FORT KNOX, Ky., –
Leaders from U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command along with a recent Medal of Honor recipient emphasized the importance of recruiters during a town hall meeting with students from the Recruiting and Retention College here July 23.
Gen. Paul Funk II and Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Guden, the TRADOC commanding general and senior enlisted leader, along with Staff Sgt. David Bellavia, who was recognized for his heroic actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom, were able to engage many of the RRC students in person, as the school resumed classes in early June.
“You are getting ready to embark on what I consider the most important part of your career, “Funk said. “You’re recruiting the next generation. You’re recruiting the next Tim Guden or the next David Bellavia, and for some of your cases, you may recruit the next Paul Funk.”
Funk also spoke about the importance of his and Guden’s roles in support of recruiting.
“My job and Command Sgt. Major Guden’s job is to get you the tools you need to get you in the right direction,” Funk said. “But at the end of the day, you have got to close the last 100 yards. For those of you that are in combat arms, you know what I’m talking about. Winning matters.”
Guden spoke about diversity and adversity and the significance of how to effectively communicate the Army story.
“We are not perfect. Us as individuals, us as teams, the Army as a whole, our nation and the world. But we make a change,” Guden said. “Most of you probably have a good experience in the military. Talk about it. The way that you talk, the way that you enforce, the way that you communicate the message is important. It’s got to be about exchanging the idea and that understanding of a lifestyle and what it means to be a recruiter and to serve in the U.S. Army.”
Guden acknowledged that recruiters have a tough job.
“I have not had the privilege of being a recruiter,” Guden said. “But I have never been more informed about the entirety of the recruiting business. I have a lot of respect for recruiters. You have a huge responsibility. You are where the rubber meets the road in meeting numbers and strength and meeting success for the Army.”
Bellavia joined the TRADOC command team to share his Army story and to discuss the opportunities the U.S. Army provides.
“You’re giving an opportunity for young people in America,” Bellavia said. “Maybe they didn’t get opportunities to make a difference at home, in school or in their communities. But they are going to learn that the best community and the best teams have individuals working at the highest level in the U.S. Army. That is why I’m so appreciative of the opportunity to be an American Soldier.”
Bellavia took the time to talk about about his time as an active-duty Soldier and how he will be a Soldier for life.
“As Soldiers, we are a part of something and we will always be a part of something,” Bellavia said. “If we keep that commitment to each other outside of uniform, I don’t think there’s a problem that we can’t fix in this world.”
He emphasized the long-term impact recruiters make on the Army.
“The people that you put in the Army are going to be our future. That is a heavy responsibility,” he said. “It’s about the quality of young men and women who choose to go out there and sustain what we have done great and change what we have done poorly in the past. We are the greatest Army in the world, and it is our job and responsibility to share our story. At the end of the day, recruiting is the most important job in the Army, and we can all do our part.”