Recruiting meets Guard strength for 9th year in row

Story by Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Kentucky Governor, Steve Beshear and the Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, join recruiters and new Kentucky Guard recruits on the steps of the State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Nov. 20, 2012. The Guardsmen gathered at the Capitol to celebrate Kentucky meeting its recruiting goal for the ninth year in a row.(Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. Scott Raymond)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — For the ninth year in a row, the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 75th Recruiting and Retention met the state’s assigned end strength goal.  The recruiters of the unit ensured that Kentucky remained above the 7,370 Soldiers needed in its ranks as set by the National Guard Bureau (NGB) in Washington, D.C.

To celebrate the occasion, Kentucky’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini gathered with members of the 2/75th and recent enlistees at the State Capitol in Frankfort, Nov. 20, 2012 to share his congratulations and bestow honors on a select few.

To see more photos from the event, click here.

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Kentucky’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini speaks during a press conference in the State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., to celebrate the 2/75th Recruiting and Retention’s ninth year of meeting its recruiting mission, Nov. 20, 2012. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. Scott Raymond)

“What we do here today, recognizing both our recruiting team and our new recruits, gives a face to the men and women who answer the call, whether it is overseas on a battlefield far away, or here at home during a flood or in the aftermath of a devastating tornado,” said Tonini.

Maj. Fred W. Bates V, Commander of the 2/75th since 2011, said the unit’s success has been one based upon the recruiters’ responsibility for each new Soldier recruited, from the time they swear in to their first day with their new unit. And he believes his unit has fully accepted that responsibility.

“I believe our battalion has been successful for 9 years because we truly place the mission first, and always go the distance to take care of our new Soldiers,” said Sgt. 1st Class Charles Miller, non-commissioned officer in charge of Bravo Company, Detachment 1 of the 2/75th in Louisville, Ky.

Miller has served with the unit for each of those nine years, and was recognized as the area supervisor of the year for Kentucky and also for the entire southeastern region of the United States.

Miller and other recruiters, such as Staff Sgt. Miguel Santiago who was named Kentucky’s recruiter of the year, agreed that their job is about helping others see their potential and not wasting their chance to better themselves in what the recruiters said is one of the greatest opportunities in life.  As their commander, Bates is proud of the hard work of every member of his staff, but more importantly, proud of the message his recruiters are representing.

“We have met mission because the Soldiers in the Kentucky Army National Guard have worked together to show people in the Commonwealth why it is imperative to serve them and our Nation,” said Bates.  “It has been more than just recruiters talking with applicants, Moms, Dads
families; More than sharing what the benefits are in education, job skills, life skills; it is people seeing that the Kentucky National Guard is an organization they want to belong to and want to be a part of.”

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Kentucky Governor, Steve Beshear and the Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, laugh with new Kentucky Guard recruits on the steps of the State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Nov. 20, 2012. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Sgt. Scott Raymond)

The event at the Capitol celebrated the success of the recruiters, but also for a select few of the recruits who recently have raised their hand to serve in the National Guard.  More than 30 of the newest members of the Kentucky National Guard were on hand to be recognized for being among “The Hundred”, who Bates called some of the best and brightest in Kentucky.

Tonini and Bates accepted a challenge from NGB to enlist an additional 100 Soldiers in the final two months of the 2011 fiscal year. Recruiters had to meet their original goal, plus 100. The Kentucky Guard launched a marketing campaign called “Be The Elite” to generate interest in the Guard and  to highlight the benefits of serving their state.  They succeeded and enlisted more than 100 young men and women in the final push. Bates said that is another example of why the adjutant general has such confidence in the unit’s operation and why the state Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP) is ranked 4th out of all 54 states and territories.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear took a few moments out of his busy schedule to also congratulate the recruiters and speak to the newest recruits, thanking them for their dedication to the Commonwealth and their country.

According to Bates, the 2/75th has worked hard to continue building on the foundation set forth by previous commanders and recruiters to stay on track.  He said they have focused on: maintaining integrity, always placing the mission first,  the RSP, officer recruiting, and taking care of families.

“We have the faith and the focus to stay on track and can continue to be successful if we do not take these things for granted,” said Bates.

Along with the 1,200 Airmen of the Air National Guard, Kentucky has 8,570 Guardsmen stationed in more than 50 locations in the Commonwealth.

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