A soldier at Fort Rucker, Alabama, is one of the first to receive the Army’s new recruiting ribbon, given out to those who refer someone to a recruiter and who then goes to basic training.
Spc. Vincent C. Tucci received the ribbon Tuesday, along with a promotion, at Rucker’s U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, according to a press release the same day.
The milestone announcement comes about two weeks after the Army first revealed the look of the new ribbon to the public. The award is part of the service’s push to bolster recruitment efforts after its most dismal recruiting year in decades.
“Last year, the Army struggled to meet recruiting goals,” Maj. Gen. Michael McCurry, the commander of both the center and Fort Rucker, said in the press release. “One of the things we’ve done as an institution this year is allow soldiers to refer someone, and if that person they refer to a recruiter ships to basic combat training, then they are eligible for a decoration, a ribbon.”
Enlisted soldiers of all ranks can earn the ribbon when the person they refer attends basic training. Soldiers can also earn promotion points that will help them achieve their next rank.
Tucci is one of 15 soldiers across the Army to become eligible to receive the recruiting ribbon so far, according to Brian McGovern, a spokesperson for Army Recruiting Command, or USAREC.
Battalion commanders, the most common approval authority for basic awards, will approve soldiers’ receipt of the ribbon, which sports a blue background with balanced red and white stripes.
“The Institute of Heraldry normally creates original ribbon designs by their staff of heraldic artists,” McGovern told Military.com over email. “The Army Recruiting Ribbon was developed using input from Army recruiters, with the color scheme provided by USAREC.
“The newly created ribbon is part of the Army’s effort to recognize soldiers for contributing to the recruiting effort,” he added.
The award is one of many tools the Army is using to bolster recruiting efforts after struggling in 2022, falling 15,000 soldiers, or 25%, short of its annual goal of 60,000. The service has shown early signs it may be on track to meet its higher 65,000 goal this year.
For Tucci, the newly promoted specialist, the ribbon recognizes his efforts to bring non-uniformed peers into his own positive Army experience.
“I came from a very icky place and, as soon as I joined the Army, I finally realized, like, ‘Hey, this isn’t where I’m going to peak at. I can be so much more, I can do so much more, I can contribute so much more,'” Tucci said Tuesday. “And the reason I gave my number to someone else is because I wanted them to experience that same feeling that I experienced.
“So I did [the referral] so I could help someone else set their foot on the right track, and help set them set up a better life and career for them,” he added.
— Drew F. Lawrence can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @df_lawrence.