Face of Defense: Recruiter, 80, Still Brings in Soldiers
By Jonathan E. Agee
Special to American Forces Press Service
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md., Dec. 17, 2009 He turned 80 in November and is having difficulty getting around - not because of any physical impairments, but rather because during his 59 years of recruiting, retired Army Sgt. Maj. Raymond Moran seems to know everyone, everywhere.
Retired Army Sgt. Maj. Ray Moran stands next to the sign that points to his office at Fort George G. Meade, Md., and uses the nickname he gives to himself and many others, "Old Soldier." U.S. Army photo by Jonathan E. Agee
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"I hate to take him shopping with me," his wife, Barbara, said. "He says he will push the basket, but then I have to look for him all over the store, because he is talking to friends. And that does not just happen in the commissary. Every place we go, he has enlisted someone or someone from their family, and they recognize him and they get into conversations."
An average trip to the store, Barbara said, is increased by 30 minutes when Moran accompanies her, but she also knows how much it means to him to promote the benefits of the Army and speak to soldiers who enlisted under his guidance.
Over the years, many people have trusted the guidance of Moran. He has enlisted everyone he could, including friends and family, who he is quick to mention "all still love me." However, when asked how many people he has recruited, he says he simply doesn’t know.
"I have lost track over time,” he said. “I would have to say over 1,000. It is just something I never kept a list of. I just call them the Old Soldier's Brigade."
His friends and colleagues call him the Old Soldier, a moniker he earned in Vietnam nearly 40 years ago, and although his age may justify the title, his attitude is anything but old.
Lt. Col. Gary Sheftick, who joined the Army Reserve with the help of Moran, agrees.
"He has a lot of enthusiasm, and he is definitely passionate about the Army. … He cares about soldiers, people, the Army and America,” Sheftick said. “He has a deep passion that drives him. He seems to genuinely care about the young men and women he is helping become soldiers."
Getting out and talking to people is one of the main tools of a recruiter, Moran said, but not the most important one.
"The most important thing is establishing a reputation of being truthful," he said. "When people trust you, they will send friends and family to talk to you. Once people trust you, they will follow your recommendations for the Army."
"Sergeant Major Moran is the kind of person that you would want to teach your kids," said Edwin MacDonald, director of operations sustainment for Camber Corp. "His character, ethics and morals are something that you only read about, but when you're with him, you know in minutes this is who they wrote the book after."
So why after nearly 59 years does Moran continue to recruit? Moran said it simply never has crossed his mind to retire.
"It's just not something I think about,” he said. “I enjoy what I am doing, and I enjoy who I work with. You will not find better people to work with. For me, it is a great sense of pride."
(Jonathan E. Agee works for the Army’s 1st Recruiting Brigade.)