Have you ever thought of the U.S. Airforce to be more than just a branch of the military that flies planes or reminds you of your favorite movie? The Airforce is also an institution that provides education, makes connections, and builds relationships.
Master Sergeant John Riggs, Enlisted Accessions Recruiter has been in the U.S. Airforce since 2008. In 2020, Riggs came to Jackson to begin recruiting for the Airforce. His job is to visit schools throughout southern Michigan to attend class talks, career fairs, and events in order to find eligible recruits that may be interested in joining the Airforce. Riggs is the main recruiter in Jackson County and is constantly reminded of the good the Airforce has done for his life.
Riggs is originally from Atlantic City and determined at a young age that he wanted to be part of the U.S. Military. He even shared that his mom recently sent him a picture of one of his second-grade school projects where he answered the classic prompt “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with “Army man.” 15 days after his high school graduation, he joined the Airforce.
When going through the process of gaining a recruit, Riggs explained that it all starts with a simple phone call. From there, the recruit starts with MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station). All before basic training, a recruit has to pass a series of pre-screenings, as well as armed service, aptitude, battery, and physical tests. This may sound daunting, but it all takes an average of three months before they can move on to basic training.
The Airforce has given Riggs opportunities he had never had before. Education, health benefits, real-world experience, relationships, and lifelong friendships are all something the Airforce made possible for him. As he recruits, he sees himself in the young airmen who are new to the Airforce but is able to give back and provide opportunities to young people who are in the same place that Riggs once was. Riggs has been in the Airforce for 14 years, and now being a recruiter himself, he often reflects on his recruiter when he began his process. He enjoys being a part of the reason former recruits return to their community and come back disciplined, educated, and better overall.
Working for an employer that has several veterans within its own walls, Ron O’Rourke is extremely proud that Monster Motors is sponsoring Jackson County’s recruiting office. Giving back in this way is something that goes beyond a business-to-business relationship. Riggs exchanged an Airforce coin to show respect and thanks for their budding partnership. In the Airforce, the exchange of a coin typically signifies appreciation for a job well done.
Participating in community events has been a large component of recruiting. You may have seen Riggs flying on Aviation Day at the Jackson County Airport, or even volunteering at a local event. If you’re a school looking to have Riggs speak, hosting a career fair or an assembly, he is excited to hear from you.
If you or someone you know may be interested in joining the Airforce, Master Sergeant Riggs is most accessible by phone. Give him a call at 517-945-4218 to set up an appointment to discuss next steps, or simply to see if the military is right for you.