By Cpl. Nate Carberry, Marine Corps Recruiting Command
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. – The 1953 Mutual Defense Treaty allied the United States with the Republic of Korea. In the 59 years between then and now, the United States Marine Corps has contributed to the continued growth of this relationship, both in battle and during peacetime operations. Marine Corps Recruiting Command impacted this alliance in a unique way.
Historically, military service in the Republic of Korea has been mandatory for physically and mentally qualified males at the age of 18. In recent years, the Korean government has begun to explore options which would allow volunteers to make up around half of the total military force, according to Daen Yeon Kim, Deputy Director, Military Recruitment Division, Military Manpower Administration, Republic of Korea.
“They are using our recruiting system as a model as they establish a more refined system for recruitment in their own military,” said Lt. Col. Raphael Hernandez, Head, Enlisted Operations, Marine Corps Recruiting Command. “Their embassy informed us that their Military Manpower Administration’s recruitment division had specifically requested our assistance.”
Hernandez said he was encouraged to know that the U.S. Marine Corps’ success in recruiting has secured such a profound reputation among allies around the world.
As they enjoyed refreshments in the commanding general’s conference room, Hernandez thoroughly briefed the visiting officials on Marine Corps recruiting.
“We were able to discuss how MCRC relies on strong leadership, a career recruiting force and a unique method we refer to as systematic recruiting,” Hernandez said. “This system allows us to procure quality young men and women to fill the enlisted and officer ranks.”
Deputy Director Kim, who was among the three visitors, said he was fully satisfied with the outcome of the meeting and was impressed with the Corps’ recruiting system as a whole, and specifically regarding advertisement, the joint nature of military entrance processing and recruiting statistics.
“Before we arrived, we had taken extra time to prepare questions for the personnel here,” he said. “I was very pleasantly surprised that all of our questions were addressed and answered within the brief itself. We had a great deal we wanted to learn about recruiting methods in the Marine Corps, and I believe this meeting went remarkably well.”
Kim said that he is encouraged to see an effective recruiting system, as he and the rest of the Military Recruitment Division plan to transition to a more voluntary force. He said the information will be beneficial as they compare their own methods with those of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Hernandez said these engagements contribute to reinforcing the close military relationship between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea.
“They are important allies to the United States, and we have a strong relationship,” said Hernandez. “Through our contributions, I think MCRC has enhanced that relationship in a way that is unique to us. We’ve proven our effectiveness in doing what we do best, which is recruiting quality young men and women. It has been helpful in providing a means of supporting our friends and the personal ties built here will greatly benefit both our countries in the future.”
Kim agreed, and added that he and all the personnel with the Military Manpower Administration’s recruitment division are delighted and honored to work in this partnership as they target areas of potential growth and development in military recruitment in the Republic of Korea.