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    Former Airman swaps uniforms for Army recruiting duty

    Former Airman swaps uniforms for Army recruiting duty

    Photo By Alun Thomas | Sgt. Eric Frias, recruiter, Mesa Recruiting Station, Tempe Recruiting Company, Phoenix...... read more read more



    Story by Alun Thomas  

    U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion - Phoenix

    MESA, Ariz. – When Sgt. Eric Frias entered civilian life following eight years in the Air Force, there was a part of him that instantly missed the brotherhood and camaraderie of serving.

    He recalled his time serving alongside the U.S. Army during his second deployment to Iraq, having grown accustomed to their way of life and developing a love for it.

    In his mind there was no question what branch he would join when he decided to rejoin the military, enlisting in the Army, where he currently serves as a recruiter for Mesa Recruiting Station, Tempe Recruiting Company.

    Frias, a native of Methuen, Mass., is a first generation American, born to immigrants from the Dominican Republic, who moved to the U.S. in the 1970’s.

    Frias grew up attending Lawrence High School, where he excelled at baseball, before deciding his future lay elsewhere.

    “Lawrence is a predominately Latino community with about 70 percent of its population being Hispanic,” Frias said. “Growing up I had a passion for baseball and played it from the age of 5 to 18. I was captain of my high school baseball team. After high school I studied one year at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, before deciding to join the United States Air Force.”

    Frias said he decided to join the Air Force in 2004 because of two cousins who were serving in the branch, a decision that led to his 8 years of initial service and two deployments to Iraq.

    During his second deployment, Frias was attached to the 89th Military Police Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas, where he was able to see Army operations on a daily basis. It was a portent for the future, as Frias left the military.

    “After I got out of the Air Force I had a break in service of 3 years. I started a family and tested the waters of the civilian sector, where I was a state employee for the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services,” he said.

    Missing the military constantly weighed on Frias’ mind however and it wasn’t long before he walked into an Army recruiting station and reenlisted at the age of 31 in 2016.

    “I remembered my time with the Army and knew I wanted to come back in … this time as a Soldier,” Frias said. “My two younger brothers joined the military after I did, one joined the Air Force and the other enlisted in the Army.”

    Frias opted to join the Army Reserve, choosing to become a combat engineer, seeking a challenging career and the chance to work with explosives.

    “I joined the Army Reserve mainly because my wife had a good paying job and I wanted to serve locally,” he explained. “I had the opportunity to receive Active Duty Operational Support (ADOS) orders at my unit and that’s when I got the itch for serving on a full time status again.”

    In June, Frias got his wish and was assigned to the Phoenix Recruiting Battalion, entering the recruiting environment in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which Frias admitted has been a challenge.

    “Due to the pandemic I wasn’t able to go out into the community and interact face to face initially,” Frias added. “That made it a little challenging and I had to rely solely on social media and phone calls.”

    “Now that things have subsided a little I am able to go into the community, drop off business cards and brochures, and interact with business owners and employees,” he continued. “This is allowing me to get to know the area and the people better.”

    With his first contract under his belt, Frias said he is easing into the recruiting role and sees himself becoming a permanent recruiter, ably supported by wife of six years, Catherin and his three children, Brody, 10, Natalia, 6 and Sofia, 5.

    “This job may be stressful but I have already seen the positive impact a good and empathic recruiter can have on an individual,” Frias said. “It’s a great feeling seeing a new enlistee smiling ear to ear knowing that joining the Army will help them achieve their goals.”



    Date Taken: 08.27.2020
    Date Posted: 08.27.2020 14:40
    Story ID: 376940
    Location: MESA, AZ, US 
    Hometown: METHUEN, MA, US

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