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Veteran recruiter to join National Recruiting Team

MASSACHUSETTS -- After nine years of service with the Massachusetts Air National Guard, Tech. Sgt. James P. Regan will be closing this chapter of his life and moving on to another, as he has been recently selected for a full-time position with the National Guard Bureau recruiting operations team.

"I'm beyond excited," expressed the Cape Cod native. "This has always been a goal of mine, and I cannot express how grateful I am for this opportunity."

Sergeant Regan, who currently lives and works in Boston, enlisted with the Air Guard in 2003 after graduating from Mashpee High School. After basic training, he spent the first four years of his career working in public affairs before cross-training into recruiting.

"I've had an unbelievable experience with the Air Guard. I never thought things could get any better than Public Affairs, and then I discovered the world of recruiting. The past five years have been nothing short of amazing, and now I'm onto NGB for another challenge and another adventure."

Regan said he never planned on becoming a recruiter. In fact, he never saw himself joining the military. When the reality of life after high school hit, he worked with an active-duty recruiter and had a less-than stellar experience.

"You know those fast-talking, cheesy, used-car salesmen? That's what the first recruiter was like," said Regan, grinning. "He did a poor job representing the Air Force and had I listened to him who knows where I would be right now. Probably miserable--and probably not in the Air Force."

Regan talked to an Air National Guard recruiter at the advice of his father, Jim Regan, who is a veteran of the Army National Guard. He was put in touch with then Tech. Sgt. Galon "Chip" Barlow.

"I would've never even known about the Air Guard if it wasn't for my father, and I still thank him every day. The experience I had with the Air Guard recruiting office was entirely different than what I had experienced with the active-duty. Chief Johnson was running the office at the time and his entire team was super-sharp. I remember thinking, 'these guys are great. I wonder what it's like to love your job like they do?'"

With his new position at the National Guard Bureau Sgt. Regan will be responsible for implementing and monitoring programs and policies that directly impact all personnel in the Air National Guard Recruiting and Retention field. The new level of responsibility doesn't appear to intimidate Sergeant Regan and his soon-to-be supervisor at NGB is confident he's up to the challenge.

"Recruiting Operations is excited to have Sgt. Regan join its team," said Senior Master Sgt. Robert E. Hall, recruiting operations superintendent. "What is sure to be a great loss for Massachusetts will quickly become an asset for the entire nation," he added.

After five years and two promotions in recruiting, there is plenty Sgt. Regan will miss about representing the Air Guard throughout the commonwealth.

"I've had the best supervisors - from [Maj.] Nikki Ivers to [2 Lt] Chip Barlow. For that I'm thankful. I'll miss the direct connection with applicants and the relationships you build with them, but I certainly won't miss the angry parents, the liberal guidance counselors or dealing with teenagers every day. We always joke in the office that one of us should write a book because people just wouldn't believe what happens on a daily basis. It's truly unbelievable."

One of those unbelievable incidents was an applicant who took quite a liking to Sergeant Regan after working with him for just a few weeks.

"She turned out to have more than one clinically-diagnosed personality. Seven, in fact. I'm pretty sure at least half of them asked me out on a date. I guess it's nice to be wanted," Sergeant Regan said, laughing.

Awkward applicants and indecent proposals aside, Sergeant Regan said that seeing the transformation of applicants from new enlistees to proud members of the Air Force is what makes recruiting the most rewarding career in the Air Force. Having the opportunity to meet applicant's families and to hear how the Air Guard has helped them always made it worthwhile, he added.

The proudest moment in his recruiting career occurred just a few months ago when the Massachusetts Recruiting and Retention Team was honored on a national level with the Golden Eagle Award, which recognizes overall outstanding performance by a state. The award was presented at the national Recruiting and Retention Workshop in front on the entire ANG Recruiting and Retention Team.

"It was a huge honor, and what made it unique was sharing that moment with the entire R&R team from Massachusetts. We've always worked well together and been an undeniable force," said Regan.

"Tech. Sgt. Regan has been an instrumental part of the recruiting office over the past six plus years," said Master Sergeant Kevin G. Eccleston, recruiting office supervisor. "James played an integral part in making the Massachusetts R&R Team truly the best in the country. He will be missed."