FORT KNOX, Ky. –
There are various misconceptions about Army service. From drill sergeants to basic training, a slew of myths paint the picture of a Soldier with a broad brush that does not accurately reflect the actual value, advantages, and opportunities available as a Soldier in today's Army.
Tucked away at Fort Knox, Kentucky, the Marketing and Engagement Brigade seeks opportunities nationwide to change that perspective. With Olympic athletes, professional skydivers, and world-class strongmen, "Be All You Can Be!" is an old slogan, but these Soldiers are anything but traditional.
Within the Marketing and Engagement Brigade lies the Mission Support Battalion. The battalion comprises four Recruiting Outreach companies, the National Conventions Division and the Mobile Exhibit Company.
The ROC companies are home to some of the Army's most unique recruiting assets: the Warrior Fitness Team, the Esports team, the 'As You Were' rock band, and the Outdoors team. Created and designed as soft touch assets, these companies use shared passions to connect with future soldiers and show them there is more to being a Soldier than portrayed on television.
The Warrior Fitness team consists of CrossFit athletes and Strongman/Strongwoman athletes. With a training facility on post, these athletes work out up to four times daily to compete nationwide in well-known competitions like Wodapalooza and the Arnolds.
Like all the competitors in the ROC, these athletes have a specific military occupation specialty. Capt. Syndey Moskovitz is a field artillery officer and Warrior Fitness Team CrossFit athlete. "I think it is really cool that the Army supports Soldiers pursuing hobbies outside of military service." Stated Moskovitz. A sentiment shared by Master Sgt. Josh Watkins, a member of the U.S. Army Outdoors team. "Not only does the Army support these programs, but they have found a unique way to incorporate them into the recruiting process. It makes a difference when you are talking to young people, and they see you as a person. It's making the conversation easier and more natural." Watkins said.
In addition to competitions, the Soldiers conduct high school visits, attend college fairs, and seek opportunities to share their Army stories about why they chose to serve and the benefits of that choice.
"It's awesome," said Staff Sgt. Lance Young, a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic, and U.S. Army Esports competitor. "I love the look people give me when I tell them I am a Soldier, and my current assignment is to engage with people using a shared passion for online competition. It's not what you first think of when you think of an Army soldier and that is what resonates with people and gets them engaged to talk to a recruiter."
The 'As You Were' rock band writes and performs their music, has shared stages with Kiss, Alanis Morsette, and performed at some of the nation's biggest festivals like South by Southwest.
The National Convention Division and the Mobile Exhibit company travel the nation, bringing the Army experience to life. The exhibitors for these companies are all recruiters familiar with questions, concerns, and stories about Army service. They set up at festivals, fairs, malls, and schools, giving visitors a 3D experience of one of the fastest-growing career fields of technology, engineering, and math (STEM) the Army uses to be leaders in today's competitive job market.
All the Mission Support Battalion Soldiers are active-duty Soldiers and Soldiers first. They are held to the same physical fitness standards as all Army Soldiers, encouraged to pursue higher education, and given leadership opportunities to continue professional upward mobility in their designated MOS. These Soldiers have health care, housing, a paycheck, and a head start in their careers.
The Soldier-athletes prove that the Army supports the whole Soldier's interest and has found a way to incorporate that into the recruiting and accession mission. Capt. Chris Phillips, the commander of the ROC, said, "The Soldiers do not get to stay here forever, they have to move on. But while they are here, they get to do what they love for a living, share that with the public, and use their passion and talents to deconstruct some common misconceptions about the Army, and hopefully inspire the next generation of Soldiers."