By Kelli Bland
USAREC Public Affairs
July 26, 2016
FORT KNOX, KY. - The top non-commissioned officer in Army special operations used his own experiences as a former recruiter to inspire new students in the Army Recruiter Course here July 25.
Command Sgt. Maj. Rob Abernethy, who serves as the senior enlisted leader for U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, visited the Recruiting and Retention School to demonstrate the value a broadening assignment in recruiting can add to an NCO's career.
"I learned things about myself and about being a leader while serving as a recruiter that led me to the position I am in now," said Abernethy, who recruited in Mississippi from 1996 until 1998. "Before becoming a recruiter, I was a completely introverted person who didn't feel comfortable in a crowd."
When one NCO expressed concern over a perceived stigma of recruiting duty and how three years away from the infantry could impact his career, Abernethy used his personal experience as an example, noting he was "voluntold" to become a recruiter and had to take a break from special operations to do so.
The now USASOC command sergeant major told the future recruiter any negative perceptions about recruiting duty must be fixed at the ground level.
"Stay connected to your peers and tell them about your experiences. The stigma is built on ignorance," he said, adding senior leaders also need to help change perceptions and demonstrate the real value and potential for growth U.S. Army Recruiting Command offers its Soldiers.
"If you are not excited about the duty ahead of you, you should be," Abernethy told the students. "Recruiting is a new challenge, and it will make you a better leader in the long run. Your listening abilities will improve. Your speaking abilities will improve. You will be self-motivated and self-confident."
While reminding the future recruiters of the important role they soon will play in the future readiness of the Army, Abernethy also highlighted the career development opportunity awaiting each of them.
"Recruiting is a broadening assignment," he said. "The aim of broadening assignments is to create flexible, agile and adaptive leaders. Recruiting will do that for you."