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Commentary Search

June Commander's Corner

  • Published
  • By Col. Michael Dunkin
  • 169th Fighter Wing

Every organization, whether it be a corporation, civic club, fraternity, sorority, etc. has one thing in common; the key to its survival is the ability to recruit and retain talent. The South Carolina Air National Guard is no different. We can establish the best social media platforms in the world; we can give away all the best swag ever invented; and our recruiters can give the most impassioned pleas known to man but none of this will matter if we do not have the commitment of our Airmen to make the personal connections to potential recruits and our new Airmen.

In May 2015, Forbes magazine published an article titled “Recruiting In-Demand Talent is About Relationships and Trust”. The article discusses all the platforms used by the corporate world for bringing in the best but their bottom line is this “So how to win? Here’s the rub: you have to be really human in this culture: relationships matter more than ever.” We have over 1200 of the best recruiters in the world on McEntire (and even more if we count the retirees out there) and we need every one of you to help us keep the 169th Fighter Wing stocked with talent. 

The amazing achievements produced by this wing are a testament to the capabilities of each one of you. Deployments to the desert, Theatre Support Packages to Asia, exercises in Europe, responses to hurricanes in South Carolina and Florida, and building houses for homeless veterans in New Mexico are just some of the successes by the SCANG over the last few years. Now one of our most important challenges is resupplying the talent that has made us the premier fighter wing in the Air Force.

Currently, we are manned at around 93.5 percent. That leaves us about 120 Airmen away from where we want to be. If just one in ten of us can help bring in a recruit that would not have otherwise been contacted by a recruiter, we can get there. Additionally, we need to help the recruiters show interested recruits why the SCANG is the right choice. Take the time when you see an individual walking around on a tour to introduce yourself. Make the personal connection that is so important to today’s generation. When the person at the gas station starts talking to you about the guard and what it all means, walk over to them and explain the advantages. Save recruiting’s number in your phone (803-647-8850 - none of us remember numbers anymore) and give them the number and encourage them to use it. You may have to talk to 100 people to get one recruit but in the long run, you are ensuring not only the legacy of an organization but your own legacy.

Each one of us who has spent time as a Swamp Fox knows the value of our wing to the state, nation, and world. That legacy was not produced by some faceless organization but was gained by the hard work of each and every one of you in uniform. We owe it to our history and our future to recruit the best and brightest for the Swamp Foxes.