Recruiters in Combat. The Forward Operating Detachment-Afghanistan (FOD-A) Story
by Erin Wold (SORB PAO) with inputs from MSG Trevor Proefrock (SORB(A) S3NCOIC)(
There is a folded flag at U.S. Army Recruiting Command Headquarters that once flew over the Special Operations Recruiting Center in Camp Montrond, Afghanistan. The flag has a unique story to tell. It tells the story of the recruiters of Forward Operating Detachment-Afghanistan (FOD-A). From 2009 to 2014, the recruiters of the Special Operations Recruiting Battalion (Airborne), or SORB(A) engaged directly with forward deployed Soldiers throughout Afghanistan.
Recruiters at FOD-A
The recruiting team, comprised of Special Forces, Civil Affairs, and Psychological Operations recruiters from the SORB (A), also included Warrant Officer and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Recruiters. The team focused on communicating with Soldiers in a combat zone who were interested in pursuing a career in ARSOF, Warrant Officer, and EOD when they returned home from deployment.
It’s rare for recruiters to have an opportunity to engage Soldiers in a combat zone. Yet, at the time, there was an important gap that needed to be filled. Deployed Soldiers who were interested in Special Operations, Warrant Officer, and EOD had significantly degraded means of accessing information or speaking with a subject matter experts about the career opportunities avail- able to them. The SORB(A) Recruiter and the future candidate both shared the same interest in serving in a more dynamic and uniquely challenging capacity. Embedding into the combat environment alongside these Soldiers also provided the SORB(A) recruiter a very unique opportunity.
All FOD-A recruiting operations – decisive, shaping, and sustaining – were planned and executed continuously throughout the International Security Assistance Forces area of responsibility. Targeted recruiting campaigns in-theater took place at various stages in the Army Forces Generation cycle allowing FOD-A to engage the deployed Soldiers face-to-face.
From 2010-2012, the Recruiters of FOD-A gathered nearly 1,800 ARSOF, Warrant Officer and EOD leads and sent them back to the SORB(A) recruiting centers for action upon the Soldier’s redeployment. The SORB(A) recruiters who served at FOD-A shaped the future of ARSOF, Warrant and EOD units at home, abroad, and in combat.
When the center closed in 2014, the recruiters of FOD-A re- turned home. The folded flag came with them. The SORB (A) presented the folded flag to Major General Allen Batschelet at the annual 2014 Army 10-Miler in Washington D.C. It is now a memory of the time the FOD-A recruiters spent in combat.