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How a Seabee Found His Voice

Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Timothy Walter

NASHVILLE – After seeing five continents and earning four warfare devices, not to mention two deployments with Navy SEAL Team 2, he knew what he had to do. He needed to become a recruiter.

Construction Mechanic 1st Class Jason Chase, a native of Battle Creek, Mich., outside of Navy Recruiting District Nashville Headquarters. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Timothy Walter)

For Construction Mechanic 1st Class (SW/AW/SCW/EXW) Jason Chase, the goal was simple. He knew he needed to become a more effective communicator and so he looked for the one place that would force him to improve.

“I was weighing the pros and cons for my career and I knew where I was lacking the most personally and professionally. I needed to become more eloquent. That was where I was weak and I wanted to make it strong. Recruiting is what I chose,” said Chase, a native of Battle Creek, Mich.

When he arrived at Navy Recruiting District Nashville, he began work at a station in Columbia, Tenn. However, he was soon chosen to help stand up the newly-formed virtual recruiting effort and transferred to headquarters in Nashville. With virtual recruiting, face-to-face dialogue is limited since applicants are sometimes hundreds of miles away in remote sections of the country. Recruiters must depend on e-mail, phone calls and other technologies to fill in the gaps.

The change was difficult for the Sailor who was more at home fixing a 16-cylinder diesel engine. However, he began to find his voice. In fact, virtual recruiting forced him to in a way that traditional recruiting may not have. Often the only means of communicating the requirements and opportunities of the Navy to remote applicants was through consistent and honest dialogue on a phone.

“It has worked fantastically for me. I try to make myself accessible because a lot of applicants work factory jobs so sometimes I’m talking to them on Friday nights or on Saturday or Sunday just to keep them in the loop. That way they don’t lose motivation. They are often secluded in the middle of nowhere and may not have anyone to directly mentor and help them. As a person, I can empathize with that because I know what it’s like to not have anyone in your corner rooting for you and I use that to inform how I react to and help these future Sailors,” Chase said.

Growing up in a town where he felt like he had few options for success, Chase said his experience helped shape the way he views opportunities and the Navy.

“Sometimes these people just want to get out of dodge and start something new to have a better chance for a better life. It’s been difficult sometimes but I just keep talking to the future Sailors and encouraging them. I think about what I would want somebody to do for me. It’s like the golden rule – treat others how you want to be treated. That is how I project myself, because I grew up in a town where there wasn’t really a way out. And that is what most of the people I help deal with. So I can relate because I’ve been in their shoes and want to help them get where they want to be,” Chase said.

So far, he has helped many achieve that goal during his time in recruiting and credits much of his success to his personal motivation and his background in the Construction Battalion or “Seabees”.

“I’m the kind of person that if I see something I am deficient at, I will work at it until I become proficient. As a construction mechanic, I am expected to be trained and diverse enough to do all the skills of the construction battalion. I still know how to do an electrician’s job, a plumber’s job, carpentry or welding. I am definitely that Seabee mentality. Regardless of my job, I am always going to put all my effort into it, whether I like it or hate it. I don’t always enjoy recruiting but I will take away a lot from it. It has helped me to develop myself and be more mature. I can appreciate how to communicate effectively. That is what I have learned and I have developed myself mentally working in the virtual division,” Chase said.

In the month of September, he wrote the most contracts of his recruiting career and helped six applicants become future Sailors. His efforts made him the final person to enter the district’s “21 Club”, which honors all the recruiters who are able to recruit 21 or more future Sailors in a fiscal year.

He had challenged himself to earn the title of a 21 Club member and now that he has earned it, he is already working on his next goal of visiting the last inhabited continent that he has yet to see in person. The good news is that his next command is planning a trip for South America.

Navy Recruiting District Nashville is responsible for recruiting efforts throughout more than 100,000 square miles of the states of Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky and Virginia.

For more information on NRD Nashville, visit us at http://www.cnrc.navy.mil/pages-nrd/nashville/default.html or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NRD.Nashville


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