Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

December 2, 2012 at 4:43am

Reserve recruiter brings inspiration to local students

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He may be a recruiter, but this Airmen's goal is not necessarily to enlist every person he comes in contact with.

For the past couple of years of working in Washington, Master Sgt. Charles Loftland has recruited about 40 percent of his quota of new enlistees from local high schools. One way he reaches these teenagers is through the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps classes he talks to on a regular basis.

However, he doesn't go into the schools trying to gain new Air Force Reserve members.

"The result is to ultimately help a young person discover their path after high school," said Loftland. "It's not just about gaining new recruits- I think the more satisfying thing is knowing that I may have reached a few of them and helped them put a road map in place, no matter which path they take, because the Air Force Reserve is not going to be for everyone."

Loftland speaks about how to narrow one's focus when it comes to the future and created an exercise to help in the process.

"I really want to give them individualized attention and talk about their personal goals, dreams and aspirations," said Loftland. "I just use the Air Force Reserve as an example of an opportunity where they can go to reach those goals."

"We've had kids that didn't know what they wanted to do and after they interact with the military speakers they decide that they would like to do that job," said retired Senior Master Sgt. Wayne Lott, a JROTC cadre instructor. "A lot of kids just don't have any idea what they want to do."

In November, Loftland made his visit to Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way, Wash., extra special by bringing along a former Beamer JROTC cadet, Anthony Hogan. Hogan enlisted with the 446th Airlift Wing at McChord in August of 2012 and has been in the Development and Training Flight ever since.

"It's good to have someone from the older generation come back and say hey I was in your shoes at one time," said Hogan. "I was one of the screw-ups in high school. If I can inspire the kids to get somewhere and actually listen to their JROTC cadre, it'll all be good."

Both Loftland and Hogan spoke to the students about Air Force standards and the military way of life.

"I can tell them that there is hope," said Hogan. "I went from having a low grade point average in high school to having a great civilian job and joining the Air Force Reserve."

Loftland enhanced his time with the students by making the presentation a game. He made teams of students and quizzed them on everything from Air Force history to the Constitution.

"What I do is have a lot of fun," said Loftland. "I don't come in here and do a big speech about military benefits. I come in and make it about the students."

Loftland's formula for talking to the cadets brings results, he's had three enlistees from Beamer in the past two years. In addition, he's recruited six new Airmen from Federal Way High School's JROTC program.

PHOTO:Master Sgt. Charles Loftland, a recruiter for the 446th Airlift Wing at McChord Field, explains service standards to a class of Air Force Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets at Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way, Wash., Nov. 15. Loftland regularly visits high schools around Northwest Washington state to mentor students, talk about life goals and explain the benefits of joining the Air Force Reserve. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Rachael Garneau)

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