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News from the Oklahoma National Guard

NEWS | Aug. 18, 2022

Oklahoma Guard recruiting battalion ranked first in nation for July

By Leanna Maschino, Oklahoma National Guard

The Oklahoma Army National Guard’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion ranked first for all National Guard states in July 2022 for exceeding their recruiting mission set.

“Being ranked first for the month of July feels pretty great since Oklahoma is a smaller state in military terms,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joe Stover III, who has served as an Oklahoma Army National Guard recruiter for 10 years. “It’s hard work, but recruiting Soldiers is essential in order to keep the freedoms we have.”

When the workday ends for most, a recruiter’s workday continues with paperwork, travel, answering questions from potential recruits and their families, and so on.

“Not every applicant is mentally or physically able to join,” said Master Sgt. Melissa Ritter, an Oklahoma Army National Guard recruiter for more than 11 years. “Delivering that news can be heartbreaking for both the potential recruit and the recruiter.”

However, the lows are often equally met with the highs.

“On the other hand, for those who can pass the rigorous entrance requirements, the reward is amazing,” Ritter said. “We get to watch as lives are changed for the better.”

Those changes stem from potential recruits wanting to be part of something greater than themselves.

“It’s about finding individuals that want more out of life,” Stover said, who went on to discuss the struggles one can face in life without the right tools.

Some of those tools are gained from military training, including individual warrior tasks and on-the-job training within their military occupational specialties. Other instruments for success gained from military service include the wide range of benefits that help secure the future of each Guardsman.

“We offer benefits for college, medical insurance, retirement, job skills, help with job placement, and so many other benefits that help members succeed in life,” Ritter said.

One of those many benefits includes the Oklahoma National Guard’s new Education Assistance Program, which covers 100% tuition and fees and has officially launched for the Fall 2022 semester.

“The addition of fee reimbursement is huge for our Soldiers and provides them with another step up to further their education with little or no debt,” Stover said. “This will set our Soldiers up for success after the military.”

The program, which replaces the State Tuition Waiver, is offered to Oklahoma Army and Air National Guardsmen who attend or plan to attend any Oklahoma state college or university, including those who wish to pursue a master's degree.

“The newest additions for educational benefits are a true testament of support we receive from our state,” Ritter said. “National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are some of the most well-rounded and intelligent military members. Not only do they obtain military training and qualifications, but they also add value to the organization through their civilian occupations and experience.”

Considering the current struggles with rising costs throughout the country, the increase of educational benefits and benefits overall can help recruits, especially for those who wish to stay close to home.

“The ability to help individuals join our Oklahoma National Guard family is absolutely priceless,” Ritter said. “That’s one of the many reasons why being a recruiter is so rewarding.

For more information about Oklahoma National Guard benefits, visit goguardok.com.
Video by Staff Sgt. Reece Heck
Oklahoma Guard conducts annual Mechanic of the Year competition
Oklahoma National Guard
Feb. 7, 2024 | 1:36
Oklahoma Army National Guardsmen gathered to test their mechanical skills at the third annual Mechanic of the Year competition held at the Combined Support Maintenance Shop in Norman, Oklahoma, Feb. 7, 2024. (Oklahoma National Guard video by Staff Sgt. Reece Heck)

CG Information:
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Rocky Anderson
President of the Mechanic of the Year Board
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