MAY 13, 2019 – In support of its growing recruiting mission, Navy Recruiting Command has adjusted their tactics for bringing Sailors into the Navy Reserve. Specifically, this adjustment led to the centralization of the prior service mission, which focuses on transitioning active duty Sailors directly into Reserve Component without a break in service. This means focusing more recruiting assets into the fleet concentrated areas of Norfolk, San Diego, Seattle and Jacksonville, Florida, and putting elements in Hawaii and Japan.
The recruiters participating in the mission in these areas work with command career counselors at the active duty units, providing training and information sessions with Sailors who are getting close to separating from the active-duty Navy. The purpose of the prior service recruiters, known as reserve benefits advisors, is to expose active duty Sailors to the possibilities and advantages of joining the Navy Reserve straight from active duty without a break in service. Over the course of their time on active duty, it is possible that a Sailor may have little to no interaction with Navy Reservists, so this could be the first time they start to think about it as an option.
For the Navy Reserve, the purpose behind this move lies in the advantages of accessing Sailors directly from active duty without any break in service. With this seamless transition, Sailors’ qualifications, job knowledge, and medical records will not become outdated, saving time and money that would have otherwise been devoted to retraining and requalifying the person.
“By taking someone straight from active duty to the reserve, we’re able to immediately employ a fully trained and qualified Sailor,” said Lt. Cmdr. John Poissant, the deputy director for prior service accessions. “Also, if the Sailor has critical Navy Enlisted Classifications (NECs), or special qualifications, we can plug them right into our higher demand, critical billets and they’ll perform at the level we need them.”
Engineman 2nd Class Natalia Cummings-Duckie is one of the Sailors in the Northeast Detachment of the prior service mission, located in Norfolk. This was the first detachment created for this initiative; it was started on October 1, 2018.
“What I try to instill in the Sailors that are thinking about getting out [of the Navy] is that life happens,” said Cummings-Duckie, “Sometimes the great job you had set up on the outside might not pan out, or you may not like it after six-months, so it never hurts to use this as an option through your transition.”
She says for these reasons, she wants to make sure Sailors at least see the reserve as an option, rather than throwing away all the time they spent building themselves up in the Navy and starting over in the civilian sector.
The second detachment created was Navy Reserve Prior Service Detachment Southwest, based in San Diego. This detachment began operations on January 1, 2019.
“Most of these Sailors we talk to have never really gotten a lot of information about the Navy Reserve,” said Builder 1st Class Justin Gomez, a member of the Prior Service Detachment Southwest, “So when we go in there and do our presentations, it’s kind of a mind blower for a lot of people, and they tend to have a lot of questions.”
As someone who has been on active duty, worked in the civilian world, returned to the reserve and now back on active duty orders, Gomez says he wants to help make the transition as smooth as possible for these other Sailors. He routinely works through the process with the command career counselors and the Sailors themselves.
Gomez says, one of the best advantages he has while working in the Prior Service Detachment Southwest is that he spent his entire career in the Navy in the San Diego area, so he can connect with the Sailors, and they can see someone like himself who went into the reserve and benefited from it.
He also is excited about this new method of spreading awareness through these detachments, and he believes it’s very effective.
“When a recruiter can focus fully on talking to Sailors who are already in the Navy, rather than also having to go to high schools and job fairs in addition to it looking for people to bring into the reserve, it makes the job a lot more efficient, and it lets you give more time to people who are already in [the Navy],” said Gomez. “It helps make the whole transition smoother, and it helps with Navy retention as well.”
Poissant says this new method of educating and training Sailors has been very effective so far, and he is optimistic about the effects it will have on the Navy Reserve end strength.
“I think overall we’ve had a really positive effect on the number of Sailors coming into the Navy Reserve,” said Poissant,” and we’ve been a force multiplier for the career transition office by spending more time training and educating career counselors and the Sailors on the benefits of the Navy Reserve.”
This initiative will certainly help ease the transition out of active duty for many Sailors, and it’s another step in the right direction for Navy Recruiting Command to continue to support the requirements of the Navy Reserve.
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 1,330 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 Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary S Eshleman
Navy Recruiting Command