It is no secret that the military is a demanding career. Time with one’s family can sometimes be limited. But being a Marine is not without benefits, and even with long days and missed family time, excellence is recognized and rewarded.
For Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Christopher B. Afetian, that recognition came this past July when he received a highly coveted meritorious promotion.
“I worked countless hours on this duty to obtain the best quality applicants for the Marine Corps,” said Afetian. “Monday through Saturday, over 14-hour days for over nine months straight.”
Aftetian’s peers and former bosses like Staff Sgt. Melinda M. Baca from Brunswick, Georgia, saw his potential shortly after meeting him. They credit his promotion to the ambition and drive he has demonstrated throughout his recruiting tour.
“I first met Staff Sgt. Afetian, then sergeant, summer of 2009 while I working as the chief dispatcher at Base Motors on Marine Corps Base Quantico,” said Baca, staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Recruiting Sub-station Woodbridge. “We worked together for two years, stayed in touch, then reconnected again three years later at Recruiting Station Fredrick. He’s inquisitive, energetic and keeps me on my toes.”
Afetian grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, and graduated from Green Valley High School in 2003. He joined the Marine Corps in November, 2004, in the motor transportation field, and he picked up the rank of sergeant in December, 2008.
A couple years later, he met Vee Prapakonpipat, who is originally from Thailand and grew up in Southern California. They married in March 2012 and now have two children, ages 6 and 2.
Afetian, who is currently serving as the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Recruiting Sub-Station Martinsburg, began his tour of recruiting duty on November 2013. Together, he and his wife have learned many lessons while adapting to the stresses of the job.
“It has definitely given me the opportunity to learn better time management, appreciate the little things in life that we have, and enjoy every precious moment with our loved ones,” said Afetian. “My wife helped me prepare by continuously being there to support me and push me through hard days as well as being understanding that this duty demands many hours.”
Before recruiting duty, Afetian’s work schedule was very precise, according to Prapakonpipat.
“He would leave at a certain time in the morning and walk through the door at the same time every evening, but with recruiting duty, family/couples time is truly (precious),” she said. “The change I had to make for recruiting duty was to understand that my husband was (always) working. Are the hours horrible? Yes! Is it worth it to see all the kids he's helping? Absolutely!”
Afetian’s family is more than happy to see him progressing in his career, but the meritiorious promotion was not surprising to them, according to Prapakonpipat.
“My first thought was, ‘No surprise there!’” she said. “Of course my husband won the board; he's worked too hard not to! My reaction was extreme happiness and just so much pride in him.”
Afetian has one year left on recruiting duty. His current goal is to become a career recruiter – an 8412 as it is known in recruiting. These professional experts stay in the recruiting field and will usually forgo returning to their original jobs, opting instead to help the Marine Corps continue its mission of finding highly qualified men and women to fill its ranks.
“Hopefully, I have what it take to become an 8412,” said Afetian. “If not, then I will go back to my (military occupational specialty) as a motor transportation chief and do great things for the Marine Corps as I always have and will continue to do.”