MIAMI BEACH, Florida – Air Force recruiters from each of the three air components stormed the beach in Miami for the Hyundai Air and Sea Show, Memorial Day weekend, May 29-31. The Total Force recruiting team made a unified presence as all recruiters worked side by side during the event.
“It’s not only a wonderful way to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, but it’s a wonderful venue for all of our branches of the DoD to come out here and show the American people in Miami and from around the world how cool it is to serve in the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Space Force,” said Lt. Gen. Thomas A. Bussiere U.S. Strategic Command deputy commander. “This recruiting setup is absolutely phenomenal.”
While each of the military branches were present, the Air Force had a united Total Force recruiting setup to maximize the impact for those seeking opportunities to serve as future Airmen or Space Force Guardians.
“The Miami Beach Air Show and National Salute to America’s Heroes is one of the largest spectator events in the state of Florida. This has definitely been the largest event for Air Force Recruiting since COVID,” said Chad Tanner, AFRS National Events Branch deputy. “Air Force Recruiting Service was able to display a Total Force recruiting village that had recruiting members from the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, Special Warfare and regular Air Force. It was definitely a joint effort and a successful weekend for everyone involved.”
Total Force recruiting brings together the three components under one Air Force umbrella. The message is you can serve full-time, part-time, in or out of uniform.
In years past at events like this air show, each component would buy space at an event and would be located throughout the venue. Now the Air Force eliminates the redundancy and confusion of having multiple booths, enabling recruiters to be in one location to highlight opportunities to serve as an Airman or Guardian.
“It’s extremely important that we continue to build our Total Force recruiting and marketing capabilities to ensure the future recruiting requirements are met,” Tanner said. “This Total Force village concept is just the start to building a Total Force brand – One Air Force, multiple ways to serve.”
Maj. Gen. Matthew Burger, Air Force Reserve Command deputy commander, paid a visit to the Total Force recruiting village.
“It’s a great setup because we have every service out here working together,” Burger said. “It’s something we’ve been working on a long time to really have an integrated approach to recruiting. I love it. It’s fantastic. I think you can see it in all our lines of effort. Our marketing campaign is much more integrated and today is just a good example of getting efficient.”
The general said the relationship between recruiters is one of the great parts of Total Force recruiting, as they are working side-by-side and learning from one another.
“Before we used to sit at our own booths, now we’re working together to fit the needs of future Airman and how they want to participate and that’s what I like,” Burger said. “We always hope that happens, but now we are much more integrated in the relationship piece for our recruiters and it’s much better than it’s ever been.”
The relationship building is something the recruiters are using to understand the unique aspects of each of the air components.
"Not only do Total Force initiatives make sense for economic efficiency,” said Master Sgt. Chase Kaiuwailani, 367th Recruiting Group Marketing program manager, “it naturally ingrains cross-component networking, camaraderie and support increasing overall recruiter effectiveness."
Bussiere took part in a mass joint enlistment ceremony at the air show where he swore in future Airmen and Guardians. He later paid a visit to the Total Force recruiting village to check out the Total Force village and performed a promotion for a recruiter on site.
“I’m probably one of the largest supporters of TFI in the Air Force because years ago I realized the strength of the Air Force is the integration with the Guard and Reserve,” Bussiere said. “It is absolutely essential for how our United States Air Force operates.”
Bussiere promoted Tech. Sgt. Doryan Leterrier, a 333rd Recruiting Squadron recruiter, to master sergeant on the beach in front of an audience of peers and air show attendees.
“There’s like three big honors you get to do, promotions, retirements and change of commands,” Bussiere said. “I always appreciate the opportunity to promote someone of any rank, but this is really cool to do it at a recruiting event.”
“Spectators from diverse backgrounds were able to witness one of the military’s oldest traditions in person – a promotion from the non-commissioned officer corps into the senior non-commissioned officer corps conducted by a general officer,” said Lt. Col. Marcus Stevenson, 333rd RCS commander. “This was a great addition to the National Salute to America’s Heroes and a significant milestone in Master Sgt. Leterrier’s career.”
In addition to Bussiere attending the air show, he also participated in a GO Inspire event May 28, when he visited the Booker T. Washington High School Air Force Junior ROTC.
“The event was attended by 45 JROTC cadets of African American and Latino American descent. Lt. Gen. Bussiere focused his discussion points on diversity and inclusion as he spoke about his Air Force career and experiences,” Stevenson said. “He also highlighting the various aircraft he has flown, ranging from the B-2A stealth bomber to the F-22 Raptor.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, many of the graduating cadets in attendance were unable to participate in a formal graduation; therefore in coordination with the AFJROTC instructor, Bussiere was able to present the graduating students their graduation stole.
Bussiere also spoke to a group of collegiate ROTC members from various universities in the area at the University of Miami.
German Onofrio, a cadet who is a senior at Florida International University, currently studying international relations, has dreamed of being part of military aviation since he was a young child growing up in Argentina. The general left an impression on Onofrio with his words.
“Don’t let anyone deter you from reaching your dream,” Onofrio said. “No matter how challenging it may be.”
Onofrio also mentioned that he wanted to give back to the United States of America because the country has afforded him so many opportunities.
While the Miami Beach Air Show was a success, it is part of a busy summer for AFRS recruiters as the country is mostly open for business now. Recruiters weathered the COVID storm working primarily virtually, but now getting back to meeting people in person will pick up the pace.
“I’m just really proud of our recruiters,” Burger said. “They have dealt with COVID, which is hard on everybody, but for recruiters to have to go out and meet people under this and with some of the things going on across this nation, I’m just proud of what recruiters are doing. I look forward to us getting back to normal.”