WASHINGTON D.C. -- At any given time, there are approximately 3,760 Marines serving as canvassing recruiters in communities throughout the United States and its territories. The Marines who hold these billets provide opportunities for men and women with the fighting spirit the chance to become United States Marines.
Each year, Marine Corps Recruiting Command (MCRC) challenges recruiters to do their best and awards six recruiters the title of District Recruiter of the Year with one which is selected as the Recruiter of the Year as part of the Commandant of the Marine Corps' (CMC) Combined Awards Program.
The program demonstrates CMC gratitude for outstanding performance by recruiters, prior service recruiters, drill instructors, combat instructors, security guards, and career retention specialists. It has long been recognized that Marines within these job fields make invaluable contributions and sacrifices while completing these special duties within the Marine Corps.
These awards are designed to provide recognition for performance that reflects exceptional leadership, management and organizational skills, devotion to duty and initiative in support of making Marines as well as meeting worldwide security requirements, and maintaining a quality enlisted career force.
“Any Marine who is awarded ‘Recruiter of the Year,’ is a Marine who has embraced systematic recruiting and maximized every part of it,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Michael Bragin, the career recruiter monitor and occupational field sponsor at MCRC. “Their days are filled with hours of prospecting, selling the Marine Corps story and building relationships within their community. They are the ‘mayor of their town.’”
To be selected, a nominee from each of the six Marine Corps Districts is screened by a selection board at every level of the command structure. The board is convened by the commanding general (CG) of MCRC with one nominee being selected as the CMC Combined Awards Program Recruiter of the Year.
Gunnery Sgt. Donald Jackson Jr., a native of Port Royal, Va., showed continued excellence in the performance of his duties as a recruiter at Permanent Contact Station (PCS) Hagerstown, Recruiting Sub-station (RSS) Martinsburg, Recruiting Station Frederick, 4th Marine Corps District, earning him the title of CMC Recruiter of the Year for Fiscal Year (FY) 2017.
“I try to be the best Marine and person I can be,” said Jackson. “I don’t lie to anyone; I listen and genuinely care about their future. I love being a Marine and I think that applicants can see that when they meet me. I share my life experiences with them, mentor them on being a Marine and assist them in making good choices.”
Recruiting duty is extremely challenging. Marine recruiters often work more than 60 hours a week and engage with thousands of people. It takes approximately 10,000 contacts with prospects to deliver 50 Marines to the operational forces of the Marine Corps. Today, 75 percent of age-qualified youth are unqualified for service often due to medical, moral and educational reasons. Of the remaining 25 percent of the population - less than 10 percent of that pool are interested in military service.
Throughout FY 2017, Jackson shipped a total of 30 applicants to recruit training, had a net production (the total number of contracts minus all pool discharges, divided by the number of months on productivity) of 2.75, a pool discharge rate of six-percent and a Marine Corps Recruit Depot discharge rate of three-percent.
These numbers are what set him apart from the other recruiters across the nation.
Jackson’s success speaks for itself and new recruiters can learn from his accomplishments.
“Work as hard as you can for the first year,” said Jackson. “It will come back to you three-fold for the last two years of your tour. Using social media to gain access to applicants helps as well.”
Jackson works diligently and effectively, consistently putting in extra time not only for his poolees, but his peers as well.
“He [Jackson] will put in extra hours to ensure all of his poolees are taken care of, ensuring they see the honor, courage, and commitment,” said Gunnery Sgt. Daniel A. Wright, staff non-commissioned officer in charge for RSS Martinsburg. “He will also set aside extra hours for command recruiters when they return to the area to show them around and take care of them as if they were one of his own.”
Jackson is scheduled to finish his tour as a recruiter in June 2018, where he will then return to his primary military occupational specialty as a combat engineer with 2nd Combat Engineering Battalion aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.