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Air Force recruiter encourages Airmen to inspire others

Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, Air Force Recruiting Service Commander, speaks to students of the Squadron Officer College on Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., May 1, 2017. Harencak visits the SOC as often as possible to promote Airmen to tell their stories to those that may be interested in joining the Air Force. This is part of the We Are All Recruiters initiative Harencak is encouraging throughout the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tammie Ramsouer)

Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, Air Force Recruiting Service Commander, speaks to students of the Squadron Officer College on Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., May 1, 2017. Harencak visits the SOC as often as possible to promote Airmen to tell their stories to those that may be interested in joining the Air Force. This is part of the We Are All Recruiters initiative Harencak is encouraging throughout the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Tammie Ramsouer)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --

Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, Air Force Recruiting Service Commander, visited Air University’s Squadron Officer College on Maxwell Air Force Base, May 1st, 2017.

As part of his mission, Harencak visits Maxwell frequently to speak with students about the importance of recruiting future Airmen.

“When I came into command of the recruiting service, I didn’t know anything about recruiting,” the 1988 SOC graduate said. “Most Airmen don’t understand recruiting. They don’t understand what’s involved and what it takes to inspire, engage and recruit the next generation of Airmen.”

The Air Force Recruiting Service comprises more than 2,470 Airmen and civilians in more than 1,100 recruiting offices across the U.S. and abroad. Despite the dedicated role of these Airmen to recruit for the Air Force, Harencak knows it’s not enough.  He believe that recruiting is the responsibility of every Airman.

“The purpose of me speaking to these students is two-fold,” Harencak said. “One, is for them to get an understanding of what it’s like to recruit today, and to make sure everyone is educated on the importance of doing what our song says which is ‘make sure we’re followed by more’. More importantly, it’s to gain their help. All of us need to help talk about our brand of the U.S. Air Force and talk about the value of our service.”

Since Harencak has been visiting Air University, he has seen a significant increase in the We Are All Recruiters program. A WEAR event is an event where the interaction of Air Force personnel educates and increases public awareness of the Air Force, and could potentially provide numerous leads for recruiters.

Harencak added that many of the influencers for younger generations joining the military are no longer present in today’s society. The number of core influencers has gone down drastically from 40 percent in 1995 to 14 percent in 2016, he said.

The most significant impact that influences people to join the Air Force is having parents or grandparents who have served.  Per the Los Angeles Times, surveys suggest that as many as 80% of those who serve come from a family in which a parent or sibling also has a military background.

In certain demographic groups, 85 percent of parents will say, “No, do not join the U.S. military”, Harencak said.

“That’s a problem, and that’s what we have to change,” he said.

The biggest deterrent for recruiting is the possibility of losing their life.

“The number of people who have died on Texas roads in 2016 is 3,515,” Harencak said. “That number is significantly higher than that of our military who have died while in combat since 2000. You have a much higher risk driving on the Texas highway system than joining the U.S. Air Force.”

Harencak advised the students to combat the negativities, and become today’s influencers that are no longer here to help with the recruiting initiative.

“We all need to be actively telling our stories, no matter who you are, so we can build that influence back up the best we can he said. “I hope the people I do speak to get fired up, and realize that it’s not just me and my 1400 recruiters in over 1200 locations around the world doing a job that everyone can participate in. We all need to work together and be a part of that.”

For more information about this recruiting initiative, contact the 331st Air Force Recruiting Squadron at 334-953-0399, or you can visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/331RCS/.