Somebody's Gotta Do It: Military Recruiter - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Somebody's Gotta Do It: Military Recruiter

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) – Adapt and overcome is a personal motto for Marcus Ochoa, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Air Force.

Part of his job as a military recruiter is to get his recruits ready for basic training.  "For everybody that joins the Air Force, it's not always easy to adapt and overcome.  Sometimes they're going to come with challenges," said Ochoa. 

"In the Delayed Entry Program they're going to get challenges that are sometimes hard.  For example, in basic training someone might go in there really in good shape already because they were doing sports in school, whatever, some of them won't, they might be doing a job that maybe isn't so physically demanding, so, regardless what's their background they're going to have to adapt to be able to work as a team in basic training to be able to accomplish their overall mission.  That's what it means adapt and overcome," said Ochoa.

The first leg of the current group of DEP enlistees is almost complete.  They have passed the strict requirements to join the Air Force.

"Anybody between the ages of 17 and 27 is eligible.  Obviously, if they're under 18, they have to have parental consent.  They have to have good moral standards meaning no criminal background.  They have to go through a credit check process.  They have to meet height and weight standards and they have to be very motivated to want to join.  And, they have to be able to pass our entrance exam, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test and meet minimal requirements for that."

"I feel like I'm a part of something bigger and I have a new family because of it and I'm so excited to go and this whole conditioning has really prepared me and I'm ready to go," said Anna Hodges, recruit, U.S. Air Force.

"So far, it's been kind of a long (journey) one.  I kind of decided that this was something I was going to do around November.  Growing up, I grew up like around all my male cousins and stuff, so, I was always outside with them.  It wasn't really a big deal too much as being one of the guys, I guess," said Angelina Simon, recruit, U.S. Air Force.

"Around August, I had a great job, had everything going for me, but I didn't have the education I wanted.  Took college for a semester or two and didn't have the money to fund it.  Me and my friends, we were talking about going to the military.  We didn't know which branch we wanted to go into and we started looking into it.  The Air Force had maybe three times more than all the other branches in the educational area, so, we talked to Staff Sergeant Ochoa to figure out what we needed to do and he helped us through it all the way," said Benjamin Williams, recruit, U.S. Air Force.

"As soon as I really decided that this is what I was going to do, I started working out on my own and it's basically all I've been doing you know running and doing push-ups and sit-ups when I can," said Simon.

"Worst part is personal, it's not recruiting with me.  I don't have access to a base right here in town.  It's great having access to a base that's tax free, the movie theatre and so on.  I have to drive an hour and a half to a base but it's not that big of a deal, but that's probably the worst part of it.  I miss that," said Ochoa 

Ochoa says in his 3-1/2 years recruiting, he has heard many reasons for wanting to join the military.  "Service to country.  Education programs, so they can further their education, and job security are definitely probably the top three reasons why people join," said Ochoa.

"It's really my education.  The Air Force offers great education and job security and the chance and opportunity to see the world.  I'm the first female of my family to be going into the military, so, I'm more than proud," said Hodges.

"Now it's my job to keep them motivated on why they joined, the reasons they joined, to get them in better physical shape, as best as I can.  I'm to teach them Air Force study material like rank structure, the airman's creed, things like that to help prepare them so when they go there they can focus on team involvement attention to detail and also physical training and such things like that."

"Just don't give up on yourself and don't think you can't do it just because it's mostly men out there, you can do anything you put your mind to," said Simon.

"We have people under us.  We coach them and help them out through their day to day.  We let them know they need to exercise and keep strong.  Just know the world is in front of them right now they have a lot to do and we keep them motivated and wanting it," said Williams.

"The worst part is probably saying goodbye to everybody," said Hodges.

These recruits are waiting on deployment to their next assignment which will likely be basic training camp in San Antonio within the next few months.

"I have to do a lot of traveling and things like that but in 3-1/2 years.  I've put in a lot of people that's a lot of families.  I've touched a lot of people that I've got to meet.  That's the reason I became a recruiter," said Ochoa.

And, that is why he has made a career of helping recruits adapt and overcome.

Somebody's Got To Do It.

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