BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – In 2020, the 140th Wing, Colorado Air National Guard recruiting team celebrated the highest number of accessions out of all Air National Guard wings in the nation, for the second year in a row.
All the recruiters on the 140th Wing team exceeded their personal goals and the team as a whole set a new record of 253 accessions for Fiscal Year 20, leading the nation in accessions for the second year in a row, according to U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Johnny O’Hagan, 140th WG production recruiter and retainer. The team accessed 203 Airmen in FY18 and 250 Airmen in FY19.
O’Hagan, who served on active duty for 11 years, transitioned from working on aircraft to working with people as a recruiter.
“Looking back, it was the best decision I ever made,” he said. “This is truly the best job I could have ever gotten to help people directly realize their dreams and become a member of the Colorado Air National Guard.”
The whole team is truly passionate about what they do, O’Hagan said. “They fully realize that serving in the Guard is a unique opportunity to put on the uniform and perform military duties, while still being able to work and live as a citizen in Colorado.”
Watching applicants transition from civilian to military right in front of him is what U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Alan Cabonilas, 140th WG production recruiter and retainer finds so rewarding about the job.
“I always wanted to be in a position that made me feel impactful, purposeful and passionate to my organization,” he said.
Cabolinas’ parents were immigrants, and he was the first in the family to join the Armed Forces.
“I wear my uniform as a positive debt that I can never pay off to my parents for the sacrifices they made to give me the opportunities they didn’t have,” he said.
Now Cabonilas is offering the same opportunity to members of his community, no matter what their motivation to serve may be.
“The Air National Guard has been great to me, so I wanted to give back,” he said.
The success of the team is greatly due to their passion and cohesiveness as a team, O’Hagan said.
“When you look at this recruiting team that I’m a part of currently, I’d say there isn’t a better place to work than here,” he said. “Not only are we close at work, we spend a lot of time together out of work … we love what we do and have fun doing it as a team.”
Setting a record number of accessions isn’t credited to any one person, O’Hagan said.
“We have a lot of hard-working individuals who are a part of this recruiting team, from the leadership and management tier, all the way down to the tactical level recruiters.
“We are all getting out there: talking to students, talking to anybody we can get in front of, telling them the story of the Air National Guard to see if maybe it fits with their goals in life. Ideally, it’s a win-win situation every time somebody takes the Oath to serve,” he said.