By Michael Davis
After 11 years in the Air Force and five different assignments from Guam to South Carolina, Technical Sgt. Arnold Goins said he is now the independent man he always wanted to be.
"I wanted to be my own person," he said. " I didn't want to rely on my parents to take care of me."
Goins was transferred three months ago to the Jonesboro recruiting office and has since become one of its star recruiters.
Meeting 200 percent of his expected recruitment quota last year, Goins said, "I don't see why anybody wouldn't join the Air Force at this time."
A new recruit at the office, Jonquil Brown, 21, said, "I think it's a great opportunity to expand." Going into the medical field, Brown said she hopes to be stationed near her brother in Texas.
But most new recruits are going into aircraft-related fields, however, said Goins.
"Maybe it's the area," he said, speaking of Clayton's proximity to Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport.
"The Air Force is the hardest branch of service to get into and the reason is we're a more technical branch than the others," he said.
"Because we're dealing with aircraft and electronics on aircraft, we're a little more strict on what we require."
But the Air Force is always looking for qualified recruits, he said.
Expanding their recruiting field from mainly high schools, Staff Sgt. Richard Sasser said the Air Force is now looking to recruit from colleges.
"We're more along the lines of going for a targeted market," he said.
"But of course if people are qualified, we're going to be offering them a position in the Air Force."
Sasser added that the more qualified a recruit is, the more flexible his enlistment options.
A Mt. Zion High School graduate, Sasser said the Air Force allowed him "the quickest way to get on my own."
"Everybody thinks that college is the best route, but I tried to do that," he said, but only attended a few months.
With more than 160 different positions in the Air Force, Goins said most of those jobs are related to jobs in the civilian market.
"A lot of kids want to deal with computers," said Goins.
"We're going to give them a technical skill they can fall back on."
With more and more recruits coming to sign up, Goins said,
"Especially out of this area, we don't worry about numbers."