Story by Dan Puleio, Navy Talent Acquisition Group Rocky Mountain Public Affairs
TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — It’s been said that everyone serves as an example to others, either good or bad. Who you are around, and who you choose to be around, can greatly affect your identity, and people often gravitate toward the things they like or even aspire to be like.
From a young age, Construction Electrician 1st Class Caroline Ballad, was drawn to the idea of the military. Its look, organization, and camaraderie captivated her. Now serving as a Navy recruiter, the military has given her a chance to be a part of something bigger and to positively influence people around her. Ballad is a reservist that is currently on active duty as a recruiter, but her journey to get where she is today goes a long way back.
Ballad was born in Orleans, France. The daughter of Polish refugee parents, she immigrated to Canada with her family. Her family traveled where her father found work, which eventually brought her the United States at age 11. She spoke only French and Polish at the time, and her world revolved totally around her family, but that was about to change.
“I always wanted to be part of the military,” Ballad said. “As a young person, my reasons were simple. The recruitment posters and the uniformed members who visited my school fascinated me. While in France, I wasn’t particularly patriotic, but in my teen years, living in Texas, I fell in love with the United States. I remember seeing big trucks everywhere, huge flags, and ‘God Bless America’ all over the radio and sporting events. Although I didn’t know anyone killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Toby Keith’s song ‘American Soldier’ meant so much to me.”
Sparked by Texan pride, Ballad’s love for America was fueled even after she left the state.
“I later relocated to Salt Lake City, but my plans to join the Navy were on hold since I was now expecting my first child,” Ballad said. “As soon as my son was born and I was back on my feet, I visited the local Navy recruiting office. My recruiter was a great role model, and I wanted to be like him. He suggested that I go [on] active duty but, honestly, I didn’t know what I had gotten myself into, so I decided to join the Naval Reserve. I like both physical and mental challenges, and when the Seabees were offered, I jumped at the opportunity to become a construction electrician.”
Ballad feverishly took on assignments and earned awards along the way, but she wanted more. That brought her to CANREC, which is the recruiter recall program. This program is for Navy reservists to accept active duty orders as a production recruiter and execute the Navy recruiting mission. It is a full-time job that comes with the benefits of active duty.
“I did not want to let my chief down, so I worked as hard as I could to exceed all expectations,” Ballad said. “The Navy has been there for me through my highest highs and lowest lows, and it has always been there to watch my back. I work daily to be able to provide that same support to other people as well.”
Out of nearly five years, Ballad has spent more than half in Navy recruiting where she earned petty officer second class and then was promoted again through the Meritorious Advancement Program to petty officer first class. Prior to Navy Recruiting District Denver’s command reorganization to Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Rocky Mountain, Ballad rose to become her station’s leading petty officer.
“What I like is the challenge. Challenge makes life thrilling! I have no doubt that I will influence many aspiring leaders and that a future MCPON [master chief petty officer of the navy] will be among my recruits,” Ballad said.
While her accomplishments grew, so did the accomplishments of the people around her. She led her Sailors to awards and advancement while she mentored the people she was recruiting. With no surprise, those Future Sailors also earned numerous accelerated promotions before and while at boot camp.
In a way, she has come full circle. From being young and in awe of the military, she is now influencing young adults to be like her. She captivates Future Sailors with the idea of the military, its look, organization, and camaraderie.
“What I find so rewarding about Navy recruiting is the ability to enrich an individual or family’s life,” Ballad said. “The biggest challenge in Recruiting is that no two persons are alike. Recruiting keeps you on your toes, you will go through scenarios you have never experienced or ever dreamed of before.”
The Navy’s recruiting force totals over 6,100 personnel in more than 1,000 recruiting stations around the globe. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.
NRC consists of a command headquarters, two Navy Recruiting Regions, 20 Navy Recruiting Districts and six Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 1,000 recruiting stations across the country.
For more news from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, go to http:// www.cnrc.navy.mil. Follow Navy Recruiting on Facebook (www.facebook.com/NavyRecruiting) and on Twitter (@USNrecruiter).