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    Navy Sailor Returns Home, Works For Old Recruiter

    Recruiter welcomes own recruit into recruiting command

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Lindahl | MAPLE GROVE, Minn. (July 14, 2020) - Operations Specialist 2nd Class Michael Schoon...... read more read more

    CHASKA, Minn. – Operations Specialist 2nd Class Michael Schoon already has an interesting Navy “origin” story. In April of 2014, he and five of his friends and classmates, or roughly 10% of his graduating class, all committed to join the Navy at the same time and all shipped off to boot camp that same year.

    Six years later, Schoon is adding another chapter to his Navy story as he returns home on recruiting duty in Central Minnesota. It’s an area he knows well and is already making a huge impact as he impresses with the recruiting market with his casual approach and recent worldly experiences.

    But the most unique aspect is that after being gone for six years, he is doing it all while working for the very same person who recruited him in 2014.

    Navy Counselor 1st Class Jerry Provost, assigned to Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Northern Plains, oversaw the entrance of 6 of the 58 graduating students from Pillager High School into the Navy when he was responsible for recruiting out of the Brainerd recruiting station.

    “It was really unique, to have 10 percent of the graduating class was something special,” Provost said. “The Brainerd Dispatch ran a story on them, it was kind of a big deal.”

    Provost still remembers all of those graduates and remains especially proud of that group of recruits.

    “I remember all of their first and last names,” Provost said. “I take pride in and care about all the people I talk to about joining the Navy.”

    Provost finished his recruiting tour in 2016 and went to Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, where he worked as a Master-at-Arms 1st Class at the air station’s security department for the next three years.

    Wanting to return to his home state with his family, Provost again took recruiting orders and returned to Minnesota where he has converted to a full-time Navy counselor and is now responsible for overseeing the recruiting efforts for the Maple Grove, St. Cloud, Brainerd, and Fargo, North Dakota, recruiting stations.

    Meanwhile, Schoon advanced from E-1 to E-5 at an impressive rate and now holds his current rank of E-5. To start off 2020, Schoon reporterd to NTAG Northern Plains where he works out of the St. Cloud Navy Recruiting Station, one of Provost’s stations.

    “I got an email and I saw OS2 Schoon, and I thought, ‘no way,’” Provost said. “It just so happened that we were going to end up working together, that was amazing!”

    Even though Provost was excited to work with one of his former recruits, he wasn’t sure about how Schoon in particular would take to the rigors of recruiting, especially in the times of social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

    “I was legitimately concerned that he might be an introvert,” said Provost. “I was concerned about him coming to recruit. I was excited, but concerned.”

    It turns out Provost had nothing to worry about.

    In just his first three months of recruiting, Schoon has brought a whole new perspective to recruiting in the COVID-19 times and the digital age, garnering Recruiter of the Month twice and leading the entire 7-state area in recruits for the quarter. He is currently the recipient of the “Rookie of the Quarter” award and the “Sales and Sourcing” quarterly award.

    “He is just completely different than he was, which is what’s really cool about him. He was very introverted – he’s done a 180 since he joined the Navy,” Provost said.

    Schoon can’t really put his finger on exactly what has changed, but he knows that it was a lot.

    “It’s the Navy, really. It forces you to work with 20-30 other people, every day,” Schoon said. “Plus you’re on a ship with close friends really. You live in a berthing with 60 other shipmates, you’re going to be close, you’ve got to be. It just kind of, opened me up, I guess.”

    Provost sees Schoon as a perfect example of the benefits of military service.

    “That’s something I sell to: you can be introverted. The Navy turns people into leaders and the Sailors don’t really have a choice,” Provost said. “With rank, comes more responsibility, so if you rank up, you’re going to be put into a leadership position. And once you have that… you can’t hide anymore, it’s time to find your voice.”

    Schoon agrees with that sentiment and gives credit to the environment with which he served since graduating high school.

    “I think mainly just getting forced to work with 30 other people, and I made 2nd class within a year-and-a-half of joining the Navy and that thrust me into a leadership position, so I had to come out of my shell. I had no choice.”

    Provost’s pride in his former recruit is instantly noticeable and he says he’s looking forward to the future and what it will continue to bring to his young former-recruit.

    “I tell people, this is what the Navy is going to do for you – I think it’s cool that you’re an introvert, I think it’s cool that you are who you are, and I want to see you in four years, because in four years, you’re going to be a completely different person. And he’s the perfect example of that.”

    Both recruiters will be in the area until at least 2022 and possibly into 2023 and they are both looking forward to building on their already unique relationship.

    NTAG Northern Plains is responsible for enlisted and officer recruiting, covering 393,000 square miles, in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and parts of Illinois and Wisconsin.



    Date Taken: 07.22.2020
    Date Posted: 07.22.2020 17:45
    Story ID: 374401
    Location: MAPLE GROVE, MN, US 
    Hometown: BRAINERD, MN, US
    Hometown: PILLAGER, MN, US

    Web Views: 312
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