Quality over quantity for potential airmen
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- The first step one takes on the path to becoming an Airman is the one that takes you over the threshold into a recruiter's office. On Yokota Air Base, this office can be found in building 316 on Airlift Avenue and is manned by Master Sgt. Victor Donado Jr., 369th Air Force Recruiting Squadron Pacific enlisted accession recruiter.
The differences between stateside and overseas recruiting include the possible recruit pool, consisting only of dependents, the large area of responsibility for the recruiter and Yokota having specific requirements for a recruiter to be stationed here. The recruiter must have already served in that position in the United States and have experience working with the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS).
Donado has served 11 years as an Air Force recruiter, a voluntary special duty, in San Diego, El Paso Texas and Washington D.C. before being stationed at Yokota in August of 2012.
Donado volunteered for the chance to give back to the Air Force.
"The Air Force has been good to me and it opened doors for me to grow as a person and also as a professional," Donado said. "I would like others to have the same opportunities."
Yokota's recruiter is also the MEPS liaison for all bases in mainland Japan. This allows potential recruits to complete the entire process through one point of contact at Yokota.
"It's almost one-stop shopping in a way because you get to do everything here," Donado said.
With a long qualifying list and Air Force personnel reductions, he advises high school seniors to begin the process with six to eight months left in their senior year. The enlistment process can take up to a year so preparation is key. One reason the process takes so long is that the Air Force is constantly raising its standards to meet the new focus on quality airmen.
"Right now the standards are higher... much higher," Donado said. "Right now we're not dealing with the numbers, it's more the quality of the recruits."
For those interested in enlisting for active duty contact Donado at 315-225-7328. For Air National Guard call 312-382-9710 and 315-225-6388 for the Air Force Reserve.