ATLANTIC CITY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.J. -- For the second year in a row, the office that holds the 177th Fighter Wing recruiters is also home to the top Air National Guard recruiter in the Nation.
Tech. Sgt. Freddy Vasquez, a recruiter with the 177th Fighter Wing, beat out more than 600 other Air National Guard recruiters nationwide this year by recruiting 36 new members, earning the award of 2017 Top Air National Guard Production Recruiter in the process.
"This is the most prestigious award within our career field," said Master Sgt. James Morris, 177th Fighter Wing recruiting and retention manager. "There are more than 600 recruiters, and this year Tech. Sgt. Vasquez has been recognized as number one. He is an integral part of our organization and a true professional."
One thing that makes Vasquez an elite recruiter: his commitment to being a good ambassador for the Guard at all times.
"When applicants come into my office or when I meet them in person, I am the first individual that the recruit is speaking to from the unit. That right there is key to me," Vasquez said.
For Vasquez, that mentality is never off. Whether he is at the gym, or in uniform, he is always focused on representing the Guard properly.
"I live and breathe the Guard everywhere I go and with everyone I speak to," Vasquez said. "I embroidered a couple shirts that I wear to the gym that say, 'Air National Guard Recruiting' and that has gotten me not only phone calls, but face to face interactions that later lead to appointments."
Although the 100% state university tuition assistance is a huge benefit for recruits, Vasquez says that's just a small portion of what the Guard can offer someone.
"There's nothing better than the life experiences I've gotten from the Guard, and where it has brought me to this date," Vasquez said. "I don't focus on selling the Guard, but rather highlighting all the Guard has done for myself and my family."
Vasquez, married with two children, is a local South Jersey resident raised in Hammonton, who started his career with the Guard at 19 years old in the Airman Services career field.
"I met my recruiter at my barber shop, and he said I could get a free college education, live at home, and get 20 percent off haircuts. I was sold," Vasquez said jokingly.
When not in uniform, Vasquez is an officer with the New Jersey Department of Corrections. Aside from this award, he has been recognized as recruiting rookie of the year for New Jersey and the region.