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Recruiting Team Ensures Mission Success

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Shane Phipps
  • 158th Fighter Wing

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - With the mission of providing the nation and state a ready force skilled in executing a broad spectrum of global and domestic operations, the Vermont Air National Guard relies on the recruitment of qualified individuals.

This task falls on the shoulders of the men and women of the 158th Force Support Flight recruiting team.

“Our main purpose is to ensure the base has enough manning to execute the mission,” said Tech. Sgt. Meghan Feeney, 158th Force Support Flight production recruiter.

As a state with the second smallest populace in the country, recruiting for the Vermont Air National Guard poses some unique challenges.

“Since Vermont has a small population, it’s important that we’re proactive,” said Feeney. “We constantly travel throughout the state to schools and different events to interface with as many people as possible.”

Though the career field has many challenges, the 158th recruiting team does not let those obstacles distort the bigger picture.

“This job can be stressful because we’re the ones who have to find enough people to accomplish the mission, but it makes it that much more satisfying when we see those great people thriving and making the unit better,” said Feeney.

To combat some of the issues of recruiting from a small state, innovative programs like the Joint Enlistment Enhancement Program have been implemented. Known as JEEP for short, the program incentivizes non-recruiters to contribute to accessions by offering $1,000 for any lead that completes the enlistment process and begins initial training.

“The JEEP program is an internal lead incentive that awards $1,000 for a lead that enlists someone into the Vermont National Guard,” said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Watkins, 158th Force Support Flight advanced recruiter. “The program pays $500 to the provider upon the lead enlisting, and another $500 when the enlistee goes to tech school.”

Although new to recruiting, Feeney looks to share her positive experience with the Air Force while guiding individuals through a life altering decision.

“I’ve had such a great experience being in the Air National Guard for the last ten years and I really wanted to become a recruiter to share that with others,” said Feeney. “I enjoy bringing potential recruits to the base and really getting to know them so I can find the perfect job, that not only works best for the Air Force but works best for them personally.”

For the recruiting team, it’s pivotal to make a positive first impression because it may shape a future Airman’s entire outlook on the Air Force.

“It’s really important they have a good experience with their recruiter because that sets them up for how they might view their entire career,” said Feeney.

For Feeney, all her hard work comes to fruition on the day she can welcome a recruit as a fellow Airman and Green Mountain Boy.

“My favorite part of the job is enlistment day,” said Feeney. “The process can be long and it’s really fulfilling when they finally get to that day where they raise their right hand, and I get to see their families watching with so much pride.”