In an all-volunteer military system like we have in the United States, how well the enlisted personnel and officers of a branch’s recruiting service perform has a dramatic impact on its overall performance and readiness. Given this fact, it’s somewhat surprising that, up until June 2000, the United States Air Force had no type of decoration to recognize the crucial work being done by the members of its Recruiting Service.
The Air Force prefers to rely on volunteers to man the nine squadrons comprising each of the its three Recruiting Groups, but if unfulfilled vacancies arise it uses its Recruiter Selection Process to find the most capable officers and enlisted personnel to shoulder the duties. Even so, finding the right Airmen is not as simple as ordering someone to attend Recruiter School.
For starters, Airmen with less than eight years on station are not considered for the job. Only those in the enlisted ranks of Senior Airman to Master Sergeant are eligible, and then only if they have less than seventeen years of time in service. They must be qualified in their Air Force Specialty Code with a minimum score of 3 or higher on all enlisted performance reports over the last three reporting periods. A professional appearance and appropriate bearing, conduct, and overall performance are all requisites.
Temporary wear of the Recruiter Ribbon upon completion of the seven-week Recruiting School and subsequent assignment to recruiting duties was authorized from the date of ribbon’s establishment until September 2006. After 21 September 2006, however, wear of the ribbon is not authorized until completion of a successful 36-month tour of recruiting duty. Subsequent awards after each successful three-year recruiting tour are denoted by oak-leaf clusters.