By 1st Lt. Jonathan Denton
Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Apr. 05, 2016
Like many Soldiers, I enlisted in the U.S. Army to better myself while doing something I loved.
My Army journey began with a recruiter helping me, then blossomed, when I became a recruiter and had the opportunity to help others.
I enlisted in 2001 shortly after 9/11. Three years later, I was DA selected to recruit. Initially, I was not happy about this, but quickly discovered how rewarding recruiting is, because it gave me the opportunity to help people change their lives for the better.
Despite all the negative comments you may have heard about recruiting, I encourage all recruiters to make the most of this opportunity.
I have met Soldiers who endured far worse conditions than I did growing up, who turned their lives around by serving their country.
I worked two jobs after high school to pay for community college. I was excited about earning a degree, but after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, my desire to serve my country became my priority. I enlisted with seven friends due to my recruiter's relentless pursuit.
While in the Delayed Entry Program, I considered not shipping, because my father passed away. The recruiting station sent flowers to the funeral and offered my mother assistance. This reinvigorated my interest, and I shipped to Basic Training April 11, 2002, as a 12M, Army Firefighter.
I was promoted to sergeant in a couple of years, then DA selected for recruiting in 2005 and assigned to Jacksonville Battalion, Tallahassee North Recruiting Station.
My goal as a recruiter was to recruit the best for every MOS. I earned several awards, including the Glenn E. Morrell Award.
I found recruiting challenging and rewarding. My recruits came from a variety of backgrounds, and I worked with each tailoring a plan of action to achieve their individual goals and desires.
I still keep in contact with many of my recruits and their parents.
Being a recruiter also helped me develop professionally. I picked up invaluable skills in organization and communication, elevating my competitive drive.
After recruiting duty, I became a platoon sergeant at Fort Stewart, Georgia. I volunteered for a combat deployment on a security team, enrolled in classes, and took my homework in my assault bag while participating in more than 165 road missions.
I completed almost an entire year of college doing homework on a cot in transient tents. I redeployed to Fort Hood, Texas, and finished my degree in 2013 at the age of 31. I never wasted time and set goals to help me progress.
I re-enlisted indefinitely and was promoted to sergeant first class shortly after I moved to Fort Hood. I attended Officer Candidate School and the Basic Officer Leadership Course in 2013 at age 33. I'm currently a military police platoon leader at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
I encourage recruiters to take their jobs seriously and take advantage of this great opportunity. Don't allow negative comments you may have heard about USAREC to taint your impression of the profession. Work hard for the Army's goals, make the organization better, and the program will re-pay you in ethics, morals, and drive.