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Recruiting From The Heart
by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sean Stafford
August 19, 2022

U.S. Navy recruiting is not the easiest of assignments to volunteer for in one’s career. However, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) (ABF) 1st Class Duane Lee doesn’t look for easy ways out. He looks at recruiting and the chance to help others as an admirable way to spend part of your career.

August 11, 2022 - Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) 1st Class Duane Lee, an E-Talent recruiter at Navy Talent Acquisition Group Jacksonville Lee that was recently recognized as the Recruiter in the Spotlight. Navy Talent Acquisition Group Jacksonville’s area of responsibility includes more than 30 Navy Recruiting Stations and Navy Officer Recruiting Stations spread over 144,000 square miles of Florida and Georgia (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sean Stafford.)
August 11, 2022 - Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) 1st Class Duane Lee, an E-Talent recruiter at Navy Talent Acquisition Group Jacksonville Lee that was recently recognized as the Recruiter in the Spotlight. Navy Talent Acquisition Group Jacksonville’s area of responsibility includes more than 30 Navy Recruiting Stations and Navy Officer Recruiting Stations spread over 144,000 square miles of Florida and Georgia (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sean Stafford.)

Lee joined the Navy for a change of scenery and as a way to provide for his family. He was excited about being able to travel the world, have fun and grow as a person, but also wanted to make sure he could take care of himself and his family financially. He found all this was possible in the Navy.

Growing up, Lee wanted to be a firefighter, so naturally he joined the Navy as an ABF. This rating is responsible for fueling aircraft; and training and directing firefighting crews, fire rescue teams and damage control parties assigned to fuel and lubricating oil spaces. This is exactly what he was looking for.

“The Navy has provided for my family and me, we have stability, my wife and I both drive our dream cars and we are financially set, have health benefits. I could go on and on,” said Lee. “The Navy provided everything I had always dreamed of but didn’t know how to accomplish ....”

Lee eventually made his way back to his hometown of Jacksonville as a recruiter. He wanted to share with others how the Navy could positively help them as it had done for him.

“Believe it or not I definitely have enjoyed my time recruiting. Is it challenging sometimes? Yes,” said Lee. “I think it has made me a better person, some of the difficulties I’ve personally gone though is getting attached to applicants., like in the past when I’ve had applicants that really wanted to join but couldn’t due to various reasons. Being disqualified for military service would kind of hit me hard.”

While Lee started out recruiting at a station, he now works as part of the E-Talent team out Navy Talent Acquisition Group Jacksonville.

“The day-to-day life here is different, I’m on the computer or making phone calls the majority of the time,” said Lee. “We are trying to be creative here with marketing and advertising trying to make the recruiters lives in the field easier by finding them qualified applicants to join.”

Lee has adapted well to his role. He still gets to help people looking to join the Navy. In his position, he is often the first person that a potential applicant will talk with. He gets to set the tone and answer or clarify any questions that someone might have about joining. In his own words, he breaks down the opportunities, benefits and advantages to give applicants a better understanding of what the Navy offers.

“As an E-talent recruiter, you need to build rapport with the field recruiters as well as with the applicants,” said Lee. “If you have an applicant that you need to pass to the field, I have to have the trust that the recruiter will take care of that applicant.”

Lee believes in order to be a successful recruiter you need to be authentic and relatable to the people you interact with on a daily basis. He believes that his passion for helping others has helped him grow as a person.

“I’m going to give you straight facts and tell you exactly how it works,” said Lee. “It easy for me to connect and relate to people. I have grown while recruiting and hope to continue to grow positively.”

The best part for him about being in the Navy is the friendships he has made along the way, which he believes will last the rest of his life. He believes recruiting fits every part of his being - socially, spiritually, mentally and physically. Lee said it helps him in every single way to give back, and is one of the best choices he has made in his career.

Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, two Navy Recruiting Regions and 26 Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 1,000 recruiting stations across the world. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.

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

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