Face of Defense: Changing 100 Lives Through Navy Recruiting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. --

The number 100 can represent a perfect score or the percentage of complete devotion to a mission. It can mean much to many different people. But in the world of Navy recruiting, the number 100 is an elusive goal that few achieve. Recently though, Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Kingston, an aviation structural mechanic, did just that when he helped guide his 100th applicant into the Navy.

At Navy Recruiting District Nashville a common goal to aim for is 21 contracts per year in order to earn entry into the “21 Club.” Yet even that goal somewhat pales in comparison to Kingston’s achievement when he earned the informal title of centurion. It required a sustained rate of achievement almost double that of his peers for years on end. And as he got the news, he looked back on what it took to achieve it.

“It was a lot of hard work and I do get some pride out of it and the fact that I will always be able to take this accomplishment with me,” Kingston said.

Consistency

Rather than ascribing his success to some particular talent or gift, he said it was simply a matter of consistency.

“I took it month-by-month, trying to help change as many lives as possible,” Kingston said.

And with 100 recruits to his credit, he has his fair share of stories and successes. Some of them stop by during a break from their regular duty just to tell him how they feel.

“There are a lot of kids that say thank you and that makes it worth it,” Kingston said. “It feels great to be able to help someone who wants to join the Navy accomplish their goal, especially when they don’t come from particularly great circumstances to begin with.”

The three years of recruiting in the same region has had a profound effect on Kingston as he has grown to know the people around him and the immense amount of people who have decided to volunteer for the Navy.

“I like being part of the community and going to the schools to talk to people. I met so many people doing this job and it’s been such a privilege to know them and help those who wanted to serve,” he said.

Lessons Learned

Kingston says that each time he talks to a new applicant, he tells them of the lessons that he has learned. One lesson is take advantage of every opportunity, such as using the benefits available to service members as he has by earning a higher education. But mostly, Kingston says, he tells them to not be afraid to do something different, whether that is joining the Navy or taking a hard assignment once they are in uniform.

“Don’t be afraid to ask, and don’t be afraid to volunteer for a job that may take you a new place,” he said.