phoenix recruiters are able to ship recruits out.
“Thirty-two days? That’s amazingly fast,” Carr-Smith said. “That’s someone who’s just walked through the door, and says ‘I’m interested in joining the Army’? And 32 days later, they’ve got a haircut, got a uniform on and are training?”
Gomez said yes, but it’s dependent on what job the Future Soldier enlists for and when the next training cycle starts; however the recruit can be shipped out in that time frame.
“If we lose a Future Soldier who’s ready to ship out, we can replace them with another recruit with the same job, which could mean they ship out in 14 days,” Gomez explained. “Ultimately, we have to achieve our mission. We don’t have a backup, or someone to help us.”
“It’s us or nobody – that’s it,” he said. “That’s why this job is tough. There’s a lot of pressure on the recruiters to do well and I’m proud of our team.”