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Air Guard recruiting: We are all recruiters

MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- As the California Air National Guard enters another challenging year of recruiting the brightest and best men and women to serve their state and country, recruiting's base and national support continues to grow.

As 129th Rescue Wing members take advantage of the $2,000 paid to those who help friends enlist through the Guard Recruiting Assistance Program, the spotlight also shines on the Air National Guard with nationwide recruiting commercials aired during prime-time programs such as Monday Night Football.

"The best frame of mind for everyone in the 129th to remember is that we are all recruiters," said Tech. Sgt. Bill Todd, an Air Guard recruiter for the 129th since 2007. "Every time we wear our uniform in public, who knows? You may just be noticed by someone that could lead to them joining the Air Guard somewhere down the road."

"If everyone reached out to their family and friends to tell their own Air Guard story and spread the good word about what we do at the 129th Rescue Wing, who knows how many future enlistments that could lead to?" he added. "Word of mouth is a powerful communication tool."

Traditional methods of informing the public about what a potential employer can offer - the first step in any recruiting process - have included tried-and-true airshow presentations, career fair displays, and walk-ins who see the Air National Guard sign on the downtown Mountain View recruiting office. As technology marches on, recruiting tries to march along with it.

"We get good interest in the Air Guard from the www.goang.com web page along with our 1-800-TO-GO-ANG phone line," said Master Sgt. Rex Aquino, an eight-year veteran of Air Guard recruiting. "The young people today are so computer savvy. They do their research online, see all the excellent benefits and bonuses offered by the Air Guard, then by the time they call or visit us they have a better awareness of what we're all about. A more-informed applicant is a happy applicant that will hopefully lead to them becoming a new recruit."

Many potential recruits are found in the Air Guard's comrades in arms, including the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and their corresponding Guard/Reserve forces. With a highly visible search and rescue mission that often leads to publicity in national media publications, the recruiters hope this can help spark interest among current or former military members who may be looking to transfer to the 129th.

"There are plenty of people looking to make a difference," Sergeant Aquino said. "With almost 600 lives saved by the 129th Rescue Wing over the years, our unit is a great place for potential recruits to do just that, in a wide variety of jobs. Every career field we offer, from logistics to operations to support to medical, is a vital part of our search-and-rescue mission. No single career field is more important than another - everybody plays a part in our mission."