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U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Cody L. Harding
Recruiter Matches Marines with Reserve Units
By Lance Cpl. Edward C. deBree
Marine Corps Base Hawaii
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Aug. 23, 2006 — “I really wanted to be a drill instructor but the special assignment monitor thought I would be better at recruiting I guess,” said Staff Sgt. Cody L. Harding, transitional recruiter at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. “I’m not mad at where I ended up because I have the unique sense of knowing what it is like leaving the Marine Corps and coming back.”

Harding has been the transitional recruiter here since May 30, 2005, and so far he has gotten 44 Marines to join the Marine Reserves after the Marines had decided to get out of the Corps.

“I’m not the typical recruiter,” said Harding. “My job is to get Marines who are getting out and match them with a reserve unit wherever they are going. So when Marines come into my office I offer them three programs they can take when they decide not to be active duty anymore.”

The three programs are the Direct Assignment Program, the Active Reserve program, and the Direct Referral Program. Most of the Marines Harding has spoken to end up taking the Direct Referral Program, which is when a Marine doesn’t have an occupational match with the reserve unit, so they retrain the Marine in a different occupation to fit the needs of the reserve unit.

Harding knows how it is to be in the reserves as well as active duty because he spent the first four years in the Marine Corps as an artilleryman. He then got out after his first four years. But decided to come back in 1996.

“Civilian life didn’t work out. I missed my buddies, I missed deployment, I missed everything,” said Harding. “I tried to go to school but I didn’t have the Montgomery GI Bill, so I had three jobs and was going to and paying for school. I wanted to come back as a lieutenant, but that didn’t work out.”

Harding provides a briefing to Marines who are leaving and tells them all the jobs and benefits the Marine Corps Reserves offer two times a month. He also gives a briefing four times a month on the Marine for Life program, which is a program that markets a Marine to help get a job after the Marine Corps. The program is offered for every military occupation.

When Harding is not busy helping Marines decide what to do after the Marines Corps, he spends his time with his family.

“I do the whole tourist thing,” said Harding. “I like to take advantage of history. And now that my children are getting older, I’m trying to get them interested.”

U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Cody L. Harding takes time from recruiting to pose in front of his display on Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Harding is the base’s transitional recruiter and helps Marines decide what they are going to do after the Marine Corps. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Edward C. deBree

Harding has been married for one year and nine months and has three children. He has two daughters, Alyssia, 8, and Keely, 6, and one son, Ian, 4.

One thing that this recruiter enjoys is outdoor events.

“I love the freedom of scuba diving,” said Harding. “I’m not restrained by an apparatus or anything. I’m not bound to the ground. It feels like I’m flying. If I want to go up I can, if I want to go down I can. I love it.”

Harding also brings his children on his outdoor adventures, which also includes hiking. Harding’s physical training habits have rubbed off on his children.

“My daughters just joined the running club at school,” said Harding. “In fact, they ran their first laps a few days ago.”

But Harding said that his main goal while in Hawaii is to help out Marines.

“My function here on base is to serve Marines,” said Harding. “Marines can feel free to stop by my office to talk to me anytime, especially Marines who are leaving active duty.”

Last Updated:
08/23/2006, Eastern Standard Time
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