The Iowa Air National Guard opened its first storefront recruiting office today in West Des Moines. Guard leader Adjutant General Timothy Orr says it’s a new method of recruiting for the Air Guard.
“Sometimes when you are out on a base and because of the procedures for security and that , it’s kind of intimidating to say I am going to drive onto a base to check out recruiting,” Orr says. “So, what we’ve done is kind of made it an approach where you can go out into your community like you’re shopping for clothes, you’re shopping for a career. Here’s an opportunity for you to shop for a military career.”
Orr says recruiting it a vital part of the Iowa National Guard. “Well, it’s the key to our readiness, and we like to maintain what we call 100 strength in our Army and Air National Guard. And as we’ve deployed over the last 13 years we’ve maintained about a little over 100 percent strength, and it’s important that we continue to do that. Our nation requires us to that, because we never know what the missions are going to be,” Orr says. “And then our state missions — which is our other responsibility for the governor — we have be ready. And we like to says it starts with our personnel.”
Orr says their recruiting process begins with looking for men and women who are willing to serve. “And that varies anywhere from the ages of 17, all the way up to about 34. We get a lot of prior service active-duty personnel who decided they want to come back to Iowa, and it’s tied very closely to the Home Base Iowa program that governor Branstad proposed,” Orr says. He says soldiers can serve between six and 10 year son active duty and they decide they want to come back and serve their community in guard and reserve.
The Iowa Air Guard’s 132nd Fighter Wing transitioned into what is now called the 132nd Wing, which now flies unmanned drones instead of manned jet fighters long with two other missions. “I was the first one who fought very hard along with the governor to keep the F-16’s, but when we lost those, we worked very hard to get the next set of missions, which is the MQ-9 Reaper mission, the intelligence targeting mission and the cyber mission,” Orr explains. “All three are enduring future missions that the world and the nation needs in order to provide security and to be able to take the Air Force to its next level.”
Orr says the change in missions allows Iowa Air National Guard to stay at the forefront of the military. “These are missions where other states are going to be struggling with older aircraft and figuring out what are they going to get. We’re moving out with I think some of the top most advanced technology aspects of the Air Force that you can find,” Orr says.
Colonel Kevin Heer is commander of the 132nd, and is excited about the new recruiting office. “This is an amazing new chapter, we’ve always done recruiting on base, and just the limitations of getting people who aren’t in the military into our recruiting facility has always limited our ability to reach out,” Heer says. “This really gets us out in the community in a way to engage with those citizens who are going to become citizen airmen.”
The new Recruiting Operations Center (ROC) is located at 7205 Vista Drive, West Des Moines.