Oklahoma native helps Airmen serve

  • Published
  • By Kevin Chandler
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
One man is making a huge difference in the face of today's Air Force, but many of us never see him...we just walk by, never even knowing he's there.

As foot traffic flows through the halls and stairways of the Colonel Burleson Consolidated Support Facility many people travel past a small office with an American flag next to the door, never paying much attention to the friendly face behind the desk inside. Although this workplace often appears quiet from the outside Master Sgt. Ron Gregory, in-service recruiter for Altus AFB, is always impacting lives from his desk.

Sergeant Gregory helps educate interested applicants on the opportunities available in the Air Force Reserve, assisting them through the enlistment process. He is also the lead recruiter for the Oklahoma and Kansas regions, training those coming into the demanding career field from recruiting school. This past year he helped six new recruiters get certified and confident in their skills.

"It's all about teaching a philosophy," Sergeant Gregory explained, "that dealing with people is all about helping them get what they need. Only after that can you really make sure the reserves fits with what they are looking for. Providing good information lets them make better decisions."

Sergeant Gregory's twelve years in a Security Forces squadron provide him firsthand experience of all the Air Force Reserve has to offer. "My decision to go into the reserves was based on the promotion opportunities," said Sergeant Gregory. "It was also a great chance to travel, that's what I wanted."

In 1998, a former commander approached Sergeant Gregory about becoming a recruiter. While he wanted to stay in security forces at that time, he took the commander's business card and put it in his Jeep. Five years later he found the card, more open to the possibility of recruiting. As Sergeant Gregory said, "it was time to look for a change." So he sent an e-mail to the former commander and prepared for his new career.

"I really wanted to do this better than my recruiter did," Sergeant Gregory explained. "I knew integrity was the key to success, so I tried to focus on the people instead of the numbers."

Sergeant Gregory's first recruiting assignment in New Orleans, La. came to an abrupt end when Hurricane Katrina destroyed the city in 2005. After evacuating, Sergeant Gregory found out he had been reassigned as a recruiter in his home state of Oklahoma. 

As an Altus High School graduate, he enjoys being back in this area and working on Altus AFB. "It's a user-friendly base," he observed, "everyone is eager to help out and the first sergeants are a good lifeline for help and information."

Many people who walk into Sergeant Gregory's office are "disgruntled" due to high operations tempos and misinformation provided by former recruiters. "That first meeting I just talk to them to see if the reserves would be right for them," Sergeant Gregory said. "Sometimes it is what they are looking for and sometimes it's not."

Sergeant Gregory suggests Airmen preparing to separate from active duty see him six months prior to their separation date to make an informed decision and set up a plan for their life after the Air Force. 

Often, benefits available to reservists convince Airmen to continue serving. Affordable health care, a family environment and choosing where to serve are just a few examples. 

Additionally, Sergeant Gregory regularly presents information on the Palace Chase and Palace Front programs.

To set up an appointment or find out more about the Air Force Reserve, contact Master Sgt. Gregory at 481-5123.