Kadena AB introduces their recruiter
By Senior Airman Omari Bernard, 18th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 25, 2018
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The mission of the Air Force recruiter is to recruit quality men and women with the right skills, at the right time, in the right numbers to sustain the combat capability and mission readiness of the United States Air Force.
Tech. Sgt. Johnathon Rice, 369th Recruiting Squadron Kadena Recruiter, has been an Air Force recruiter for the past eight years and, in those years, has inspired, engaged and recruited more than 200 future Airmen to the Air Force.
“I love seeing recruits come back to me after joining the Air Force and sharing their experiences with me,” Rice said. “I have spoken with at least 150 of them after they graduate basic and that’s the reason I continue as a recruiter.”
According to Rice, his overall goal is to meet the manning needs of the Air Force and, at the same time, ensure that each applicant is taken care of to the best of his ability. Rice’s first recruit from Kadena AB is also his most memorable.
One recruit, now Airman 1st Class Rosemarie River, 18th Security Forces Squadron apprentice, was visiting her sister who works for the 18th Medical Group, when her sister let her know she could join the Air Force on Kadena.
“Tech. Sgt. Rice is a great recruiter,” River said. “He’s always there for whatever questions I had and answered honestly. The day I swore in, we were looking for an officer on a down day.”
Rice found Lt. Col. Tara Opielowski, 18th SFS commander, to swear in the future defender.
“She swore me in and, about a year later, I’m back here and she ends up being my commander,” she said. “It’s fate.”
Based out of Okinawa, Japan, Rice recruits students and other potential Airmen from all over the Pacific theater alongside other recruiters stationed in Hawaii, Guam and Japan.
“To make a good recruiter requires good core values,” explained Rice. “The most important for me is integrity first; don’t lie to applicants and tell them the pros and cons. Service before self; recruiting can be long hours. Sometimes applicants can’t get off work until after 7 p.m. so you have to put them before yourself and put in those extra hours. It all ends with excellence in all we do; you’ve got to be a good Airmen to be a recruiter. As a recruiter, you’re constantly engaging with students, the general public and families. We’re kind of like ambassadors for the Air Force.”
As ambassadors, recruiters like Rice are readily available and willing to help applicants successfully join the Air Force.
“The best advice I can give to potential recruits, or people interested in joining the Air Force, is to do your research,” said Rice. “Go to airforce.com. Contact me by cell phone or email. Keep an open mind. We are the Air Force, you have to be willing to join the Air Force first and have your job preference as a distant second. It’s more than just the jobs, it’s the benefits, the education and the chance to wear this uniform.”
If interested in joining the U.S. Air Force, please visit https://www.airforce.com/ to help get in contact with a recruiter near you.