By Staff Sgt. Tammy Spence
The Virginia Army National Guard has a recruiting incentive program that allows soldiers to help themselves while helping their unit. The program is called “Show me the Soldier”.
“Show me the Soldier” started in September of 2003 as a result of the Personnel Readiness Focus Campaign which was the Adjutant General’s campaign to increase the number of soldiers in the VaARNG by 10% in three years. Since its beginning, approximately 230 soldiers have received this incentive.
According to Sgt. Major John Owens Recruiting and Retention Sergeant Major for the VaARNG, “Strength in personnel and readiness make units available to National Guard Bureau for various mission assignments. The Adjutant General surveyed other states such as West Virginia and Georgia and noticed they have similar programs in place to increase unit strength.”
When the program first started in Virginia, the state funded award was $100.00 for each referral. A soldier recommended a friend for enlistment giving his/her name and phone number to their recruiter. Once the referral enlisted in the VaARNG, the referring soldier was given a check for $100.00. The program was so successful that the Adjutant General decided to raise the amount to $200.00 per referral.
Soldiers transferring from other states do not count as referrals. Referrals can be prior service individuals or non prior service so long as they are not currently enlisted in a military unit. Referrals can also be officers and warrant officers.
Those not eligible for the stipend are soldiers working in or for recruiting as a technician, AGR or ADSW.
Another incentive is the Virginia National Guard Strength Maintenance Ribbon awarded for three referrals that enlist within an 18 month period. So far 10 soldiers have been awarded this ribbon.
Another incentive program was the Victory Challenge which ran from June 18 to Nov. 30, 2003 and was hosted by National Guard Bureau. Under this program soldiers that referred three individuals who enlisted, were given the Director’s Victory Challenge Coin in a case, a framed certificate and letter and either a leather Victory jacket or a jacket with the #54 printed on it.
If the soldier referring the individuals was the rank of private, he or she was also eligible for promotion to private first class. There were numerous other awards also given. Incentives under the Victory Challenge even included a “Gold” level for five enlistments which included additional awards. Other incentives will be coming out mid October 2004.