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Staff Sergeant Garret Grimes, US Air Force, grew up in the small town of Mabank, Texas; immediately entered community college upon graduation from high school in 2000, and two years later said it was time to join the service and serve his country. Eight years later, in his job as a recruiting Non-Commissioned Officer, he is committed to helping other young men and women enter the Air Force.

Here is what a retired serviceman and a reader of these articles, Buddy Goddard of Austin, Texas, says about his experience with SSGT Grimes as he assisted Buddy’s nephew who wanted to enlist. “SSGT Grimes has turned out to be a real gem. He is late twenties, married, two kids, blond hair, blue eyes, crew cut, who looks, acts, and talks like the All American boy next door. From the day I met him, I knew he would do everything in his power to get my grand nephew into the Air Force. He has proven to be an exceptional young man who knows just what to say in just the right manner. He does not over promise, or over sell, but tells it like it is. He is very good at what he does and I am very impressed with him. Watching him work has opened up a whole new view of the recruiter and the difficulties they face.”

But SSGT Grimes was not always a recruiter. After basic training in San Antonio he then started the process of becoming a Satellite Space Systems technician. Instruction at both Lackland Air Force Base (AFB) in Texas and then the specialized US Army School at Fort Gordon, Georgia, prepared him for his first assignment in South Korea. From there it was back to the States with an assignment to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana…and that’s where he was introduced to the opportunity of becoming a recruiter and helping others enter the service.

After training in this new profession, he was assigned to Austin, Texas in June of 2006 where he is currently located. As he says, “The biggest challenge in recruiting is finding qualified people as 73% of America’s youth are not qualified to serve in the Air Force (do not meet the physical or educational requirements). When I talk with prospective candidates, I tell them they are going to have the opportunity to serve in the world’s greatest Air Force and they should be proud to be a part of it. I help them understand the benefits and how those benefits can help them reach some personal goals they may have.”

There are always jokes among people in the service about “their” recruiter. As the stories go, they will promise everything but deliver nothing. Maybe so in the old days, but no longer.

Today, believe it or not, one of the major obstacles to people enlisting in the service is they are simply overweight and do not meet the physical training (PT) test standards. Second problem is lack of a high school degree; and finally trouble with the law eliminates many who are seeking to serve their country.

Men and women like SSGT Grimes ensure the best of our young men and women get the opportunity and the honor of serving our country in her time of need. If you are ever walking down 6th Street in Austin and see a sharp looking young man in Air Force uniform with the name tag of Grimes, please say hello and thank him for his service for all of us.

Jerry Hogan is a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel who volunteers to write these articles. He can be reached at jerryhogan@sbcglobal.net or 214-394-4033. His web site is www.themilitaryview.com