WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES
By Darren Harrison
Naval District Washington Public Affairs
WASHINGTON - The United States Navy Ceremonial Guard played host to the 2009 Recruiters of the Year and officials with the Commander, Navy Recruiting Command with a ceremony Jan. 14 that featured displays by the Color Guard, casket bearers, firing team and the drill team who were recently awarded the 2009 Joint Service Drill Team Competition Trophy.
Following the presentations Commander, Navy Recruiting Command Rear Adm. Craig S. Faller spoke of the role that the Ceremonial Guard play in the recruiting process, saying the "talent and dedication" of the Ceremonial Guard is important when recruiters go out around the country and helps recruiters connect to America and show people a different side to the Navy.
"These recruiters, 15 of them, represent the best of all the recruiters across the country and they appreciate what the Ceremonial Guard does for them to help recruit, to help attract people and help inspire people to join our Navy," Faller said. "That [display] was very inspiring and my hats off to all of you, it takes a special talent and skill to do that."
National Chief Recruiter with CNRC, NCCM Gregory L. King, said that the Ceremonial Guard provided a positive image of the Navy and in so doing aided the recruitment effort.
"Young people want to see people of their age range doing the things these Sailors are doing," King said. "And when you compare what their lives were before they joined the Navy and what they do now, it's amazing to see the discipline they have, the courage they have. One of recruiters put them in and now look at the change in their lives, it's an awesome transformation."
Ceremonial Guard Executive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Patricia Witherspoon said that the image the Guard present, attracts a lot of people to be a part of "something special."
"And it's not just about spinning the rifle," Witherspoon said. "It's about paying final respects in Arlington National Cemetery, because we are the only Navy Ceremonial Guard who can perform in Arlington. No one else in the world, whether you perform full honors funerals or not, can ever wear the uniform that is here at the Ceremonial Guard."
This is the second year that the Recruiters of the Year have been invited to see the Ceremonial Guard perform in a tradition that Witherspoon hopes will continue in the years to come.
"We have a partnership with the CNRC team because they are the ones who find our best Sailors that we have in the Ceremonial Guard," Witherspoon said. "So whenever they come to town honoring the recruiters who have excelled in their field, we want to show them our appreciation for what they do for us. So that is why we decided to show them what kind of Sailors they have given us."
The 2009 Recruiters of the Year were announced on Nov. 19 and spent a week in the Washington, D.C. area attending a series of ceremonies. One of those honored, Chief Petty Officer Erik P. Kraft, a quartermaster with Naval Recruiting District San Francisco, said he was impressed with the skill displayed by the Guard.
"These young men and women have got a lot of outstanding skills and attention to detail, and I think that's phenomenal," Kraft said. "I mean, I wish I had been a part of that when I first came in the Navy. I've been in the Navy for 22 years and I had no idea we even did this stuff."
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