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A Change In Direction
by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kyle Hafer
November 18, 2018

After high school, young adults reach a crossroads that can end up defining who they are. Initially, Branden Boatwright was part of the two-thirds of high school graduates whom attended college, but he wanted to change his direction toward a more fulfilling route. The Navy opened that door for him.

Electronics Technician 1st Class Branden Boatwright was born in Granite City, Illinois, and attended Southwestern Illinois College immediately after high school. Soon after his freshman of year of college, he saw an opportunity when he noticed how well the Navy was treating his best friend. That is when he sought out a local recruiter and his journey began.

August 24, 2018 - Electronics Technician 1st Class Branden Boatwright, a recruiter assigned to Navy Recruiting District St. Louis, at his respective recruiting station in Springfield, Illinois. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kyle Hafer)

“I went to boot camp in 2010 and followed on to ET [Electronics Technician] A school,” said Boatwright. “I was stationed on the USS Farragut (DDG 99) in 2011 and deployed with her twice. Later I checked into NRD (Navy Recruiting District) St. Louis in early 2016 and have been a recruiter in Springfield, Illinois ever since.”

Boatwright remembers the excellent experience he had with his recruiter and wants to share that same experience with Future Sailors.

“My recruiter helped me get to where I want to be in life, and I wanted to pass that opportunity onto others,” said Boatwright. “As a recruiter I can give everyone the chance to be a part of something great.”

When Boatwright was at sea aboard Farragut, he was recognized as a top performer and meritoriously promoted twice. He was first promoted to Petty officer 2nd Class and then later he was promoted to Petty Officer 1st Class. Only some commands are allowed to meritoriously promote a small number Sailors each year, and it’s even more rare to promote the same Sailor twice while they are at that command. Nevertheless, Boatwright continuously proved himself worthy and impressed his leadership.

Boatwright traveled a lot during his time at sea, and his time ashore isn’t too different in that regard. As a recruiter in Springfield, Boatwright falls under NRD St. Louis, which covers Navy recruiting for Southern Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and a small part of southwest Kentucky. Throughout those states a recruiter puts in two Sailors a month on average. Boatwright has maintained the highest production numbers in his district by averaging five contracts a month. He’s been awarded Recruiter of the Month seven times this year and a total of nine times since he began recruiting at NRD St. Louis.

“Boatwright is the type of Sailor the Navy searches for across the world,” said Lt. Robert Adams, Boatwright’s division officer. “He is someone who goes above and beyond what’s asked of him and he often carries the bulk of the workload around here.”

Boatwright continues to strive for excellence by learning new leadership skills, taking mentorship classes, and taking online college classes toward earning his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Post University, in Waterbury Connecticut. He is often working with multiple Future Sailors in the process of joining the Navy while he’s juggling personal and professional development responsibilities. In the thick of it all, he says he has no intentions of slowing down.

He’s been enlisted for almost eight years, and he says that every day he sees the benefits of his choice to join the military, which is why he has decided to continue his naval career until retirement.

“The best part of the Navy is being proud of the uniform I get to wear on a daily basis,” said Boatwright. “I will wear this uniform until I am no longer able.”

Boatwright is a valued member of the Navy recruiting team. Leaders at his command agree his motivation to better himself and to inspire his Sailors and Future Sailors will continue to make a lasting and positive impression on the Navy for years to come.

NRD St. Louis recruits in an area covering more than 200,000 square miles across Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Kansas.

The Navy’s recruiting force totals over 6,100 personnel in more than 1,000 recruiting stations around the globe. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.

Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, two Navy Recruiting Regions, 20 Navy Recruiting Districts and six Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 1,000 recruiting stations across the country.


Commander, Navy Recruiting Command | U.S. Navy Gifts | U.S. Navy | U.S. Department of Defense

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