Georgia State Defense Force Recruitment Team Uses Virtual Orientation
By Capt. Beverly Shepard and Spc. Kim Kuharic
Warrant Officer Alexander Davidson contributed to this report.
The Georgia State Defense Force (GSDF) recruitment team has been busy this year with numerous virtual sessions that have put recruiters in contact with prospective candidates—via a computer screen.
GSDF Soldiers online during a virtual session.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, we were able to seamlessly go to a virtual orientation,” said Sgt. Badrinath (Badri) Gandavadi, GSDF Recruiting and Orientation Noncommissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC).
Since Sept. 2020, the team has recruited virtually. Using the virtual set-up has provided many advantages for prospective recruits, including allowing flexibility in both time and travel. The virtual set-up increases opportunities for people living outside metro Atlanta, who no longer need to travel the distance for an in-person discussion with recruiters.
There are tradeoffs. For example, recruits—from behind a computer screen—do not have the onsite experience of being in a military environment during the orientation session.
However, the positives outweigh the negatives.
“We easily see twice as many recruits now than when they had to come to Clay National Guard Center (CNGC) in Marietta,” said 2nd Lt. Guillermo Sadir, Recruiting and Retention Branch Chief. “(Prior to hosting the virtual sessions), we’d typically see 7-10 recruits at CNGC. Now, we have 15-20 and up to 27 on one call. Recruits have called from as far away as California and one call came from a Soldier deployed overseas.”
Virtual Visits from Capt. Clark Howard
Given the various benefits of the virtual orientations, the GSDF recruitment team plans to continue them.
These virtual sessions work well for Capt. Clark Howard, GSDF senior public affairs officer and a popular syndicated media personality, who maintains a busy schedule. Capt. Howard has joined many virtual sessions throughout the year.
Capt. Clark Howard
GSDF Senior Public Affairs Officer and Popular Syndicated Media Personality
“I always strive to make time for the Georgia State Defense Force. I love the GSDF and use every possible opportunity to spread the word about the work my fellow volunteer professional citizen Soldiers do for the people of Georgia and this wonderful country of ours. I have found the orientation sessions with new recruits to be an inspiration as I hear the stories of the men and women from all walks of life who want to be a part of the mission of being ready to serve,” said Capt. Howard. “I believe it is important for all of us who love our state and our country to serve our fellow citizens and our community in whatever way we can.”
Warrant Officer Alexander Davidson, of the GSDF Public Affairs Office, first broached the idea of connecting Capt. Howard with the virtual sessions. The sessions are important for recruitment. They are also vital to the GSDF public affairs mission.
“Capt. Howard is a new-recruit generator. His passion and commitment are unmistakable when he talks about the GSDF. According to the G1 shop (GSDF human resources), even today, more than half the Soldiers who join, tell us they either joined because of him (Clark Howard) or because they learned about the GSDF from one of his media streams,” Warrant Officer Davidson said. “His contributions are invaluable in so many ways. It was hearing him on the radio that inspired me to join the GSDF. I would not be a Soldier today if not for Capt. Howard.”
In case you missed it, hear Capt. Howard’s GSDF journey in his own words: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=738797040198586
The GSDF Recruiting Team
These Soldiers comprise the GSDF Recruiting Team.
• 2nd Lt. Guillermo Sadir, Recruiting and Retention Branch Chief
• Sgt. Badrinath (Badri) Gandavadi, Recruiting and Orientation NCOIC
Contact a Recruiter