By SGT Che’mar Harris
As an AG professional, it is important that we remain on the cutting edge of technology, resources and our Army’s ever-changing policies and procedures. This is a concept that is understood well by our seasoned AG warriors to include our Senior Noncommissioned Officers, but not necessarily a pearl of wisdom that is handed down to our junior Soldiers and NCOs. At the same time though, although the veteran members of our field understand the importance of remaining flexible and adaptive, it is easier said than done to keep some of them up-to-date on new information. This certainly isn’t due to a lack of interest or care much like it isn’t a lack of passion for our field that can sometimes leave our junior enlisted personnel behind, it is simply a lack of ease of access of communication and mentorship between the two.
In my current role as the Battalion Social Media Manager, I have been forced to take a look at the Army as a whole and the way our profession is represented through the eyes of a youngster. Naturally, our target market is young men and women between the ages of 17 and 25 which can be the same age bracket as a new 42A. I have had applicants express to me that they looked for an Army Recruiter on Instagram and I was one of the few they found and that is why they decided to work with me. To some, this may seem obscure but when observed with an open mind, this is a gold mine and can be the wave of the future for the AGCRA! In order for us to effectively reach out to our junior enlisted population it is imperative we reach them at their level. This is not meant to insult anyone or insinuate that a younger crowd is not interested in networking resources; in fact it’s the opposite. Our junior enlisted population are young millennials much like myself and are members of the information generation. We are used to having tons of information at our fingertips and are not used to doing a great deal of research when searching for an answer. In my opinion, this is the reason why Facebook groups such as the 42A Human Resources Specialist/Sergeant page is so popular and continues to earn new members daily. Suddenly AG professionals and curious Soldiers alike have a wealth of information a click and a scroll away and no longer have to search regulations. What if we applied this same concept to the AGCRA but added a unique twist?
Infographics are incredibly popular because they offer a single image filled with accurate, quick-reference information that is pertinent to whatever the viewer is searching for. If this same concept was applied within the AGCRA, we could attract junior Soldiers to join our organization. To offer a twist though, as opposed to leaving the infographic as-is as a quick reference to a certain degree, dissuades research, turn it into something fun that entices membership and involvement. Every Soldier dons their uniform with pride and enjoys earning medals and awards that showcase what they’ve done, how they’ve contributed to the Army and allows them to add a new adornment to their dress uniform. Few junior Soldiers are aware that AG professionals may earn special awards specific to our MOS which not only showcase an achievement, but also sets them apart from all other MOS’ since awards such as the Theodore Roosevelt Medal and Benjamin Harrison Medal are only available to AG Soldiers. Imagine an infographic that showcased a Soldier in their ASUs that housed the ASU measurements (that’s a staple in the Google search bar for nearly all junior Soldiers) but the photo included a Soldier proudly sporting his/her Horatio Gates Honorary Medal. A medal that although easy to identify for a seasoned AG professional, is something that would spark interest for a new Soldiers who is still learning their awards and medals and encourage the young Soldier to research what this medal represents and how it is earned thus leading them to inquire about AGCRA membership. This approach not only accomplishes one of the objectives of an AG professional by being a steward of good information, not only the objective of the AGCRA by offering an opportunity for networking and build a sense of fellowship within the Army but also reaching our junior Soldiers at their level by appealing to their curiosity, thirst for knowledge and appealing to the vanity by offering an opportunity to join an exclusive group just for our MOS. The appropriate application of these three concepts with a little ingenuity, social media savvy and creativity will not only captivate the interest of junior Soldiers but will reach them at their level and through mentorship provided by other AGCRA members, bring these young high speeds up to our level as seasoned AG warriors.
Once we have garnered the interest in the AGCRA from our junior population with social media and meeting them at their level, I believe an opportunity for mentorship and fellowship is a key element to keeping our new 42As on board with the AGCRA. It is no secret that the Army’s mission is training and at times, to fight the nation’s wars. The problem with that is when a 42A is assigned to a unit that is not an AG or Postal unit, the focus is not on our field but instead, the mission or objective of their assigned unit. Then I was a new Soldier at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA I was assigned to a Stryker Brigade Combat Team and spent a majority of my time in the field. I was able to go on spur ride with my cavalry battalion, complete the Manchu Mile with one of my infantry Battalions and even complete the EIB course “just for fun” with the same unit but in my 2.5 years with the Raider Brigade never did I have AG centric training and this is how the AGCRA can develop leaders in the AG community.
With these concepts and principles in mind, I believe we could appeal to our younger AG warriors and indoctrinate them into the AG community and continue to build a legacy for the AGCRA. It’s not enough to capture the interest of our junior leaders. We must appeal to their sense of pride in self and profession, determination to excel and engender a commitment to excellence within our field and beyond.