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Air Force honors top recruiters for 2007

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Air Force Recruiting Service honored its top 14 recruiters and their spouses this week during Operation Blue Suit XXIV.

Air Force Recruiting Service officials recognized Blue Suit winners and their spouses March 3-7 with a five-day stay in downtown San Antonio. 

The Operation Blue Suit program recognizes the best recruiters worldwide for their efforts in recruiting a diverse, high-quality volunteer force to fill career fields critical to the Air Force in accomplishing its missions. The program selects the best from nearly 1,600 Air Force recruiters worldwide. Winners are nominated by their recruiting groups and selected by a board based on their performance in meeting assigned recruiting goals, leadership qualities and other professional traits.

Some highlights included a Blue Suit awards luncheon, San Antonio Chamber of Commerce reception, river boat tour, afternoon at Double Eagle Ranch in Marble Falls, Air Force Basic Military Training tour and graduation ceremony at Lackland Air Force Base, and dinner at the AFRS commander's home. The recruiters also received an Airman Battle Uniform fitting at Lackland AFB, and their spouses visited a local day spa. 

"Recruiters dedicatedly work in one of the Air Force's toughest careers -- 'selling' the Air Force," said Brig. Gen. Suzanne M. Vautrinot, AFRS commander. "To meet the challenge, our recruiters must be the very embodiment of what it means to serve. These 14 extraordinary individuals have demonstrated they are what they 'sell.' They are what they believe in -- and they truly believe in the Air Force way of life."

The Operation Blue Suit Award recipients for 2007 are:
-- Master Sgt. Russell Benigno of the 337th Recruiting Squadron at Fayetteville, N.C.
-- Master Sgt. Brian Clark of the 362nd RCS at Moreno Valley, Calif.
-- Master Sgt. Bruno Pell III of the 333rd RCS at Melbourne, Fla.
-- Master Sgt. Rafael Perez Jr. of the 333rd RCS at Guaynabu, Puerto Rico
-- Tech. Sgt. Thomas Doyle of the 367th RCS at Aurora, Colo.
-- Tech. Sgt. Nuyen Harper of the 318th RCS at Dover, Del.
-- Tech. Sgt. Mark Terry of the 343rd RCS at Manhattan, Kan.
-- Tech. Sgt. Dayne Thomas of the 369th RCS at Agana, Guam
-- Tech. Sgt. Edward Vargas of the 333rd RCS at Orlando, Fla.
-- Staff Sgt. Daniel Atkins of the 317th RCS at Yorktown, Va.
-- Staff Sgt. Joseph Babcock of the 364th RCS at Penn Valley, Calif.
-- Staff Sgt. Glennis Hamilton of the 331st RCS at McDonough, Ga.
-- Staff Sgt. Johann Lynch of the 341st RCS at San Antonio
-- Staff Sgt. Eric Wilson of the 331st RCS at Pensacola, Fla.

Sponsors of the program also presented the Airmen and their spouses with plaques, gift baskets and other additional tokens of appreciation for their hard work, said Senior Master Sgt. Tom Fenyoe, Operation Blue Suit XXIV senior event coordinator.

Air Force Recruiting Service met its enlistment goal for the eighth-consecutive year in 2007, bringing in 27,760 new Airmen against an accessions goal of 27,760. The fiscal 2008 goal remains 27,760.

"These are challenging times our nation faces and all of our military recruiters are doing a fantastic job in meeting the goals," General Vautrinot said. "The operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have tested our ranks, as well as the will of all Americans, but well-qualified young men and women continue to serve -- a real testament to the tremendous quality of our countrymen, our Air Force and its recruiters."

Operation Blue Suit began in 1979 to help 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.
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