Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, Texas --
For Olympic athletes, winning a competition means more than just overcoming physical adversity. It involves having a sound mind in relation to stable mental resilience. Similar to these world-renowned athletes, some of the top performing staff non-commissioned officers and recruiters of the 8th Marine Corps District challenged themselves both mentally and physically during the “Game of Bones” offensive.
The 20 top performers of the offensive were announced in January and invited to attend the 2019 fiscal year “Game of Bones” offensive seminar, which took place from Feb. 25 to March 1 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The seminar was used to not only commend the Marines for their efforts during the offensive, but also provide training and guidance in areas of mental resilience and quiet professionalism.
“The Game of Bones is a winter recruiting offensive for 90 days, and the intent was to increase individual recruiting productivity with the intention of maximizing the number of appointments and interviews that each recruiter would generate in that period,” said Col. Keven Matthews, the commanding officer of 8th MCD.
Some of the inspiration behind the offensive, which went from Oct. 1 until Dec. 31, came from the overall culture of recruiting duty from the past, said Matthews.
“Recruiting stations using offensives goes as far back to when I was a recruiting station commander,” he continued. “It’s a part of a business and is a proven technique to increase quality contracting.”
While past recruiting offensives shared the common theme of targeting specific demographics to acquire contracts, “Game of Bones” was unique in expanding the target range for recruiting.
“The offensives done in the past were targeted,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Anthony Henry, the training team chief for the 8th MCD. “For example, we would have an offensive towards grad contracts, seniors, or bandsmen. This was targeted toward everything.”
Of the 496 recruiters in the 8th MCD, 10 SNCOICs and 10 recruiters were selected as winners. However, only one SNCOIC and one recruiter was acknowledged as the top winners.
“I think we met our aim,” said Henry. “We definitely generated more business from this offensive.”
Staff Sgt. Dylan Case, the recipient of the top SNCOIC recruiter award, has been on recruiting for just a year, and this success has set the bar high for FY20. However, he is always ready to help his fellow recruiters in the district, so they can also be successful in future offensives.
“Hard work, taking care of your Marines and brilliance in the basics are keys to be successful on recruiting,” said Case, the SNCOIC of Recruiting Substation Conroe, RS Houston.
These are important tools to use while guiding recruiters and ensuring they are successful on the job, he added.
During the seminar, the Marines visited the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. They were given a tour of the facility and had a chance to sit down with Peter Haberl, a senior sports psychologist for the United States Olympic Committee. Haberl stressed the importance of having a sturdy mental state of mind as well as a strong body.
That focus on mental resilience came in handy the next day, when the Marines embarked on a 1-hour hike up the Manitou Incline Trail in Manitou Springs, Colorado. The trail itself is 2,744 steps and goes up 2,000 feet in elevation from start to finish.
“I was actually sick the week prior to the seminar, so I knew that the hike might be a challenge for me,” said Staff Sgt. Cipriano Hinojosa, the recipient of the top recruiter award. “But, I couldn’t come in last. I had just won this award, so I knew I had it in me. So, I pushed myself both mentally and physically.”
Hinojosa, a recruiter at RSS Westlakes, RS San Antonio, said the class at the Olympic Training Center was useful not only on the trail, but also back in his daily recruiting. He said often the walls that people face are created in their own minds. During the training, they focused on trusting in your own abilities.
“Believe in yourself. Apply training and it will work,” said Henry. “It is all mental. Things are as bad as you say they are. If you think things are going to be tough, things will be tougher out here. If you think you will achieve and you believe it, then you will.”