Guard recruiter and former wrestling standout Irving Cortes fought his first mixed martial arts bout last year. His opponent won, but just barely, and Cortes was bitten by the bug. Now, he's itching for another fight, and he's training like there's no tomorrow. He's not a big man, but he's ripped and hitting Doyle's Gym every day.
Recruiting Is Like a Wrestling Match.
Cortes says that wrestling is like chess. It's an intelligent, strategic breakdown of your opponent. The challenge is less about overcoming your opponent than it is getting the best of your own limitations. That's also how he looks at recruiting. Is the Guard a good match for the prospect's needs and goals? How do the prospect's strengths and weaknesses fit with the Guard? How will they give back to the Guard? Are they a good match?
As Cortes prepares to check out of the office and hit the gym, he talks with his recruiting partner, Sergeant First Class Khalise Thomas, about the prospects for two young men who'd just stopped in.
Skill, Discipline, Confidence, Mental Toughness
"In an economy where jobs are scarce and education is almost unaffordable, the National Guard will train you in a skill that'll allow you to market yourself in the working world. It'll also afford you the opportunity to earn a college degree tuition-free all the way through a graduate degree," Cortes says. He wants his children to grow up with discipline, confidence and mental toughness. He has seen too many young people who lack those qualities. He pulls up to the gym, and his son Nehemiah rushes from the car and bounds up the stairs. "Bring it, boy!" Doyle hollers. If the boy has inherited anything from his father, oh, he'll bring it, all right.