Army recruiters look to expand their presence in the communities they serve as they seek to help fulfill the dreams of the less than one percent of America’s sons and daughters who choose to serve their country in the military. One way recruiters are welcomed into communities is through the Hometown Recruiter Assistance Program. As the name implies, the program provides an opportunity for Soldiers to return to their hometowns upon completion of Initial Entry Training to assist local recruiters by sharing their Army training experiences with family, friends, high school classmates, future Soldiers, veterans and community leaders.

According to Crystal Knapp, the Fort Leonard Wood HRAP manager with the Directorate of Human Resources’ Military Personnel Division, Soldiers who volunteer to perform HRAP duty do so in a non-chargeable leave status — HRAP Soldiers return home on what’s called a permissive temporary duty assignment, or PTDY — for up to 14 days. While on HRAP duty, Soldiers report to the local recruiting station and assist recruiters throughout the community.

Staff Sgt. Colton Dunbar is the station commander at the recruiting office in St. Robert, Missouri. He called HRAP a great program.

“It all just comes down to how the Soldiers are leveraged,” he said. “We try to get the most out of them while they’re here by bringing them to the high school where they graduated and their communities to show everyone that this person was in your community six months ago as a civilian, but look at them now. It helps to break down any barriers because they know that person in uniform — it helps show we are people just like everybody else.”

Knapp said Soldiers are selected and approved for HRAP duty by their company commander and hometown recruiter. Those interested in HRAP may volunteer by submitting a DA Form 31, Request and Authority for Leave, through the appropriate chain of command. HRAP duty is annotated in block 17 on the leave form. At IET installations, like Fort Leonard Wood, a U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command HRAP manager coordinates participation in conjunction with reporting dates to first-duty assignments. All TRADOC Soldiers must receive a safety briefing from their parent unit prior to departure.

The program is open to officers as well, who may volunteer for HRAP duty in their hometowns or areas in which they are familiar, such as where they attended college, Knapp said. Officers coordinate directly with the recruiting company commander where they wish to perform HRAP in a PTDY status.

Knapp said all Soldiers — enlisted and officer — must meet the following qualifications to participate in HRAP:

– Have commander and recruiter approval of participation.
– Volunteer to perform duty in a PTDY status at no cost to the government.
– Be a high school graduate with a diploma.
– Be an Advanced Individual Training or One Station Unit Training graduate, or an Officer Candidate School graduate en route to the first duty assignment. Once a Soldier has signed in at their first duty assignment, they are no longer eligible to participate in HRAP.
– Soldiers must be familiar with the geographical area, have peer connections and influence (usually through high school or college, local employment or civic organizations), and be able to contribute to the recruiting efforts in the area.
– Must reside within 50 miles of the recruiting station they are assigned to support and have personal or public transportation available to and from the recruiting station.
– Must not be under suspension of favorable personnel actions.

Knapp said Soldiers with mandatory follow-on training after AIT — such as Airborne School or Air Assault School — are eligible to perform a subsequent HRAP tour after completing mandatory follow-on training.

National Guard and Reserve Soldiers may participate in HRAP in support of special activities or events, such as county fairs, Knapp said. These Soldiers should request HRAP duty through their home unit upon completion of AIT, OSUT or OCS.