Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher Mattis
Staff Noncommissioned Officer in Charge
Recruiting Substation, Silver Spring, Md.
SGT. GENOS L. ATHANASIOS
We work anywhere from 0800 to about 2100-2200.
We do put in a lot of hours. My wife is a Marine, and
she’s very supportive. She understands the hours, so it
makes my life a little bit easier on recruiting duty.
Hostility comes with the territory of recruiting. A
lot of times, it’s people not knowing what the Marine
Corps is all about. Nine times out of 10, it’s the parent
we have to convince. The biggest challenge is to break
down the stereotype of Marine Corps as just always
brutal. There are a lot of different sides to the Marine
Corps than just the infantry, such as support elements
Another big challenge is the physical fitness of
today’s youth. There’s a big difference in attitude from
when I went to high school, when most teenagers were
more active outdoors. Now you find young men and
women are more indoors, playing more video games.
They’re more computer savvy, but we’ve got to constantly be working out with them and getting them in
shape. PT [physical training] is conducted every single
day here for the applicant pool because we have to lead
In my experience, most applicants tend to go more for
the infantry and other combat-type jobs. A lot of them
joined because they’ve done high school and they want
to get out in the real world. In the Marine Corps, they’re
going to be able to get in the action and serve their country. The difference we make is the caliber of young men
and women that we put into the Marine Corps. They
tend to be unselfish and very patriotic.
The best part about this job is actually impacting the
lives of the young men and women that we meet. Even
though some of them don’t see it, we’re actually changing their lives. Doing something positive for them motivates me to come out and do that every single day. ■
I’m from New Jersey and have been in the Marine Corps 12-and-a-half years. I joined because I wanted to do something different. I did high school. I did
technical school. And I just wanted a little bit more, a
challenge. I became a motor transport mechanic. I’ve
been a recruiter for two years.
I supervise five recruiters. Each recruiter is tasked
to achieve a minimum of two applicants per month to
join the Marine Corps. Every day is different, but we
have a standard plan. We go out and prospect, anywhere from telephone calls to going to the local malls
and stores. We’re very big in the high schools. From
there we do a couple of homes. We get really personable as far as the door-to-door, face-to-face contact
most of the time.
“There’s a big difference in attitude from when I went to high school,
when most teenagers were more active outdoors. Now you find young
men and women are more indoors, playing more video games. They’re
more computer savvy, but we’ve got to constantly be working out with
them and getting them in shape.”
SEAPOWER / AUGUST 2009