- August 17, 2022
1.4 million people are serving in the United States military today, which might seem like a big number, but it is actually only 0.4 percent of the total population. The tough job of finding those willing to serve their country falls on the local recruiter. SSgt Kyle Roach is the Marine Corps recruiter for the
1.4 million people are serving in the United States military today, which might seem like a big number, but it is actually only 0.4 percent of the total population. The tough job of finding those willing to serve their country falls on the local recruiter.
SSgt Kyle Roach is the Marine Corps recruiter for the Williamsport area. His office is located along with the other branches, at the Armed Forces Recruiting Center at the T.J. Maxx Plaza, 1774 E. 3rd St, Williamsport. The entrance door has a buzzer pad next to it with a button for each of the four branches; Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. SSgt Roach notes that almost no one comes and rings his bell. He has to go out to find them.
Though all services are scrambling for recruits, the pressure is greatest on the United States Marine Corps because their challenges are the greatest, and the standards for enlistment are the highest. Kyle Roach is a shining example of the best of the Marine Corps. Growing up on a farm in Iowa, Kyle was driving a tractor at age ten and got a driver’s license at fourteen (yes, this is legal in Iowa). He lived twelve miles from his school and drove himself all through high school. He loved farming and had ambitions to go to Iowa State to study agriculture. He also is an accomplished trumpet player and was selected in his senior year for “Iowa Ambassadors for Music”, which traveled and performed throughout Europe.
Kyle Roach had many doors open to him, but he found the Marine Corps beckoning him. His best friend, Doug Johnson, often talked about joining and Kyle found the image one that attracted him greatly. When Doug signed up for the Corps, he must have dropped a bug in the ear of his recruiter’s, as Kyle got a call the day after his 18th birthday by the same recruiter. He was ready — within days he had signed up.
One of the things that surprises many people is how much the Marine Corps emphasizes education. Kyle earned 36 college credits in his first year of service (more than his friends did their first year in college full-time). One of Kyle’s recruits commented that he learned more in one class at boot camp on finances than he had in all his years in high school. Hanging on the recruiting office wall is Kyle’s Bachelor of Arts degree in Transportation and Logistics Management from American Military University, where he graduated with honors, with a 3.9 GPA. Hanging on Staff Sergeant Roach’s uniform are multiple decorations from his eight years of service, which includes two deployments. His trumpet skills are exhibited at veterans’ funerals when he plays “Taps.” Kyle still might end up in a Marine Corps band, or even the prestigious Marine Corps Embassy duty, which he has qualified for, but for the next couple of years, he is going to be busy in our area finding the “few and the proud.”
It is a tough job because just finding someone who is interested is only the first step. A potential Marine must have a relatively clean police record, good mental capacity, and be in decent physical shape. But with two-thirds of teens today obese by Marine standards, and when they cannot do math problems without a calculator, it is tough to find those qualified. Kyle is a motivator, however. One young man lost 60 pounds in order to join the Corps.
Staff Sergeant Kyle Roach notes when he is in uniform out in public he often will have folks come up to him to shake his hand and thank him for his service. We can thank him more tangibly by encouraging eligible young men and women to go to the Recruiting Center on the Golden Strip and push that “Marine Corps” button by the door. Better yet, give SSgt Roach a call at his office at 570-323-8368 or his cell at 570-362-1980. Our country needs more Marines like this young man. Semper Fidelis!