As an Air Force recruiter, I get calls and texts daily from individuals that would like to learn more about getting a job in the United States Air and Space Forces. If you are one of those individuals and you are here because you are looking for more information, I applaud you. Why? Because you are willingly looking join a profession of arms that will require much more of you than we require of our citizens. You are willingly looking to volunteer to serve your country in a way that most Americans are not even eligible to. That’s incredible!
Let’s look at the numbers. Less than 25% of Americans are eligible to serve in the military. Less than 6% are eligible to serve in the US Air Force and less than 1% ever do. Are you able and willing to be a part of that 1%? That is a big deal.
The first question I ask you to consider is why. Why are you interested in our branch? For some people it’s the desire to serve, whether it be for reasons of family history (a family member or multiple family members’ service), a close friend or mentor such as a teacher or other influential person. Many people want to join for the benefits. You may know about all of the things you can get for free: housing, healthcare, college education, travel, opportunities and much, much more. While that is absolutely true, you need to understand that whatever your reason is for joining or no matter what you hope to get in exchange for your service, at the top of your list needs to be national defense and service to our country.
One of the greatest things that I have experienced as a recruiter is getting to know individuals like yourself that come from all walks of life. I have helped people of different family backgrounds, religions, colors, races, orientation, personalities and experiences. That diversity is what we need to succeed in the challenges that lie ahead of us. Even though the military will ask you to conform to a different standard and to come together as a uniform force, what we need to know is that at the base of who you are, you have a warrior’s heart and are ready to serve.
No matter what your job will be in the Air Force, you will have a higher calling. You will serve a bigger purpose that you can probably even imagine right now. You will be involved in something so much greater than you’ve ever experienced. You won’t see it everyday because we have so many diverse jobs and career fields and it may feel like a Monday through Friday job most of the time, but one day we will have to answer the call and you have to be ready to do whatever is needed.
The truth is that most of the people that are looking to join the military right now have only known a world where we have been at war. Since 9/11 we have been in an almost constant state of conflict and now our future is at stake with the focus on cyber and space warfare with enemies such as Iraq, Iran, Russia and China. They are not playing and we have a huge responsibility.
Think of America right now and all of the freedom that you have. Freedom to protest, to bear arms, to have a say in our democracy – these are freedoms that other parts of the world do not have and we continue to do our job to protect those freedoms. What we do every day matters. Those things you know to be free because that’s how it’s been since you have been born may not be true anymore for your children if they win.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for taking the time to consider serving your country in a very special way. We have to have Americans that are willing to continue to fight for our freedom.
If your first question to a recruiter is “What can the Air Force offer me?” I will ask that you flip that script and ask yourself, “What can I offer the Air Force?” or better yet “What am I willing to offer the Air Force?”. Service isn’t for everybody. No matter brought you here and what motivates you to join, I hope you qualify. I hope you see it through and I hope that you stay in for a long time.