APRIL 26, 2019 – Born in Waynesboro, a sleepy town of less than 3,000 people in Southern Tennessee near the Northern Alabama border, and raised in King George, Virginia, Petty Officer Phillip Gable always knew he never wanted to be in the Navy.
His father served 20 years in the Navy as a Fire Controlman, retiring as a Chief Petty Officer. Gable did not want to follow in his footsteps.
When he became a high school senior, a strange thing happened.
“I didn’t have any money for college, but I knew if I joined the Navy I would have the GI Bill to help me with that. Also,” he added, “I would have the opportunity to learn multiple trades and see the world on top of that, it seemed like a pretty good option to me.”
Having grown up as a Navy dependent he saw how the military provides stability as far as income and benefits.
He also had a change of heart because he wanted to serve his country, but deeper down, he wanted to make his father proud.
“When I told my dad I was joining the Navy, he was shocked and didn’t believe me,” Gable said. “Once it sunk in and he realized I was serious; he was pleasantly surprised.”
After graduating from Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois, he reported to Naval Construction Training Center in Port Hueneme, California graduating in March 2011.
His first assignment was with Beachmaster Unit Two (BMU-2) located at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek – Fort Story, where he served as Floor Mechanic and Beach Party Team Two’s Lighter, Amphibious, Resupply, Cargo (LARC) engineer and was advanced to Petty Officer 3rd Class.
In March 2014, moving directly across the street from Beachmaster Unit Two, he reported to Logistics and Support Unit Two (LOGSU2) where he served as Floor Mechanic and Government Purchase Card Holder. He expedited the procurement of $126K worth of essential operational repair parts for 710 vehicles in support of the 19 Naval Special Warfare commands under Naval Special Warfare Group Two.
Remaining on Little Creek, in August 2015, he reported to Explosive Ordinance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit Two (EODESU2) where he served as Transportation Shop Supervisor and was advanced to the rank of Petty Officer 2nd Class.
Now a recruiter for Navy Recruiting District Richmond Gable works out of the same Fredericksburg station he was recruited out of nearly nine years ago and that works in his favor.
“I am recruiting in the town I grew up in and the high school I graduated from so I know everybody and I am making the most of my contacts,” he said with a smile.
Gable said there were two things that inspired him to become a Navy Recruiter.
“First, the thought of finding the future of the Navy was important to me,” he said. “I like to think that every person I’m able to sign a contract could possibly be my replacement.”
Secondly, he said being a recruiter is considered one of the most difficult jobs in the Navy and welcomed the challenge. It also gives him the best opportunity for promotion, which to follow in his father’s footsteps, will hopefully help him achieve the rank of Chief Petty Officer someday.
In Gable’s first year as a recruiter, it seems he made the right choice and is fitting in quite well.
He earned the Rookie Recruiter of the Quarter back to back for the 4th Quarter of FY 19 and the 1st Quarter FY19. He didn’t stop there. He was also awarded the 2018 Region East Master Chief Bakarian Award for the best new recruiter.
Gable said he could not have achieved success if it wasn’t for the other recruiters in his office.
“In recruiting there are so many ups and downs,” he said. “A couple months in a row you could be knocking it out of the park and getting four or five people in the Navy in successive months.”
Then, there is a month or two where you only get one person in, or none. Gable said those times are rough but you just have to work through it and that’s when he and the other recruiters depend on each other.
“The other recruiters and I lean on each other for support and advice and when one of us is having a bad month, it’s good to just talk about it just to get it out of your system,” he said. “The other recruiter has gone through the same thing so they know how it feels and maybe they have something they did that helped them through that tough time that could help you too.”
He said he was surprised to learn he won the Bakarian Award, because in his mind he felt he was just doing his job.
When asked what his strength is as a recruiter, he thinks about it for a minute and then said one of his assets is his use of referrals.
“Applicants that sign up for the Navy and become future Sailors give me names of their friends who may be interested and I contact them,” he said.
Gable added it’s all about networking and building a good report with his Future Sailors and applicants. “Sometimes Future Sailors bring potential applicants to my office and that helps me out a lot.”
Given the long hours that sometimes come with recruiting, Gable says he tries his best to keep a healthy work/life balance.
Not having any hobbies, he says the thing he does most is spending time with his wife and four-year-old son.
“Basically, my weeks are long and by the time I get home in the evening it is almost my son’s bedtime or he may already be asleep,” Gable said. “So we build our weekend around him and take him outside to the playground and just spend time together as a family.”
Gable’s short term goals are to get promoted to E6. Long term, to become a Chief Petty Officer like his dad.”
“If I’ve learned anything from working as a recruiter, it’s that you never know what life is going to throw at you,” he said with a chuckle. “As of today I have loved being in the Navy and would love to make a career out of it and retire someday.”
Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, three Navy Recruiting Regions, 18 Navy Recruiting Districts and eight Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 1,300 recruiting stations across the world. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.
For more news from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, go to http://www.cnrc.navy.mil. Follow Navy Recruiting on Facebook (www.facebook.com/NavyRecruiting), Twitter (@USNRecruiter) and Instagram (@USNRecruiter).
Story by Chief Petty Officer Todd Macdonald
Navy Recruiting Command