Lakewood, Ohio --
Part of being a Marine is being the best in any activity. For one recruiter, being the best paid off when he was selected as the 4th Marine Corps District’s Recruiter of the Year.
A shipping total of 28 applicants and net production of 2.25 set Staff Sgt. Donald Roberts Jr., a Monterey, Calif., native, apart from recruiters representing the seven other recruiting stations in the 4th Marine Corps District, earning him the title recruiter of the year for fiscal year 2013. He will now compete against the top recruiters from the other five recruiting districts in the country for Marine Corps Recruiting Command’s recruiter of the year.
“It is nice to be recognized, but I was just doing my job,” said Roberts.
Roberts, an infantryman, came on to recruiting duty in November of 2011. He was informed of his selection to take on the B-billet while on deployment in Afghanistan.
“I never had the mindset to complain about having to leave the infantry to go into recruiting,” he said. “I have always said that if the Marine Corps tells me to do it, I will do it.”
Since joining the team of Recruiting Sub-station Lakewood, Roberts has always had the attitude of working hard to get results. During the first six months of his tour, he had to work a whole lot harder to get where he wanted to be.
“When I first got here, I took over a sector that traditionally has been tough for recruiters,” Roberts explained. “I had to work really hard to get anything out of some of those schools.”
A typical day for Roberts would have him finishing up around 10 p.m. during the work week. His persistence paid off when the contracts became more and more frequent.
“I think that being able to deal with the tough times in the beginning helped me become a better recruiter in the end,” he said.
He credits giving a great deal of attention to his pool as being a contributing factor to his success. In his time as a recruiter, he never once took a Marine Corps Recruit Depot discharge and only took two pool discharges. A discharge is when a recruit has been found to be unfit for service.
“For me, it is not just about getting contracts,” he said. “It is all about the quality. I want to make sure that they are ready for recruit training. Not just ready to go, but ready to excel.”
The command took notice of his performance and achievements and put in a package for him to be meritoriously promoted.
“His aggressiveness and willingness to constantly take the initiative has made him successful here on recruiting duty,” said Maj. Jonathan Glover, RS Cleveland commanding officer. “He is not fixated on the problems he faces, but rather finding a solution.”
Glover believes that the characteristics he possesses are important not only on recruiting duty, but as a leader of Marines serving in any billet.
A validation of his efforts came in the form of a meritorious promotion to the rank of staff sergeant in July and the recent increase of responsibility becoming the new staff noncommissioned officer in charge of RSS Lakewood.
“As a SNCOIC of a station, I try to look at it in the same way that I would as a platoon sergeant (of an infantry company),” said Roberts. “As far as strategic planning and phase lines, the concept is the same even if missions and objectives are different. I like having that overall responsibility of the team and their success.”
Though Roberts has found much success as a recruiter, he is still excited about making his way back to the operating forces when his tour is done next year.
“This duty has given me the opportunity to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone, but I love being an infantry Marine and will do that until the Marine Corps says I no longer can,” he said. “I think that is one of the reasons I have done well. The things that we offer to young men and women are the things that I get really excited about. I want to get back out there and do it too!”