News: Arizona recruiter receives national recognition
Story by Sgt. Lauren Twigg
PHOENIX – Staff Sgt. Craig Wester, a team leader within Recruiting and Retention Battalion with the Arizona National Guard, was selected as the Army National Guard’s Top Recruiting and Retention Noncommissioned Officer for 2011, a selection process that screened more than 3,000 recruiting and retention NCOs nationwide.
Wester attributes this honor to a personal ethic of determination and hard work that sets the example for soldiers while simultaneously leading the way as a noncommissioned officer.
“By far this is the biggest award I’ve ever received in the military,” Wester said. “There’s maybe about 3,000 recruiters in the National Guard and only one can get it, so it’s an honor to have that and represent my state.”
The first part of the competition begins with a regional board. Arizona is one of seven states comprising Wester’s region. He was selected to move on to the national competition that took place in Orlando, Fla.
“The board members look at your soldier and recruiter skills as a whole – how many people you recruit and ship, physical fitness, community service – basically, the whole ‘soldier concept’,” Wester said.
Wester managed to recruit and ship 38 individuals during the period from Oct. 1, 2010 through Sept. 30, 2011, comfortably exceeding the recruiter standard of 24 recruits per fiscal year.
Upon his arrival in Orlando, Wester competed against the top recruiters from each of the nation’s other six regions. He was surprised when he heard his name announced as this fiscal year’s Recruiter of the Year.
“I was excited for the state especially when I found out I had won because Arizona doesn’t usually get a lot of recognition,” Wester said. “This award is not so much for me as it is for my command and state – being able to represent my state is the biggest honor of all.”
Despite Wester’s modesty for winning this year’s competition, his supervisor recognizes his personal achievement.
“I am very proud of his accomplishments,” said Master Sgt. Robert McMahon, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Sun Devil recruiter office located in Chandler. “I know how hard he worked and was happy to see him rewarded for all his extra efforts.”
Wester is the second recruiter from Arizona to receive this award; Sgt. 1st Class Michael Semeja was the recipient for Fiscal Year 2009.
“It showcases Arizona Recruiting Command as producing the top Recruiting and Retention NCO in the nation,” McMahon said. “Success in this career field comes from hard work, dedication, and a disciplined work ethic. To achieve this level of recognition, the desire has to be there and one must be willing to give 100%, and then some, every day.”