Va. Air Guard Recruiters conduct recruiting, outreach activities at air show

A friendly competition in pushups was one of several activities hosted by Va. Air Guard recruiters at the Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show Sept. 21, 2014. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Meaghan E. M. Selki, Virginia Air National Guard Public Affairs)

A friendly competition in pushups was one of several activities hosted by Va. Air Guard recruiters at the Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show Sept. 21, 2014. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Meaghan E. M. Selki, Virginia Air National Guard Public Affairs)

OCEANA NAVAL AIR STATION, Va. – Virginia Air National Guard recruiters teamed up with the Air National Guard Mobile Experience and conducted informational outreach and spoke with several hundred potential Airmen at the Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show Sept. 19-21, 2014.

“The Air National Guard Mobile Experience takes participants on a journey of life in the Air National Guard by letting them participate in simulated challenges. The tour consists of five touring vehicles designed to educate American’s on the dual role of the Air Guard. We test their physical strength, hone in on their surveillance skills with a reconnaissance mission, and let them customize their journey by playing tech challenges that mirror Air Guard careers,” said Amanda Martin, a crewmember of the Air National Guard Mobile Experience.

Friendly competition ensued throughout the day as individuals stepped up to see how many push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups each could perform in 60 seconds. The highest male and female scores for each category were displayed by name on a leader board.

Adjacent to the physical fitness challenges, an informational tent displayed several interactive technology stations that provided details about basic military training, physical fitness standards and other information potential recruits need to become familiar with as they decide whether to join the ranks.

The air show is one of the largest events for the Va. Air National Guard recruiters, and it takes a team to pull it off. Master Sgt. Neil Keane, Recruiting and Retention non-commissioned officer for the 203rd RED HORSE Squadron, spearheaded the effort. Recruiters Tech Sgt. Kevin W. Singleton, production recruiter for the 192nd Fighter Wing, Master Sgt. Rick Dumas, recruiting office supervisor for the 192nd Fighter Wing, Staff Sgt. Meredith Munroe, production recruiter for the 203rd RHS, and Senior Airman Phillip Honie, production recruiter for the 192nd Fighter Wing, also worked the event with crewmembers from the Air National Guard Mobile Experience team and Airmen from the 203rd RHS that volunteered to support the event.

“An air show is a chance to really accelerate public awareness,” said Keane. “The Guard Bureau brings us assets that we by ourselves could not afford – this van, this equipment and a crew that dedicates themselves to traveling six months a year. Without this support, we’d never be able to reach as many people by ourselves.”

Some of the many potential recruits come from visiting Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps programs. One such group from North Surry High School in Mount Airy, N.C., spent quite some time engaging in physical fitness competitions against each other and themselves at the display. First Sergeant Kenneth Goetzke travelled with the cadets, and even he stepped up to perform the pull up challenge as students cheered him on.

“These kinds of events provide our cadets the opportunity to see a real-world military environment in action and meet some of the professional suitors that we talk about all the time in the classroom,” said Goetzke.

The JROTC group traveled over 360 miles on an activity bus to attend the show Saturday.

This year, the 2014 NAS Oceana Air Show partnered with the Navy Wounded Warrior/Safe Harbor program to host the event. In 2013, the air show was cancelled due to budget constraints. The return of the NAS Oceana Air Show this year was exciting for the community and visiting spectators as it has historically been one of the biggest platforms on the East Coast for the U.S. Navy Blue Angels’ flight demonstration.