A SALUTE TO VETERANS PAST AND PRESENT – And how serving in the military was my introduction into recruitment...

It all started with the military heritage of my family.

On June 16, 1942 the New Mexico Albuquerque Journal had a front page article with photos entitled "GIVE FIVE SONS TO THEIR COUNTRY".  The photos are those of my grandparents, on my mother's side, and their five sons (my uncles-THE CHAVEZ BROTHERS) in military uniform, all in the service (Army and Air Force) at the time--all fighting in airplanes, tanks, ships and in the infantry in WWII. 

My mother worked in the war factories as one of those later referred to as:  “Rosie the Riveter” and my father was in the Military Police during the Korean War. My cousins, nephews and nieces amount to nine who served and are still serving in the military.

My uncles went into the service when the U.S. entered the War in 1941.  Except for one uncle who died in Italy, four of my uncles did return home.  Three of them were still living when my two eldest brothers volunteered for the Marines, and I and my younger brother volunteered for the Army during the Vietnam War. 

I share this here of all places because I actually owe my Army experience to getting into recruitment in the first place.  As fate would have it, I entered the Army in 1971 with clear knowledge that I was Vietnam bound.  Boot Camp was at Fort Polk, La--the jump off point to go, non-stop, to the war zone.  The graduating class just ahead of my class all went straight to Vietnam after Advanced Infantry Training (AIT).  My platoon and company were trained and geared-up to go as well.  Then something unexpectedly happened.  My graduating class were dispersed everywhere but Vietnam.  Some went to Korea, Germany and to bases stateside.  I went straight to Washington D.C. for assignment to the Presidential Traveling Team (that part of the team that arrives ahead of the president to secure places he was scheduled to appear). 

My recent college degree, test scores and performance evaluations rated me tops to go to one of the plum assignments in the military--But I turned it down.  I had just been married during Christmas leave and noted that the Presidential Traveling Team would be traveling 100% of the time and was on-call 24/7.  As a newly married soldier, and among the first in the New All-Volunteer Army, I asked for reassignment to are more challenging job and got it.  I interviewed with the Deputy Director of the Officer Personnel Directorate (OPD) at the Pentagon.  He, a full-bird Colonel, reporting to the Brigadier General for OPD, commented after our interview, "I have a GS-13 Civilian Action Officer retiring this month and I'm putting you in that role."  The colonel placed me on an Action Officer's desk with direct responsibilities for Civilian staffing (recruitment, transfers, promotions, and terminations) serving the fourteen Department of Army level branches, e.g, the Adjutant General, Finance, Infantry, Quartermaster, Aviation, Air Defense, Military Intelligence, Signal, Logistics, etc., along with administering the Army Suggestion Program and Special Projects.

As fate would have it--in 1971 the war in Vietnam was de-escalating and my good fortune was to be at the right place, at the right time—with the right credentials and assessed potential.  So, I've been involved with recruitment and recruitment management since then—going on 40 years now…and still going.



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