By Jim Frost
5th Recruiting Brigade
September 27, 2017
SAN ANTONIO - The U.S. Army 5th Recruiting Brigade hosted its annual Reserve Recruiting Partnership Council Sept. 15 at the 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Reserve Center located on Joint Base Fort Sam Houston.
The R2PC is designed to improve communications and mutual partnerships between U.S. Army Recruiting Command and local Army Reserve units in order to fill critical reserve vacancies and maintain the strength of the U.S. Army.
Brig. Gen. Jason Walrath, USAREC deputy commanding general - support, joined Col. Terence Huston, 5th Recruiting Brigade commander, for the event and said conferences like the R2PC are essential for developing positive relationships.
"Relationships matter - and this is what that's all about," Walrath said. "This is definitely the place to start. We talk a lot about maintaining the strength of the Army, and one great way to do that is to improve our reserve readiness. When we get all the key players in the room, we quickly learn there are tremendous opportunities to build the types and kinds of relationships we need to be successful in increasing the strength of the Army Reserve. That is our intent ... to identify and leverage new opportunities to make things better."
Participants from 31 Army Reserve units, the Reserve Officers' Training Corp, the Army Reserve Careers Division and Reserve Component Career Counselors were on hand for the event. The participants provided overview briefings, outlined the challenges facing them, and discussed their personnel issues. The objective was for each of the attendees to work together to develop strategies that will help enhance recruiting and retention efforts.
"This is a tremendous program designed to get the right people in the right jobs at the right places," said Sgt. Maj. Gary Harwood, the brigade's reserve operations sergeant major and a key organizer for the event. "The Army Reserve faces some unique challenges, with one of the most difficult issues being trying to get vacancies filled in areas with limited populations. Meetings like this don't solve all the difficulties, but they do make a huge difference when people address individual problems as a team."
For coming fiscal year, the 5th Recruiting Brigade plans to add emphasis on reaching more Hispanic individuals, women and those with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math.
"As our recruiters prepare for another year of recruiting success, we know we'll have to do better with recruiting many more talented men and women from ethnically diverse backgrounds," Huston said. "Recruiting partnerships with Reserve units are not just vital to the Army Reserve, they are also paramount to our collective success as an Army and a nation. The strength of today's Army is not just its active duty forces. It takes more than that. Clearly, it's our total team of Army Reserve and active-duty professionals that combine to make us the best Army in the world."