Brothers sell Corps, recruit at home
By Staff Sgt. Ken Tinnin
| | November 30, 2005
RECRUITING STATION PORTSMOUTH, N.H. --
Being the smallest of the armed services, the Marine Corps has always considered itself a family, each Marine relying and depending on each other to accomplish the mission. But for two Marine Corps recruiters, that sense of family goes even a little deeper.
Staff Sgt.'s Joseph D. and Jeffery T. Langella are not only recruiters at Marine Corps Recruiting Station Portsmouth, N.H., but also brothers. Joe is the Staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of Recruiting Substation Brockton, Mass. and Jeff is the SNCOIC of RSS Southern Maine.
“We do a lot of cross pollination,” said Joe. “We talk about things that are happening on the streets, concerns parents are having, current events in our communities, the things our recruiters are encountering and ways we can help them be successful.”
“We were both born and raised in South Portland, Maine,” said Joe, whose military occupational specialty is 0193, administration chief. “Before coming on recruiting duty we were not able to get together for holidays and such. But now that we are both in the same command, we are able to see the entire family at least once a month.”
Being brothers not only gives them an additional support system, but also brings out the competitive side inherent in all Marines, which may run even deeper in siblings.
“As a canvassing recruiter, I always used to see how we matched up against each other,” said Jeff. “How many contracts we wrote and when we wrote them. As SNCOICs, we would look at how our crews matched up against each other. We have that competitive instinct that all Marines have, but it’s even stronger because we are brothers.”
Now, one might think Joe simply followed in his older brothers footsteps when it came to joining the Corps and volunteering for recruiting duty. But, it was the younger Langella that led the way in both cases.
“I was the first to join the Corps,” said Joe, who has served in the Marine Corps for 11years. “I was also the first to come out on recruiting duty. I was working as the Operations Clerk in Recruiting Station Houston, Texas, and was able to see applicants the day they joined the Delayed Entry Program, poolees the day they shipped to Recruit Training and the Marines when they came back from Recruit Training. I was able to see the positive change it made in their lives and it inspired me to want to mentor young people.”
Jeff had similar reasons for volunteering for recruiting duty.
“I felt recruiting was the most challenging of the b-billets and that it would propel my career,” said Jeff, whose military occupational specialty is 5811, military police, he is also a 1st degree black belt instructor trainer in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program. “Recruiting in the area where I was raised, I felt would have an advantage because I understand the people and how they think.”
Both Marines worked their way through the recruiting ranks first as canvassing recruiters; Joe as a recruiter in RSS North Boston and Jeff as a recruiter in RSS Plymouth, Mass., then as the SNCOIC of Plymouth before moving on to their current billets.
For both, recruiting duty has led to an array of experiences.
“I have learned how to deal with a variety of people and it has definitely strengthened my leadership abilities,” said Jeff.
“For me, helping young people steer their lives in a positive direction, and assisting them in building a solid foundation really satisfies me,” said Joe. “It is really rewarding when I get a call from a Marine in the fleet, who I enlisted, or sometimes even their parents, thanking me for everything I’ve done for them.”
But even for all they have gained, there have also been challenges.
“As a recruiter, the hardest part was time management,” said Joe. “There are so many moving parts, it’s easy to let something slide through the cracks.”
“For me the hardest part is being away from the fleet Marine Corps community,” said Jeff. “I miss the operating forces and sometimes feel displaced from the rest of the Marine Corps.”
For both, the most rewarding part of recruiting duty is knowing what they do has a positive effect on the future of the Marine Corps and their communities.
“It’s very rewarding to see the change in the people I enlist,” said Joe. “I love seeing the motivation of the applicants on enlistment day, the nervousness and fear of the unknown before they go to recruit training and the confidence they gain when they become a Marine; it’s awesome!”
“I know I’m helping young men and women succeed in life,” said Jeff. “I know they are going to experience things they would not have if I had not enlisted them in the Marine Corps. I also love hearing their stories of their journeys as Marines, things they have done, or are going to do.”
Having worked their way through the recruiting ranks, both were quick to attribute their successes.
“It’s all about having a positive mental attitude and enthusiasm,” said Joe. “If you are not excited about the Marine Corps, how is an applicant supposed to be?”
“Absolutely, hands down, I owe my success to a strong, supportive, loving wife,” said Jeff. “She has even initiated a few contracts. Recruiting took me by surprise. It is more challenging than I ever imagined. It is truly an example of ‘you only get out of it what you put in to it.’ It is more than just sitting behind a desk and having people walk in and sign up.”
So, do these successful Marines have any words of advice for their fellow Marines thinking of coming out on recruiting duty? You bet.
“Recruiting is an arena that you can never be 100 percent prepared for,” said Jeff. “You must have an open mind and success is pure personality and your level of involvement in you community.”
“You have to remain positive out here,” said Joe. “In the beginning, you will be lost. Learn as much as you can from your fellow recruiters and above all, listen to your SNCOIC, he really does know what he’s talking about.”
As for what the future holds for the Langellas, Joe wants to continue with recruiting and Jeff wants to get back out to the Fleet Marine Force.
“I want to become a career recruiter then a chief warrant officer, but more immediately I want to lead my RSS to become the RSS of the year.”
“I would love to get meritoriously promoted,” said Jeff. “I also just want to try and be the best Marine possible. Never forgetting what it means to be a Marine, being the best husband and father possible and always being an asset to whatever unit I’m attached to”.
Whatever the future may hold for the Langellas, it is clear that they both came on recruiting duty for the same reason, to mentor young people in their home area about the opportunities in the Marine Corps based on the successes they have experienced. For Joe, his goal of having his RSS be the RSS of the year was recently achieved when RSS Brockton was named 1st Marine Corps District’ Large Recruiting Substation of the Year.
For Jeff his interest in sports and community involvement led to a position as the Strength and Conditioning Coach for Greely High School in Southern Maine. The school is one of RSS Southern Maine’ non-working schools. Through his coaching position, and his positive impact on not only the athletes and students he came into contact with on a daily basis, but also the school faculty, Jeff was able to form a relationship with the school that should pave the way to better relations with the Corps.