Ohio National Guard News

Ohio National Guard Recruiters Earn Honors


Personnel assigned to the Ohio Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion pose with Army National Guard Director Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn (fourth from left) during the 2008 NGB Strength Maintenance Conference in Orlando, Fla. Vaughn presented Ohio with the Diamond Director’s Award for strength maintenance achievement during the October conference. Ohio and Georgia were the only two of 54 states and territories to receive the award. (Photo courtesy National Guard Bureau)

Maj. Gen. Matthew L. Kambic, Ohio assistant adjutant general for Army, presents Staff Sgt. James Wilson Jr., a recruiter with Cleveland-area’s Company D, with the Recruiting and Retention Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards during the battalion’s Nov. 1, 2008, annual dining out. Wilson enlisted 34 Soldiers and finished the year at 173 percent over his assigned mission. Photo by Todd Cramer, Adj. Gen. Dept.

By Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Ballog, Recruiting and Retention Battalion, Ohio Army National Guard, and Master Sgt. Michael Waddle, 180th Fighter Wing

COLUMBUS, Ohio—The Ohio Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion capped off one of its highest recruiting years ever in 2008 by earning the National Guard Bureau’s Director’s Diamond Award - the top award for achievement of all assigned recruiting and retention missions.

Army National Guard Director Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn presented the award during the 2008 National Guard Bureau Strength Maintenance Conference, held in October in Orlando, Fla. Of the 54 states and territories, Ohio and Georgia were the year’s only recipients.

Ohio Recruiters met or exceeded NGB strength maintenance goals in six mission assignments, including recruit sustainment, accessions, officer strength, retention, attrition and enlisted strength, to attain the top award.

“Not only did our Recruiting and Retention Battalion personnel absolutely work harder to achieve this success than ever before, but equal credit goes to members of the Ohio Guard, from major subordinate commanders clear down to each individual Soldier who makes this organization the best in the county, said Recruiting and Retention Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Chip Tansill.

“Incentive programs such as college tuition and the GI Bill are all important, but when our Soldiers tell their stories about their experience in the Guard, that’s where we really succeed. We’ve got a great organization and because of that, we’re recruiting and retaining great new Soldiers.”

The Battalion’s recruiting and retention effort was critical to the Ohio Army National Guard’s growth of the total force to 10,926 Soldiers, reaching 108 percent of Ohio’s yearly strength goal. As early as April, when the battalion met its year-end strength goal, the battalion was on track to eclipse all previous recruiting standards.

A key component of the battalion’s many successes included all 10 recruiting companies setting a new Ohio record by going ‘green’ in 2008, with each organization meeting or exceeding their annual mission.

Another highlight was the Recruit Sustainment Program’s unprecedented yearlong ranking as the nation’s most successful program, with a Soldier ship rate of 93 percent (the NGB ship rate goal is 75 percent) and a 91 percent military occupational specialty school graduation rate.

Recruiting and retention personnel also received top company, team and individual honors during the battalion’s Nov. 1, 2008, annual dining out event. Ohio assistant adjutant general for Army, Maj. Gen. Matthew L. Kambic, presented numerous regional area command and state-level awards during the ceremony.

Staff Sgt. James Wilson Jr., a recruiter with the Cleveland area’s Company D, was selected as the Recruiting and Retention Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and also as Rookie of the Year. Wilson enlisted more than 34 Soldiers and finished the year at 173 percent of his assigned mission.

In regional competition (Ohio is part of the Recruiting and Retention Area Command IV, which includes Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin), Company D 1st Sgt. Vincent Coleman was selected as the 2008 RRAC IV Regional Master Seven winner among all company first sergeants. Other RRAC IV winners included Headquarters Company members, Sgt. 1st Class Robert Hooper, Automation NCO of the Year, and Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Ballog, Marketing NCO of the Year.

Other State awardees are as follows:

Recruiting and Retention Battalion Noncommissioned Officer of the Year – Staff Sgt. Michael Doney

Battalion Career Counselor of the Year—Sgt. 1st Class Fachon Jennings

MEPS Counselor of the Year—Sgt. 1st Class Robert Scott

Battalion Sergeants’ Major Award—Mrs. Diane Farrow, marketing director

Sergeants’ Major Team Award—Delta Company, Team 9: Sgt 1st Class David Hunt, Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Bacskay, Staff Sgt. James Wilson, Jr., Staff Sgt. Christopher Simon, Spc. William Becker; Staff Sgt. Edith Santiago, Staff Sgt. Vanessa Hickling and Sgt. John Still

Delta Company—Private Roger Young Top Recruiting and Retention Area Team Award,
Best RSP Ship Rate, Best RSP Attendance Rate, and Best RSP Company

Golf Company—Best RSP Company Metrics

Powerhouse 6 “30 Club” Winners (Recruiters who enlisted more than 30 recruits)—Sgt. 1st Class Mark Campbell (34.5 recruits); Sgt. 1st Class Jason Hillebrand (34 recruits); Sgt. 1st Class James Youngdahl (31 recruits); Staff Sgt. Vanessa Hickling (30 recruits); Staff Sgt. Sandra Mesenberg (37 recruits); Staff Sgt. Shawn Rosen (31 recruits); Staff Sgt. Philip Swincher (34 recruits) and Staff Sgt. James Wilson (34.5 recruits)

Joshua O’Bannon RSP Leadership Award—Sgt. 1st Class Jason Hillebrand

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The Ohio Air National Guard also enjoyed a banner recruiting year in 2008, and finished with 112.3 percent of it's authorized strength. 

According to Recruiting and Retention Superintendent Chief Master Sgt. Wesley Smith, the state has received many accolades due to the recruiting successes.  Ohio belongs to a ten state region including Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maryland and the District of Columbia. 

Ohio outdid all those states when Master Sgt. Michael Waddle of Toledo's 180th Fighter Wing, won Recruiting Office Supervisor of the year and Chief Master Sgt. Wesley Smith of the State Headquarters in Columbus, received the honor of being named Recruiting and Retention Superintendent of the year.

Additionally, nine individual recruiters are recognized for achieving over 100 percent of their assigned recruiting goals. Mansfield's Tech. Sgt. Jodi Welch of the 179th Fighter Wing received a Silver Badge for meeting more than 115 percent of the recruiting goal.  Gold Badge winners achieved at least 125 percent of their goal, and include:

Master Sgt. Brenda Crumley, 121st Air Refueling Wing, Columbus
Master Sgt. Lawrence Wright, 121st Air Refueling Wing, Columbus
Master Sgt. Michael Waddle, 180th Fighter Wing, Toledo
Master Sgt. George Plasencio, 180th Fighter Wing, Toledo
Master Sgt. Pamela Daulton, 178th Fighter Wing, Springfield
Tech. Sgt. Shantina Byrd, 121st Air Refueling Wing, Columbus
Tech. Sgt. Joshua Blakley, 179th Air Refueling Wing, Mansfield

The Ohio Air National Guard is also in competition for the National Golden Eagle award and the National Patriot Award.  Winners for these prestigious awards and the recognition ceremony for the individual winners will happen in Denver, CO. in February.  Both the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen. Craig R. McKinley, and Ohio's Assistant Adjutant General for Air, Maj. Gen. Harry "A.J." Feucht are expected to attend the ceremony.

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