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A rodeo attendee attempts pull-ups during a Marine Corps Pull-Up Challenge at the Salinas Rodeo in Salinas, California Sept. 25, 2021. The Marines of Recruiting Sub-Station Salinas hosted a pull-up challenge and talked to rodeo attendees interested in learning more about the opportunities available within the Marine Corps. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Alina Thackray)

Photo by Sgt. Alina Thackray

MCRC briefly celebrates FY21 mission success, focuses on FY22 challenges

15 Oct 2021 | By Gunnery Sgt. Justin Boling PEO Land Systems

Marine Corps Recruiting Command (MCRC) successfully closed out Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 mission in all categories, Sept. 30, 2021, signally an end to one of the more challenging years in recent memory for the command. 

Despite several challenges that greatly impacted recruiting efforts, the daily grind, commitment, and relentless effort of Marine Recruiters and Officer Selection Officers (OSOs) across the Nation resulted in more than 1,880 officer accessions and 36,424 enlisted accessions during FY 2021.

“We overcame wildfires, blizzards, floods, a flattened shipping model, the highest reserve mission since 2010, the loss of Boot Leavers [new Marines coming home from recruit training to assist Marine Recruiters], experienced closed schools, low propensity, and a hyper-competitive market, all in the midst of the global pandemic and the arrival of the more deadly Delta variant,” said Major Gen. Jason Q. Bohm, MCRC, Commanding General. “You cannot keep Marines down.  We are winners. We adapt, we overcome, and we accomplish our mission together, because we know our Corps is relying on us.”

In addition to accomplishing all assigned recruiting missions, the recruiting force achieved great successes in diversity and female accessions. 

The command’s OSOs achieved historic success with diversity representation, with more than 35 percent of all new officer candidates being diverse.  Additionally, 15.1 percent of all officer accessions were women, which is the highest number of female officer accessions the Marine Corps has ever accessed in a Fiscal Year, and greatly exceeded the goal of 10 percent.  Within the enlisted ranks, 48 percent of all new enlisted recruits contributed to diversity representation, which is an increase from 43 percent in 2020. 

"Aiming to bring in the perspectives of Americans from all walks of life is key to acquiring talented men and women of every race, color and creed,” said Col. Warren C. Cook,  the Assistant Chief of Staff of Operations, MCRC. “Marine Corps Recruiting Command achieved and went beyond our projected goals in diversity both for enlisted and officer components. This can be attributable to our deliberate assignment of Marines to recruit in all corners of the Nation.  It’s how we attain a reflection and representation of the rich fabric of the American people and culture.  This will remain a priority and we will continue this effort in the upcoming fiscal year."

Throughout the year, Marine Recruiters also had to make adjustments and adapt to the impacts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, which interrupted the Corps “face-to-face” recruiting methodology. The recruiting force had limited access to schools, classrooms and career fairs throughout the country, creating a major setback for interactions with the prospect market.

“Being able to meet face-to-face with our target audience is our bread and butter,” said MSgt Jeremiah Bentz, Marketing Chief and Career Recruiter, MCRC. “There is no better proof source or awareness product than a Marine Recruiter in the dress blue uniform being able to speak with potential applicants.”

 The Marine recruiting force had to overcome this lack of access and rely more heavily on advertising, marketing and innovative techniques to reach their target audience.

“We are excited about our modernization efforts, but also know that we must reset and retrain in the tried and proven tools that have sustained Marine Corps Recruiting for years,” said Sgt. Major Adan F. Moreno, the MCRC Sergeant Major.  “As such, our focus for FY 22 is getting “back to the basics” of systematic recruiting. COVID caused us to adjust our recruiting efforts in many ways that may have worked in the short term but risk sustaining the mission over time.”

Marine Corps recruiting is looking to get “back to the basics” while blending in new strategies and programs to maintain continued mission success during the challenges that lie ahead for FY22.  For example, the command is researching efforts, such as the use of artificial intelligence and gaming methodology, to help assist the effort of recruiting future generations of Marines.

“We will no doubt face challenges in FY22, but you will be happy to hear that we have set the conditions for regaining momentum and helping all to succeed in the new year,” said Bohm. “Boot Leave is back on track, we fixed the shipping model to provide relief during FMAM [February, March, April and May], the reserve mission is more manageable, and we are developing new tools to assist recruiters in focusing their efforts on finding, attracting, and recruiting the most talented applicants as part of our modernization efforts to best support the Commandant’s vision for Force Design 2030.”