500th MI Bde.’s career counselors rise to the top

| December 16, 2010 | 1 Comment
Capt. Michael John (left) gives the Oath of Enlistment to Staff Sgt. Thomas Pinner (center) and Sgt. Logan Roberts, both from the 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde., who re-enlisted aboard the USS Missouri in front of the national 9/11 flag.

Capt. Michael John (left) gives the Oath of Enlistment to Staff Sgt. Thomas Pinner (center) and Sgt. Logan Roberts, both from the 205th MI Bn., 500th MI Bde., who re-enlisted aboard the USS Missouri in front of the national 9/11 flag.

Story and Photo by
Sgt. 1st Class Sheryl L. Lawry
500th Military Intelligence Brigade

 

FORT SHAFTER — In the Army, retaining Soldiers is important; without this practice, the force would quickly become an Army of none.

The men and women tasked with keeping the Army strong are career counselors and unit retention noncommissioned officers; their mission is to reach out to Soldiers and talk to them about their options.

Career counselors at the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade, along with their unit retention NCO, have perfected this educational mission. In fact, for the last two years, the 500th MI Bde. has been the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command’s top performing brigade for retention.

The 500th MI Bde. also employs the INSCOM Career Counselor of the Year, Staff Sgt. Gerardo Godinez.

After winning last year’s title, Godinez placed runner-up at the Department of the Army Career Counselor of the Year competition. For a second time at the top of INSCOM’s competition, Godinez will compete again at the DA level, starting Jan. 23, 2011.

“It is always my goal to continue to perform to the utmost of my abilities, and continue to seek self-improvement,” Godinez said. “Competing at the INSCOM and DA levels forces me to do just that. I am excited to represent INSCOM, the 500th MI Bde. and the 715th MI Battalion at the DA board. It is a humbling experience, but I am very confident that I will represent this command honorably.”

The big question is, what is this unit’s secret to keeping Soldiers and meeting missions?

“We have a strong command emphasis, which always equates to a successful re-enlistment program,” explained Sgt. 1st Class Rex Fortner, the 500th MI Bde.’s senior career counselor, who oversees the program. “The commanders are all in the loop on what their Soldiers want to do. They really care.”

The current economy is also playing a big role in retention. The economy has trumped bonuses as the top incentive for Soldiers re-enlisting.

“I don’t think bonuses play as big a role as they used to,” Fortner said. “Most of the Soldiers I talk to are looking for a steady job for the future.”

“Soldiers want to be assured that they will be able to maintain the same standard of living in the civilian sector as they do in the Army,” added Godinez. “When the economy is shaky, as it is now, Soldiers tend to stay in a bit longer until the economy levels off.”

Regardless of the country’s current economic state, brigade career counselors and retention NCOs still walk Soldiers through their future plans.

“As a career counselor, I am charged with being the ‘honest broker’ for the Soldier, and (I) make it my number one priority to ensure that all Soldiers receive the most effective counseling available,” Godinez said. “I want to make sure they come in with a Plan A, B and C, so we can analyze (those plans) and make them better.”

 

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  1. Trisha says:

    Staff Sgt. Godinez made some important points in helping others through career counseling and the quality of his abilities comes across in his career counselor of the year award.

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