Marine Recruiting The Next Generation
by U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Jorge Rosales
As a child, Staff Sgt. Absalom Johnson moved often. When he
graduated from Hercules High School in 2010, he was finally able to
plant roots and become part of a community. He became a bank teller
while also coaching high school basketball. He was happy, but he
yearned for something more.
Johnson had witnessed his
siblings join the Army, Navy and Air Force. He thought the military
might fulfill his calling, but the more he spoke to recruiters from
familiar branches, the more discouraged he became. Then he met the
August 21, 2020 - Staff Sgt. Absalom Johnson, a canvassing recruiter with Recruiting Substation Port Richey, Recruiting Station Tampa, helps young men and women join the Marine Corps at Port Richey, Florida. RS Tampa is responsible for finding and preparing young men and women for the rigors of recruit training aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina. (Image
created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Calvin Shamoon)
“When I saw the Marine recruiter, I thought to myself ‘I want to
be him,'" said Johnson. “The Marines looked hard. I wanted a
challenge. Not just any challenge. I wanted to be the best, so I had
to become the best.”
Johnson decided to enlist, and now ten
years later, he finds himself filling the same shoes of the person
who helped him find his path -- a Marine Corps recruiter.
Johnson enlisted under the primary military
occupation specialty of 0612, filed wireman. He didn’t have any
prior cybersecurity or software knowledge, but the Marine Corps gave
him with the skills and knowledge he needed to succeed in his
occupation and eventually become an 0639 network chief.
successful tours at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, MacDill Air Force
Base, Fort Bragg and Camp Pendleton, Johnson decided to volunteer
for recruiting duty. In November of 2019, Johnson received orders to
Recruiting Substation Port Richey, Florida.
“I love the fact
I can make an influential impact on people’s lives and one day have
the honor of serving with them,” said Johnson.
of people like John Vo, a first-generation Vietnamese American he
met while calling recent graduates from Gulf High School in Port
Richey. John, whose father is a successful investment banker and
mother is the owner of several nail salons, wondered what he could
do to become successful like them. He had enrolled at Hernando
Community College to study mass media, but was discontent.
Through a series of conversations with Johnson, John realized that
he was seeking a greater challenge and sense of purpose, said
Johnson. When John came to the recruiting office for his first
interview, his palms were sweaty. He simultaneously lacked of
confidence while realizing it was a weakness he had to overcome.
After a series of conversations over a month, the realization
crystalized into a desire for challenge, and he enlisted.
Today, John is on the verge of completing the Crucible, the 54-hour
culminating event of Marine Corps recruit training at Marine Corps
Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina.
“It’s a humbling
experience that I can make a huge impact on an individual to become
a part of a team that only a few people can become a part of,” said
Johnson. “I’m even more proud to be Marine because I can help
individuals like him.”
Johnson one of 65 canvassing
recruiters at Recruiting Station Tampa. RS Tampa is responsible for
finding quality young men and women and preparing them for
transformative training held at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris
Island, South Carolina.
“The Marines isn’t for everyone,”
said Johnson. “If it was, we wouldn't be the Marines. Challenge is
what separates us from the rest.”
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