As of 2017, there are currently 503,315 personnel in the Air Force, serving on Active Duty, Reserve, and the Air National Guard. Every week there is a new group of civilians that arrive to basic military training to transform into Airmen. However, the Air Force is always looking for more members.
Airmen did not enter the armed forces on their own. The people who get them through the process of joining the military are the reason why there are so many men and women today able to serve our country.
This is why Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Reeser, a recruiter located in Grand Forks, N.D., dedicates herself to helping people make the transition from being a civilian to becoming an Airman.
Reeser is currently the only Air Force recruiter located in the Grand Forks area, which in itself is no easy feat for one person.
“I have 67 schools in my zone, and although I'm located in Grand Forks, I cover a large radius that includes Pembina to the north, west past Devil's Lake, East to Red Lake, and as far south as Hillsboro and everything in between,” said Reeser.
Because Reeser has a large area to cover, she has to find creative ways to get her message out there to those interested in joining.
“I post up flyers and business cards in all the local restaurants, libraries, gas stations, you name it. I reach out to the local media outlets, like iHeartMedia and the newspapers. I try to be in my schools as much as possible, getting to know the students and faculty. I'm always interacting with the people that I come across, whether it be a business owner or someone who may be interested in the Air Force,” said Reeser.
Even though being a recruiter can be a hectic job to take on, it does not come without the feeling of great accomplishment and reward.
“There are so many memorable moments in recruiting. Every time I send someone to basic training, we meet the day before they leave. These are people that sometimes I have been in contact with for nearly a year. I know what their hobbies are, their favorite bands, their goals, I have met their families. I make sure they have everything packed, and that they are ready to become members of the world’s greatest Air Force,” said Reeser “Once they walk out my office door on that day, I know that the next time I see them, they will be an Airman. I recently was able to have my first recruit come back for recruiter’s assistance. He is an Air Transportation Specialist, and is headed out to McGuire AFB in NJ. It was very rewarding for me to see the process come full circle.”
Being a recruiter for the military might be a job that does not get much notice, but may be the most important, as they are the first step for anyone wanting to pursue a military career. They are the reason why there are so many successful service members who are healthy and able to join. Although healthcare, housing and education benefits may have drawn a new recruit to join, it is the dedication of recruiters, such as Reeser, who continue to work as gatekeepers of our force.