Virginia recruiters recognized for excellence

Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, recognizes the Virginia Army National Guard’s top recruiters Jan. 23, 2019, at the Sergeant Bob Slaughter Headquarters at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia. (U.S. National Guard photo by Cotton Puryear)

RICHMOND, Va. — Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, recognized the Virginia Army National Guard’s top recruiters Jan. 23, 2019, at the Sergeant Bob Slaughter Headquarters at Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia. He also commended the Recruiting and Retention Battalion for their success at the recent National Guard Strength Maintenance Advisory Group – Region II competitions.

“Our recruiters, whether they are Army or Air, are the life blood of our organization,” Williams said.

Among those recognized were Staff Sgt. Brandon Huntley who was named as the recruiting battalion’s Rookie of the Year. During his first year on mission as a recruiter, Huntley achieved 116 percent of his mission and a 100 percent ship rate for his enlistments. He also placed second at the SMAG II competition in the rookie category.

Staff Sgt. Michael Hancock was recognized for earning the Director’s 54, an award that recognizes the “individual strength maintenance skills in all functions of recruiting and retention,” according to Lt. Col. Alyssa Astphan, commander of the recruiting battalion. To earn this award, Hancock achieved 271 percent of his assigned mission for 2018 and managed a 93 percent ship rate. Hancock came in second place in the SMAG II Director’s 54 competition and also earned the battalion’s Top Gun Award for the highest number of enlisted accessions in 2018.

Master Sgt. Donnie Brizendine received recognition after earning the Expert 7 of the Year award at both the state level and at the SMAG II competition. The award “recognizes superior leadership and strength maintenance skills in all functions,” according to Astphan. Brizendine serves as the Area 2 section chief and is responsible for leadings team of nine recruiting and retention noncommissioned officers who accomplished 120 percent of their mission in 2018 while achieving a 94 percent ship rate.

Several other Virginia National Guard recruiters were recognized previously for their success during 2018. Sgt. Ricardo McIntosh was named the top High School Recruiter of the Year, Staff Sgt. George Winters was named the Non-School Trained Recruiter of the Year and Sgt. 1st Class Jessica Dickenson was recognized for the highest Recruit Sustainment Program ship rate with 100 percent.

“These three NCOs really did a phenomenal job at putting boots in the Virginia National Guard, and their efforts have directly impacted the ability of units to train and maintain high levels of readiness,” Astphan said.