Delaware Air Guard recruiting team and supervisor named best in nation by Air National Guard

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The Delaware Air National Guard Recruiting and Retention Team and their supervisor have been named the nation's best for FY2013 by the Air National Guard.

This is the first time the Delaware Air Guard R&R Team or their supervisor has been selected as the best in the nation. They were earlier selected as the best in their region, one of five regions in the nation.

For the prior two fiscal years the Delaware ANG R&R Team and their recruiting office supervisor was selected as the best in recruiting region IV, comprised of Delaware plus eight other states and the District of Columbia.

The ANG Outstanding Recruiting Office Supervisor of the Year is Air Force Master Sgt. Tanya Harris, Delaware ANG Headquarters, a resident of Westbrook, Pa.

The ANG National Patriot Team of the Year is the Delaware ANG Recruiting and Retention Team. In addition to Master Sgt. Harris, the additional four team members are Master Sgt. Samuel Lewis, a resident of Elsmere, Del.; Tech. Sgt. Terrence Parker, a resident of Clayton, Del.; Tech. Sgt. Kristin Favors, a resident of Smyrna, Del.; and Staff Sgt. Desmond Overton, a resident of Middletown, Del.

"All nominees can be extremely proud of being selected to represent their states and their contributions to the Air National Guard," said Air Force Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III, director, Air National Guard. "We at the National Guard Bureau and the Air National Guard Readiness Center extend our congratulations to these outstanding Airmen for their hard work and dedication."

"This validates what we in Delaware already knew - that our Delaware Air National Guard Recruiting and Retention Team is the best in the Air National Guard and Master Sgt. Tanya Harris is the best recruiting office supervisor!," said Delaware National Guard Adjutant General U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala.

"Our recruiting team's teamwork and leadership has enabled the Delaware Air Guard and the 166th Airlift Wing to be highly successful in meeting the number one mission priority for our people for over two years, to increase manning. Their work enabled us to reach an all-time high of 102 percent unit manning the last fiscal year, the best in the unit's 67-year history," said Air Force Brig. Gen. Carol Timmons, assistant adjutant general for air, Delaware National Guard. "Their day-to-day professionalism is evident by the positive one-on-one impression they make on potential recruits who express an interest in joining the Delaware Air National Guard. The recruiters keep new people in our unit well-informed before and after they take the oath of enlistment. Their actions get new recruits on track to achieve long-term career success."

"Our crew achieved this noteworthy national recognition through teamwork and dedication to recruiting excellence," said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Mike Davis, superintendent, Delaware ANG Recruiting, and Chairman of the ANG Recruiting and Retention Field Advisory Council. "The recruiters on our strength management team are an extremely talented group with outstanding customer service skills, but the real cornerstone of their success has been their teamwork and commitment to each other. Having the accomplishments of this extraordinary recruiting team and their supervisor recognized by ANG higher headquarters as the best in the nation deserves the highest praise and makes me extremely proud to serve with them.

"Every Airman remembers two people in their military career - their recruiter, and their instructor at Basic Military Training. Our recruiters put a positive and important imprint on the image of the recruiter for hundreds of local Airmen who launch their military career."

The Delaware ANG Recruiting & Retention Team raised the overall end strength of the 166th Airlift Wing by 13 percentage points in two years from 89.5 percent to 102.5 percent, gaining 370 members. In FY2013 alone, end strength went up from 96.5 to 102 percent.

As of June 2014 the manning level of the 166th Airlift Wing has risen to 106.5 percent, a new unit record.

Selected accomplishments of Air Force Master Sgt. Tanya Harris, ANG recruiting office supervisor of the year, according to the award nomination:

She was recognized for being a consummate team player, maintaining key relationships with squadron commanders and senior leadership to maintain accuracy and good management and improve effective manning. She excels in building teams for success and capitalizing on the skills of all team members which resulted in a record year for recruiting ultimately having a positive impact on the overall end strength of the Wing. Harris inspires subordinates to achieve their fullest potential, and effectively trained three rookie recruiters, all of whom exceeded their goals with all three graduated from recruiting school in FY 2012. She aggressively managed the officer appointment program with the result of 27 accessions, directly enhancing mission readiness in multiple critical areas. The supervisor developed and implemented a strategic advertising plan aimed at targeting a larger and more diverse demographic while focusing on hard to fill aircraft maintenance positions, resulting in an overall increase in accessions, specifically in minority and female accessions. She significantly contributed to diversity goals throughout the state - 53 percent of all enlistments and appointments were diverse in gender or ethnicity, and 70 percent of officer accessions were similarly diverse.

She initiated the start-up of a store front location for the Delaware ANG on South Main Street in Newark, Del., working with the National Guard Bureau and the Army Corps of Engineers to establish an office in a retail setting to improve visibility and community awareness. Harris took the initiative to manage the Student Flight and sponsorship programs, giving new members a solid foundation for success.

Sergeant Harris is currently pursuing a bachelor of science degree in general studies at Wilmington University, and completed the Air Force Senior NCO Academy and the TriMetrix employee assessment course in FY 2013. Her community involvement includes volunteering to raise money and increase awareness for such causes such as Special Olympics Delaware, fighting Down syndrome and breast cancer, and homeless programs.

Selected accomplishments of the Delaware ANG Recruiting and Retention Team, according to the award nomination:

The team was recognized for its highly motivated efforts that made a substantial contribution to the continued operation and growth of the organization by improving overall end strength six percent in FY2013, and for their strategic advertising plan that resulted in an increase in accessions and in diversity in gender or ethnicity.

The team successfully managed the student flight and sponsorship programs, implementing new curriculums and activities along with a monthly fitness program, and revived the career motivation program to help retain people.

The R&R staff planned, organized and participated in numerous recruiting events in the tri-state area to include the Delaware State Fair and Philadelphia Phillies games, the Atlantic City Air Show, the Delaware Auto Show, numerous professional and amateur sporting events, job fairs and college and high school events.

The team played a significant role in executing and following up on the wing commander's "Bring a Friend to Drill Day" ultimately producing 25 solid leads and contributing to the overall morale of the wing, and cooperatively initiated the start-up of a store front location.

The team used social media to reach the community, completing training for and operating a Delaware Air Guard Recruiting Facebook page that improved community awareness and generated recruit leads for the unit.

The self-improvement of team members was noted; one member completed ANG recruiting school in FY 2013 where he received the Torres Memorial Award for exceptional attitude. Four team members are currently pursuing a bachelor's degree at Wilmington University, one recruiter completed Airman Leadership School, one recruiter earned a Community College of the Air Force degree, and one recruiter attended the Air Force NCO Academy.

Personifying the well-rounded Citizen-Airman concept, the team helped their community by volunteering at and/or raising funds for Big Brothers & Big Sisters, the Boy's Clubs of America, a local fire company and a local Police Athletic League club, AAU boys basketball team coaching, Special Olympics Delaware, The Buddy Walk, efforts to fight Down syndrome, Ronald McDonald House, The Color Run, the "Back on your Feet" homeless shelter program, coaching Pop Warner Football, the "Adopt a Highway" clean-up program, and participating in "drug-free" body building competitions.

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