United States Marines Corps Recruiters In Maine

United States Recruiter. The name holds an intimidating, assertive, and sometimes cocky resonance, especially when the title “Air Force” or “Marines” or any other branch of the military is placed in front of it.

An unnamed Marine watching the sun rise

In today’s social culture, the military’s formidable presence has set a historically insistent tone with every recruiter trying to bring light to the fragile subject of enlistment and serving your country.

In the state of Maine, there are not very many United States Marine Corps recruiters, spanning the entirety of Maine, but are mostly located in Scarborough, with a couple in Auburn and Portland.

Ssgt. Ramsay at his desk in Scarborough, ME

The Maine USMC recruiters are led by Gunnery Sergeant Moulton, followed by Staff Sergeant Fix, Staff Sergeant Ramsey, and Sergeant McAuslin working out of the main office in Scarborough. The other two recruiters, Sergeant Sandoval and Staff Sergeant Robertson are located at the Portland MEPS facility [Military Enlistment Processing Station] and the Auburn recruiting office.

The life of a recruiter is something that is different than the hundreds of specific MOSs [Military Occupation Specialty] that are available in the Marine Corps.

Every recruiting office has these 3 frames: Left, the number of poolees in the particular RSS (Recruiting Sub Station) Middle, the poolees that became Marines. And Right, the Chain of Command as of Jan. 2019

Their days can stretch as long as 19-hour days, often times with more than 100 phone calls, mountains of paperwork, and numerous appointments in various places, from coffee shops to schools and gyms. Along with long days and extremely busy days, most average people want nothing to do with the recruiters or what they have to say.

A small office corner in the recruiting office in Scarborough, ME

Being a recruiter is tricky enough as it is, but political and social views from some people can hinder the recruiter’s abilities to find adequate candidates. For instance, Sergeant McAuslin said: “I was just walking down a street in Biddeford, and this little old lady told me to “get a real job” as she walked by.”

Often times, some people seem detached, focusing more on their phone or their destination than paying attention to the recruiter walking up to them.

Recruiters today have a much easier route to contact people who have the potential to become a Marine. Social media has given recruiters the tool that they use regularly to convince people that enlisting is a good idea for them, but that has also brought another obstacle.

Every one of the poolees is preparing for “Boot”, a 13-week intense training (shown above) to earn the title of Marine.

Recruiters in the past have been invited to social functions and schools to bring the image of the Marine Corps to people, but with the explosion of social media and the internet, the physical representation has dimmed to a rare occasion in most places.

In some schools, physical representation of the armed forces is well met, often allowing recruiters to come in during lunch waves and display the potential careers for any student who is interested; in schools such as Massabesic and South Portland, the large military presence has unsurprisingly resulted in a much larger jump in enlistments than in schools such as Thornton or Waynflete.

A typical Thursday night at the recruiting office. 

Thornton Academy headmaster Rene Menard is not opposed to letting recruiters find students interested in military service, but said only  “as long as they’re invited in. We don’t let college recruiters in without an invitation or reason.”

Menard then mentioned that; “our military presence in the school has doubled in the past few years” and “our counselors [are beginning to] understand kids who do not have a plan.”

A USMC recruiting poster for New York City

Menard said Thornton doesn’t allow more recruiters in general in school because he thinks the recruiter’s ambition can get in the way, and he “appreciates what they do, but we have to put limits on what they can do here.” . Along with that came the security factor. “The size and complexity of the school versus other schools make it difficult.”

Menard, who happens to be married to a 20-year retired Marine, also added; “We [the staff of TA] would like all students to leave Thornton with a plan and I’m happy to see the numbers [for military enlistment inside TA] have gone up; I’m sure there are reasons for that.”

US Marine Corps Drill Instructor Sgt. Debose leads her recruits on a march during Basic Training

Although those statistics for military enlistment inside Thornton have gone up, it is still nowhere near some other schools around southern Maine. Schools such as South Portland or Massabesic have doubled or tripled Thornton’s numbers, even though Thornton is the largest high school in Maine. 

Recruiter Staff Sergeant Fix, who has been recruiting for roughly a year, gave some insight into what it is like to be a recruiter and how it has affected him as a Marine.

Another advertisement for the USMC

“I’d have to say that my best memory as a recruiter so far was seeing my first poolee [an enlisted man/woman who has enrolled in the Delayed Entry Program, or DEP and is waiting to “ship” to boot camp] come back as a Marine. Ssgt. Fix also expressed his least favorite obstacles of his job, noting how other kids are so rushed and quick to make the “$100,000 decision” opposed to exploring and learning about the other, and possibly more beneficial options for their lives.

Ssgt. Fix was previously a mechanic for the C-130 aircraft, but was selected to work as a recruiter for the standard three years. Although the major job change, Ssgt. Fix doesn’t mind it. “I get to give back to the Marine Corps; make myself a better Marine.”

Recruits stand at attention, prepared for orders.

Senior Cove Beaudoin, although not interested in the military, spoke about his experience with Sgt. McAuslin: “I was at the BMV waiting for my instructor to fix his printer, and a Marines recruiter walked up to me and began asking me about my plans for the future. I said I wasn’t sure, and he gave me his card and asked if I’d like to set up an appointment. I declined, but the recruiter was a decent man and didn’t push any further.”

In short, the life of a USMC recruiter in Maine is challenging to say the least. Anti-social people, political-driven opinions, and an increasingly difficult social culture makes the daily life of being a recruiter trickier than in the past. Compared to surrounding states and with a lack of population, recruiters in Maine have a larger set of hurdles opposed to recruiters in New York or Massachusetts. Maybe in the near future, some schools and social events will “open their doors” more for recruiters, allowing them to find the candidates that our country needs to be prepared for.

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One Response to United States Marines Corps Recruiters In Maine

  1. Brittni Heiligman January 14, 2019 at 11:09 am #

    Great read, very informative article!

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