BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan – The 10th Sustainment Brigade was
the first brigade throughout the 10th Mountain Division last year to
make their retention mission. This year, they remain as one of the
top retention teams in large part due to Staff Sgt. Rogerio Brito, a
Deer Park, Washington native.
Brito, the brigade's senior career counselor who is responsible
for more than 2,900 Soldiers' careers here while deployed in support
of Operation Enduring Freedom, believes that it's his sole mission
to concentrate on the Soldier and their family.
U.S. Army Sgt. Danny Kintchen, a Fort
Lauderdale, Fla., native, an information technology specialist
assigned to the 10th Sustainment Brigade, re-enlists for a four year
assignment at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii on June 21, 2014 at Bagram
Air Field, Afghanistan.
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael Selvage)
U..S. Army career counselors are the subject
matter experts on all facets of Army life to include reenlistment
According to Secretary of Defense Chuck
Hagel, the Army is in the process of reducing the number of Soldiers
within the ranks to as low as 440,000 while ensuring the force
remains well trained and equipped.
The Army is looking to
keep the best qualified Soldiers and one way this will be achieved
is through the unit career counselors.
As Soldiers' estimated time of separation
date nears, they make the decision to transition out of the Army or
continue to serve. This is where the career counselor comes into
There are Soldiers who love their job in the Army and
have no issues when it comes to re-enlisting, but then there
are those Soldiers who may strongly dislike their job and
need help finding a new career field.
“It's my job to
help [those Soldiers] find a job that deals with their
interests, hobbies and other things they are good at,” said
Brito. “It's a win-win for the Army and the Soldier. When
the Soldier is happier with their new job, the Army gets a
more productive Soldier.”
Since fiscal year 2013,
making mission has not been a problem for the 10th SBDE
“We focus on taking care of the
Soldier,” said Brito. “For the most part, that helped us
become the top producers in the division.”
The mission is a set number of Soldiers the Army requires units
to re-enlist each year. This is one reason the reenlistment bonuses
may fluctuate or even disappear throughout the year.
most professions, there are difficulties career counselors may run
“The drawdown and the Army wanting to lower their
numbers makes my mission harder,” said Brito.
down isn't the complicated part, said Brito. The movement of a
Soldier from one career field to another is the difficult part.
An issue career counselors may come across is the lack of
military occupation specialties Soldiers may be qualified for. Some
MOSs may require higher Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
scores than Soldiers possess.
The ASVAB is a test recruits
are required to take, to evaluate their capabilities, prior to
serving in the armed forces.
Soldiers may improve their ASVAB
line scores through classes like the basic skills education program
which is part of the functional academic skills training program.
There is also an online class available, the Peterson online course,
which can be found at Army Knowledge Online.
sometimes it's just a matter of trying to convince the Soldier to
consider other career fields to help them progress in their military
Another issue career counselors may have to deal with
is a Soldier's retention control point.
RCP is a time limit
Soldiers are authorized to remain a rank. If Soldiers are unable to
get promoted to the next rank and have reached their RCP, they are
not allowed to re-enlist but must fulfill their current contractual
obligation before transitioning out of the Army.
if Soldiers are reduced to a lower rank they may be over the time
allotted for that rank and this affects the career counselor's
Advising Soldiers on their options and providing
guidance on career progression is what the career counselors are
Being deployed has only created more obstacles for
the unit career counselors to overcome compared to supporting
Soldiers back in the U.S.
“The lack of communication the
Soldiers have with their families can really slow down the process,”
said Sgt. Nick Bozzi, a Philadelphia native, 10th Special Troops
Battalion retention NCO. “Making a decision as big as relocating a
Family may not be something most Soldiers want to make without
talking about it with their loved ones.”
The brigade career
counselor makes it a habit of maintaining calling cards for Soldiers
to call their families on the spot when time is of the essence.
Brito said, he works on building a relationship with Soldiers,
to always be there for them and will do whatever he can to help them
“They are easy going,” said Jasmyn Jackson, a Columbus,
Georgia, native, human resources NCO and recent re-enlistee assigned
to the 10th SBDE. “I could go in there any time and they would be
able to help me out.”
Career counselors try to make each
Soldiers re-enlistment ceremony as memorable as possible.
doesn't always have to happen in the office but anywhere a Soldier
wants to do it,” said Bozzi. “Sometimes Soldiers just want a
ceremony with their friends and coworkers while others want to be
standing in a helicopter.”
Soldiers have choices and the
career counselors are charged with assisting Soldier by counseling
them on the opportunities, but at the end of the day, providing the
Army with the best qualified
Soldiers is their main focus.
By U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Selvage
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