New recruiting flight chief joins Team-Grissom

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Ben Mota
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs

Moving to a new location can be a big decision, but for one Airman an opportunity to try something different was enough to pack bags and move to the Hoosier Wing.

Senior Master Sgt. Michael Melendez, 434th Air Refueling Wing‘s new recruiting flight chief, comes to Grissom with more than 28 years of military service, 16 of those years serving in the recruiting career field.

“When I saw that there was an opening at Grissom I showed it to my wife thinking there would be no way she would consider it, but after looking it up, it didn’t take her long to say let’s go for it,” said Melendez. “I enjoy trying new things and we had never lived in the Midwest.”

Melendez a Southern California native, who was selected by leadership for his years of experience, stood out from other applicants in more than one way, said Chief Master Sgt. Craig Cloward, 350th Recruiting Squadron superintendent.

“When we were filling the position we were looking for someone who was caring and passionate about recruiting and [Melendez] had just that in addition to a good work ethic,” said Cloward. “We all felt he was the best fit for the position moving forward.”

As the recruiting flight chief, Melendez is responsible for four line recruiters covering a geographic area of four states.

Melendez started his career in the Air Force in 1988 as a jet engine mechanic followed by a break in service.  He became a recruiter in 2004 at Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Washington were he recruited enlisted Airmen before transitioning into health professions recruiting.

Since then he has also served as an assistant trainer in recruiting, adding even more experience to his years of bringing new talent to the Air Force.

His love of recruiting came from his prior job in the Air Force as a personnelist were he had opportunities to speak with and help people.

“I’ve recruited a lot of Airmen in my career,” said Melendez. “I really enjoy seeing folks reach their professional goals and for some even their personal goals of serving their country.”

Another part of the job that keeps Melendez motivated is seeing or speaking to people whom he has recruited over the years.

“I really enjoy speaking to people who come back after a few years of service and say thanks for what you did,” he said. “I also enjoy the many relationships I built while recruiting; it’s extremely rewarding.”

When not working, Melendez enjoys sport fishing and traveling, both opportunities his career choice has provided for him.

“I love to be in the outdoors and when I see water, I think about fishing,” said Melendez. “Salmon in the Northwest has become my favorite mainly due to the sport and it’s good eating.”

Melendez is still in the process of getting settled in, but said that he is moving forward with his goals and getting to know the recruiters who work for him.

“I have never lived in the Midwest, so I look forward to experiencing it,” he explained. “I also look forward to working with new recruiters.  Being in recruiting 16 years, I feel I have a lot to share.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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