PHOENIX, Az –
A retired Army colonel and former battalion commander in U.S. Army Recruiting Command spoke at the Phoenix Recruiting Battalion Annual Training Conference banquet Dec. 9 at the Renaissance Hotel here.
Col. (Ret.) Fred Dummar, senior vice president of Legacy Education Alliance and former Special Operations Recruiting Battalion commander, was invited as the guest speaker for his unique story and experience within Army Recruiting Command.
"I left high school at the age of 16 and couldn't join the Army, so I worked as an electrician for a year, which helped pay my way through my first year of college," Dummar said. "I didn't have the money for my second year, so at the age of 17, I enlisted in the Army as a medic."
Dummar, who served in the U.S. Army for 29 years, eventually commissioned and commanded at every level in Special Forces, from captain to colonel. In 2008, he was selected to stand up and command the Special Operations Recruiting Battalion, an assignment he wasn't initially thrilled about.
"After a little bit of soul searching, I decided that nobody joined the Army to have bad leadership," he said. "So if I didn't do it, the Soldiers would get the second choice. I was the first choice, so I needed to go and do it."
To this day, Dummar's time in recruiting remains some of his best memories in the Army.
"I thought it was something I'd never want to do, but looking back as an old, retired guy, I loved it," he said. "Recruiting is the most honorable job in the Army. You have to bring passion to it, or else nobody will want to join."
If a recruiter really cares about what they're doing, they'll put people in the Army, Dummar said.
"If you really believe in it and are passionate about it, you'll succeed," Dummar continued. "It's just up to you to make it happen."
Dummar went on to explain the Army is a family business, with Soldiers being its most important asset.
"People are important ... people are the most important thing. This is a family business," Dummar said. "So what you do is important - it's important for our country and our Army. You never know the people you're going to touch and have an impression on."
Making an impression on Future Soldiers is the most important part of the job for any recruiter, Dummar said.
"If you're not worried about what's in it for you, but instead how you can help someone else, like that kid who wanders into the recruiting station ... help him get the job he wants, help him be where he wants to be - you're going to be successful," he said.
Despite his eventual journey from private to colonel, Dummar said he still remembers his recruiter, more than three decades later.
"Everything I achieved in the Army is because of Sergeant Armstrong, who put me in the Army," Dummar said. "I'll never forget the impression he made on me."