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Sailor Serves His Family and Others Through Recruiting
by U.S. Navy Recruiting Command
August 15, 2021

One Sailor is determined to give back to others what the Navy gave to him and his family.

Fire Controlman 1st Class Ellizar Abalos grew up in Makati, Philippines, and came to the United States in 1993 after his mom got a job opportunity as a nurse at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

August 6, 2021 - Fire Controlman 1st Class Ellizar Abalos, a recruiter assigned to Navy Talent Acquisition Group Heartland stands in front of Comerica Park where the MLB Detroit Tigers play their home games. (U.S. Navy photo by Recruiting Command)
August 6, 2021 - Fire Controlman 1st Class Ellizar Abalos, a recruiter assigned to Navy Talent Acquisition Group Heartland stands in front of Comerica Park where the MLB Detroit Tigers play their home games. (U.S. Navy photo by Recruiting Command)

Abalos spent most of his childhood in Ferndale, a nearby suburb of Detroit, and graduated from Wayne State University with a bachelor in music education and master in education from Western Michigan University. He then went on to be a teacher for eight years, working at both Hopkins High School and East Pointe High School. After his daughter was born in 2014, he was inspired to follow in his family’s footsteps and met with a recruiter from Benton Harbor, Michigan.

“I wanted to build a good foundation for her future,” said Abalos. “I thought the Navy was a good route, especially since my family had built their foundation in the USA through serving in the Navy. My grandfather and cousin were both hospital corpsmen. Gramps retired as a senior chief in 1990, while my cousin served from 2002-2010 and is a Purple Heart recipient.”

Abalos enlisted as a fire controlman and reported to his first command in 2015, the USS San Diego (LPD 22) at Naval Base San Diego. During his time there, he purchased his first home, welcomed his second child into the world and went on two deployments, which allowed him to travel to 12 ports: Guam, Thailand, Singapore, Hawaii, Jordan, Italy, San Francisco, Greece, Mexico, Philippines, Vietnam and Syria. Those deployments fueled his wanderlust and became his favorite part about being in the Navy.

“I seriously love to travel,” said Abalos. “Being able to visit six of the seven continents has been a blessing for me. I have wonderful memories of my travels and the experiences I’ve had with shipmates and newfound friends from various countries.”

After his deployment, he was recognized for his ability to play the flute, saxophone, clarinet and trumpet by being able to perform with the U.S. Navy Band Southwest and the Japanese Navy Band for a performance at Naval Base San Diego in 2017.

In 2021, Abalos saw the opportunity to return to his hometown on recruiting duty at Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Heartland. His time there has enabled his wife to work on completing her nursing degree at his alma mater, Wayne State University.

Abalos’s creative methods and new approaches to bring public attention and interest to the Navy within his local community have ranged from playing the piano in the middle of a mall to providing unique social media content in diverse online groups. His passion and drive not only has him redefining the methods and modes of prospecting, which are needed to be successful in a challenging and unprecedented time in our nation, but they have also created a competitive drive and renewed sense of hunger within his fellow local recruiters.

“I have to be flexible, so face-to-face contact, social media or phone calls are just a few of the ways I find people to join the Navy,” said Abalos. “In today’s world, you have to try different avenues.”

After six months of recruiting, he has learned that he has a love for helping people change their lives through the Navy.

“Recruiting is important for me because of the people,” said Abalos. “If I can leave recruiting having just helped every prospect achieve their dreams, help their family or change their legacy – it would be like giving back to the Navy what it has afforded me in the last seven years.”

Abalos enjoys giving back to the community by using his musical talents, volunteering at Habitat for Humanity and helping his neighborhood out with community projects.

“I perform with the Ferndale Community Concert Band and the M-1 Jazz Band,” said Abalos. “I show up to rehearsal right after work, so most days I’m in uniform. I get thanked for my service constantly, and once in a while, I’ll get an inquiry about joining. Showing the community that we’re people with talents and personalities outside of the Navy is a good way to show that Sailors are individuals.”

Now as a first class petty officer, Abalos is currently working on renewing his professional teaching certificate and obtaining his doctorate in education. He was also able to buy a second house for his family in Detroit and plans to transfer to the Reserves or try to be a hometown recruiter in Michigan so that he can be around his family while staying in the Detroit area.

“One thing my wife tells me is that the Navy has given me that opportunity through mentorship and training others, and it’s true,” said Abalos. “My sole purpose in life is to provide for my family. I am happy that I am able to provide my children with a paid college education and support my wife in her pursuit of a nursing degree. A lot of this would not have been possible if it were not for the Navy and its benefits. Having joined the Navy at 30, I felt that I had a lot to give in terms of my experience with relating to people. Recruiting has allowed me to use some of the skills I have to offer as a prior teacher.”

Commander, Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, three Navy Recruiting Regions, 26 NTAGs and 64 Talent Acquisition Onboarding Centers that serve more than 1,000 recruiting stations around the world. Their mission is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.

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