HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - In the last three years, Hawaii recruiters have contacted more than 25,000 people, worked with more 3,200 applicants and brought in over 1,600 new soldiers.
Those were some of the statistics touched on Friday at a change of command ceremony for the Honolulu Army Recruiting Company.
“Few units can claim that level of success over the same time period,” said outgoing company commander Capt. Oscar Ibarra.
The company’s success starts in recruiting offices across the islands ― and with people like Sgt. Jose T. Atalig.
“Do you work? No? Never had a job?” asked Atalig, as he sits with a new potential recruit in his Kapiolani office.
Atalig walks young men and women through what can be a daunting, paperwork-filled process.
In most cases it’s the biggest decision of their lives.
"A lot of them are set on college. A lot of them don't have a way to pay for college. A lot of them are set on these careers. They have dreams. Use the military to get to those dreams," said Atalig.
After working with a Farrington junior excited to enlist in the Army, Atalig drops the young man off at home and is off to the second half of his day and a crucial step in the recruitment process: The Military Entrance Processing Station.
That's where 21-year-old Charles Johnson IV is preparing to swear in.
“Today, I am enlisting in the Army Reserves as 31 bravo military police officer,” said Johnson.
He’s at the end of the recruiting journey and on this day, beginning a new career in the United States military.
At Charles’ swearing-in ceremony, his father ― Charles Johnson III ― said he knows the sacrifice his son is making.
“I am a very proud father. I mean, he’s my oldest, he’s following in my footsteps, he’s got my name. He wants to be an MP, like I spent my whole career,” said Johnson.
His father also knows the priceless rewards that serving his country will bring. “That’s what I want him to have. That friendship, that bond he makes with his brothers in arms,” he added.