Va. Army Guard recruiters recognized as top in region

Master Sgt. Donnie Brizendine and Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Fretwell pose together with the Virginia National Guard’s command team following their respective wins as the regional recruiting supervisor of the year and the regional recruiter of the year Nov. 7, 2019, in West Virginia. (Courtesy Photo)

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia National Guard recruiters took the top spots for both regional recruiter of the year and regional recruiting supervisor of the year following a board held Nov. 7, 2019, in West Virginia. Master Sgt. Donnie Brizendine and Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Fretwell competed against their peers from neighboring states. 

“I am incredibly proud of Master Sgt. Brizendine and Sgt. 1st Class Fretwell,” said Lt. Col. Alyssa Astphan, commander of the Virginia National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion. “Their win reinforces what Virginia already knows about them, that they are professional NCOs, dedicated to the mission and technically competent in their craft.” 

The nation is divided into seven Strength Maintenance Advisory Groups, or SMAGs, and Virginia falls into Region II, along with West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania an Washington, D.C. Early next year, both Brizendine and Fretwell will represent the region at the national boards in San Antonio, Texas. If they’re successful there, they’ll be named the respective top recruiter and top recruiting supervisor in the nation. 

“I’m currently studying for about an hour every day,” said Fretwell. “I have a few great NCOs who call me randomly through the day to quiz me, too.” 

Brizendine credited his team with his success and said that they’re exceptional drive to not only meet their recruiting mission, but exceed it, is what motivates him. 

Both Brizendine and Fretwell are among only a few Virginia recruiters to win at the regional level. 

“It has been one of my greatest military accomplishments thus far,” Fretwell said. 

The two will travel to Texas early next year along with a few members of the Recruiting and Retention Battalion leadership team where they will face off against the other regional winners.

“I am confident they will represent both Virginia and Region II with honor and dignity,” said Astphan.