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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Navy recruiters will be more fresh-faced than ever as the service opened more recruiting billets to E-4s.

The Navy added nearly 200 billets for petty officer third class — almost a 400 percent jump over the number of E-4s currently recruiting, the Navy Recruiting Command announced Monday.

The 40 sailors currently in the E-4 slots are showing “great production numbers,” as younger recruiters can relate with those in high school, Navy Recruiting Commanding Director of Military Resources Lt. Bob Reddy said in a release.

“Most [E-4 recruiters] will be young and coming off their first tour,” Reddy said. “We feel that with the proper screening of recruiting applicants and senior guidance we’ll see some great results.”

The move comes as part of a general recruiting expansion effort and effectively reverses the Navy’s former stance that cited “inexperience and financial considerations” as reasons to cut E-4 billets during a 2005 recruiting drawdown, the release said.

No E-4 has worked at the Yokosuka Naval Base recruiting office since it opened its doors in 1998, but recruiters Chief Petty Officer Ernie Diaz and Petty Officer 1st Class Lito Corilla are both in favor of adding more E-4s to the force.

“It’s a good idea,” said Diaz, who joined the Navy 16 years ago. A younger sailor may be able to “sell” the Navy better, he said.

E-4s are still “fresh” and can talk about their early experiences, like boot camp, Corilla added.

But Diaz and Corilla also had some concerns.

Recruiting involves both ethical and financial responsibility and saying “no,” which can be difficult for younger people, Diaz said.

“We get laptops, phones and cars for government use only — it’s a lot of responsibility, and you can’t abuse it,” Diaz said. “Plus, when you deal with young kids, there are a lot of do’s and don’ts. And when you’re 21, sometimes it’s harder to make the right decision.”

Long work days also are expected of recruiters, he said.

That’s why only “top notch” E-4s will be chosen, Corilla said, pointing out that only standout sailors who are surface-warfare qualified and come highly recommended will be selected for interviews.

But the Navy won’t have trouble finding qualified applicants, Diaz said.

“There are a lot of good E-4s that can make that leap,” Diaz said. “The Navy has raised its standards in the last decade.”

Atsugi Seabees back after giving quake aid

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Twenty Seabees returned to Naval Air Facility Atsugi on Tuesday after spending four days working in Kashiwazaki, a Niigata prefecture town devastated by a major earthquake.

The July 16 temblor, magnitude 6.8 on the Japanese shindo scale, killed 10 people, injured 1,200 others and destroyed many homes and businesses.

Atsugi’s Seabees responded to a request from U.S. Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas Schieffer for assistance last Thursday, according to an Atsugi press release.

The group worked with Japan Ground Self-Defense Force troops to install 79 air conditioners in the crowded, makeshift areas that sheltered 9,000 of the city’s displaced residents, the release said.

“The pictures I saw on the news just didn’t tell the whole story,” Air Force Maj. Rodney Harris was quoted as saying in the release. “To see a gym full of people with two to three fans was heart breaking. I’m really honored our offer of assistance was accepted.”

The Seabees camped on the beach at night with the Japanese soldiers and worked with them in different locations throughout the city, the release said.


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