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Navy Recruiters Swarm Memphis
by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Bridget Saunders
December 18, 2019

A total of 81 recruiters from Navy Recruiting Command (NRC), Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Nashville and recruiting commands from around the nation visited various schools and events in a mass-Navy recruiting effort called Memphis Swarm, October 1-4, 2019.

October 1, 2019 - U.S. Navy recruiters speak to White Station High School students about Navy career opportunities during Memphis Swarm. Swarming is Navy Recruiting Command’s new recruiting strategy in support of the national policy to build a 355-ship Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cody Anderson)
October 1, 2019 - U.S. Navy recruiters speak to White Station High School students about Navy career opportunities during Memphis Swarm. Swarming is Navy Recruiting Command’s new recruiting strategy in support of the national policy to build a 355-ship Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cody Anderson)

The Swarm brought top recruiters from across the United States to promote the Navy’s mission and strengthen ties with community members throughout the Mid-South. This is the second year of the Navy’s new recruiting strategy that supports the national policy to build a 355-ship Navy.

During the week, recruiters visited 26 high schools where they gave classroom presentations and discussed career opportunities and benefits within the Navy. Recruiters particularly focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects with a goal of targeting highly qualified students for the nuclear field and other advanced career fields.

“The Swarm provided students with the opportunity to see firsthand our recruiters in action,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Second Class Christiana Lahai, a recruiter assigned to Talent Acquisition Group Blues City. “Students have had the ability to ask us questions and I think it really motivates them to consider the opportunities the Navy offers.”

To further attract high quality candidates and appeal to a younger tech-savvy generation, students had the opportunity to visit the Burke, a Navy virtual reality truck offering immersion in a realistic tactical scenario.

October 3, 2019 - Charles Karnes, a student of Liberty High School, participates in the Navy’s virtual reality asset, the Burke, during Memphis Swarm. Swarming is Navy Recruiting Command’s new recruiting strategy in support of the national policy to build a 355-ship Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Bridget Saunders)
October 3, 2019 - Charles Karnes, a student of Liberty High School, participates in the Navy’s virtual reality asset, the Burke, during Memphis Swarm. Swarming is Navy Recruiting Command’s new recruiting strategy in support of the national policy to build a 355-ship Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Bridget Saunders)

The experience begins with a video informing participants how they will drive a small-boat, called a Special Operations Craft – Riverine (SOC-R), on a special mission to extract a SEAL team under enemy fire. Special operations teams perform short-range insertion and extraction of special operations forces in river and near-shore environments.

In the Burke, the participants then strap on a virtual reality vest and headset while using the simulator’s steering wheel and throttle system to navigate the virtual environment.

“The Burke offers users the most realistic Navy experience possible,” said Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, Rear Adm. Brendan McLane. “Virtual reality has allowed us to come a long way—where we once were only able to describe these experiences, now we can present the reality of a Navy mission in an interactive way, using the best technology available. To reach a high-caliber pool of recruiting prospects, we need high-caliber recruiting tools, and this display is truly state of the art.”

The Burke was a huge success with the students, who were in awe of the realistic Navy experience.

“It was a lot more real than it looked,” said Charles Karnes, a student of Liberty High School. “The experience was so realistic with the sounds of gunfire going off, the whirring of the boat, and the explosions happening in the background made it feel like I was really there.”

In addition to the Burke asset, students from more than a dozen local junior and senior high schools attended Naval Air Orientation Day, the main highlight of the Swarm, held at the Wilson Air Center. Attendees had the opportunity to sit in the cockpit of tactical aircraft and discuss careers in Naval aviation with pilots and aircrew.

October 3, 2019 - Cmdr. Brandon Scott, commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 109 (VFA-106), talks about life as a pilot in the Navy with Horn Lake High School Navy Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets during Memphis Swarm. Swarming is Navy Recruiting Command’s new recruiting strategy in support of the national policy to build a 355-ship Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cody Anderson)
October 3, 2019 - Cmdr. Brandon Scott, commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 109 (VFA-106), talks about life as a pilot in the Navy with Horn Lake High School Navy Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets during Memphis Swarm. Swarming is Navy Recruiting Command’s new recruiting strategy in support of the national policy to build a 355-ship Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cody Anderson)

“This was an exciting event in cooperation with the Navy League in Memphis to showcase and highlight Naval aviation to the public who otherwise might not be able to see it,” said Cmdr. Patrick Tanner Acker, commanding officer of NTAG Nashville. “It’s exciting that recruiters from around the nation were in town to support as a true force-multiplier along with Navy Recruiting Command headquarters. We look forward to many short-term and long-term successes from this Swarm event.”

Although coordinators for the Naval Air Orientation Day were expected a high number of visitors at the event; the Swarm exceeded those expectations and helped bring in more than 750 people, an all-time high for the Navy League coordinators. The week-long Swarm allowed recruiters to meet with staff and students to share information on the Navy’s mission and Sailors’ adventures while serving America’s Navy.

“When we talk to people, it’s not just about finding someone to join but it’s also important that we tell them what the Navy does for them, their country and even the world,” said Chief Navy Counselor Kelly Ringaman, leading chief in Navy Recruiting Command’s outreach department.

NTAG Nashville is one of 10 NTAGs nationwide. More than 100,000 square miles are assigned to NTAG Nashville including counties in Tennessee, Arkansas, northern Alabama, northern Georgia, northern Mississippi, southern Kentucky and Southwestern Virginia. The command consists of two Talent Acquisition Onboarding Centers (TAOC) Music City and Blues City, and 36 Navy Talent Acquisition Sites.

NRC consists of a command headquarters, three Navy Recruiting Regions, 16 Navy Recruiting Districts and 10 NTAGS that serve more than 1,300 recruiting stations across the world. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.

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