The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Council was excited to welcome the Air Force’s top Recruiters from across the nation for a festive reception and river barge tour, sponsored by USAA. The Chamber’s “Blue Suit Reception” has been a time-honored tradition since the creation of the Air Force Recruiting Service’s (AFRS) recognition program in 1979. Operation Blue Suit’s origins were in helping to bolster production in critical recruiting programs.
The competition was originally designed to enhance enlisted recruiting efforts during the traditionally slow months of February through May. It proved so successful that officials expanded it to include officer accessions recruiting and now honors the Total Force recruiting effort, acknowledging the work of recruiters from the regular Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard. This year’s cohort of Total Force recruiters were recognized for excelling in how they accomplished the mission during an unprecedented Fiscal 2020 where virtual recruiting ramped up during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas, AFRS commander, and Brig. Gen. Lisa Craig, AFRS deputy commander, attended the event, along with representatives from the Air Force Recruiting Alumni Association and, of course, the Operation Blue Suit XLII Winners and Spouses. These top 18 recruiters, from all three Air Force Components, were recognized as the best of more than 2,100 recruiters located in more than 1,200 recruiting offices throughout the 50 states and outlying areas:
- Tech. Sgt Nathaniel Hildreth, 330th Recruiting Squadron, San Antonio, Texas
- Tech. Sgt. Bryan Sizemore, 311th RCS, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
- Tech. Sgt. Keenan Harry, 313th RCS, North Syracuse, New York
- Master Sgt. Brandon Reid, 313th RCS, North Syracuse, New York
- Tech. Sgt. Ralph Hall-Gonzalez Jr., 318th RCS, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
- Master Sgt. Darrell Gaudio, 331st RCS, Maxwell AFB, Alabama
- Tech. Sgt. Dustin Kincaid 336th RCS, Moody AFB, Georgia
- Master Sgt. Cherelle Terry, 342nd RCS, San Antonio, Texas
- Master Sgt. Aaron Shields, 342nd RCS, San Antonio, Texas
- Master Sgt. Jacob Bender, 348th RCS, Clearfield, Utah
- Tech. Sgt. Jacob Haynes, 361st RCS, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
- Master Sgt. Christopher Consalvo, 361st RCS, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
- Master Sgt. Jose Neri, 351st RCS, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia
- Master Sgt. Albert Trombley 351st RCS, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia
- Master Sgt. George Wyatt 352nd RCS, Fort Worth, Texas
- Tech. Sgt. James Hokkanen, 105th Airlift Wing, Stewart Air National Guard Base, New York
- Tech. Sgt. Britni Riffle, 134th Air Refueling Wing, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Knoxville, Tennessee
- Tech. Sgt Clark Vincent Jr., 134th Air Refueling Wing, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Knoxville, Tennessee
Of all the winners, TSgt Hildreth stood out as 2021 Air Education and Training Command Outstanding Airman of the Year/Recruiter of Year.
“I believe that this award shows what a team accomplished, not what I accomplished,” Hildreth said. “It took a team for me to become a Blue Suiter. Our team recruited the right individuals for the right job. I’m proud of what we accomplished together.”
He credited his squadron leadership for trusting him with a large area of responsibility, his flight chief for mentoring him, his flight mates for making him a better NCO, and his T3i primary developer for helping him understand Special Warfare and Combat Support career fields.
“We understand the great work these recruiters accomplish in ensuring the success of the Air Force for many years to come. They serve as ambassadors to the Air Force way of life and all of the benefits it provides,” said Richard Perez, San Antonio Chamber President & CEO. “We are proud to say that San Antonio’s business community supports our partners in uniform and especially those within the Recruiting ranks.”
For more information on Air Force Recruiting Service’s outreach programs, contact Michelle DeLeon, AFRS Chief of Community Outreach, at email@example.com.