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The recruiter who was recruited

Chris Jarvis was a Marine recruit in basic training when he heard about the 9/11 attacks.

“I was getting close to the end of a long obstacle course, and [our commanding officers] told us we’re going to war—the twin towers just got hit,” said Chris, who before that moment didn’t know what the twin towers were or where they were located.

Chris was unaware that this cataclysmic event would be the reason his future unit deployed to the other side of the globe.

During his second deployment to Iraq, Chris fought in the Second Battle of Fallujah, also known as Operation Phantom Fury.

The mission was clear.

“Secure Fallujah,” he said. “Literally, it was building to building, floor to floor, clearing out every house [of insurgents]. From the time the sun rose until it got too dark to see, we were shooting.”

After his deployment, Chris transitioned to the Kentucky Army National Guard where he spent the last eight years of his 22-year military career as a recruiter. When Chris needed to find a new career path as a civilian, DAV was there to help.

A social media post for a DAV job fair popped up while Chris was scrolling online. 

“I actually forwarded it to a couple of my buddies who were still doing recruiting,” he said. “And then I thought about it for a minute. I said, ‘I'm not going to get a paycheck too much longer. I need to go look myself.’”

Chris decided to see what the DAV job fair was all about.

“They had something I hadn't seen before [at a job fair], which was QR codes,” he said. “So ahead of time, you could fill out your information, upload your resume and have everything set up and ready to go. When you got there, all you had to do was pull your phone out; the employers would scan your code and have your information.” 

The former recruiter believed he would have the greatest potential for success if he visited every table to see what they had to offer. 

“A lot of companies I had never heard of were there, including [Atlas Air],” said Chris. 

But when he got to Atlas Air’s table, he didn’t notice any positions for recruitment or human resources. Yet when Chris told them his background was in recruiting, they told him they had an open position. 

“During the interview, [they asked], ‘Do you know that Atlas Air has a history with the military?’” Chris said. “Not only do they fly commercial and logistics, they also fly military personnel to and from deployments. For over 20 years now, Atlas Air has flown military equipment and been a good partner with them.”

They offered Chris a position as a recruiter and asked him to represent Atlas Air at future DAV job fairs.

“Once I got hired on with Atlas Air, the talent acquisition manager spoke to me about my veteran network. She asked me if I could start looking at positions to bring veterans on,” said Chris. “We spent several days looking over different positions that Atlas Air had available that our military experience would transition into.” 

What advice does this experienced military recruiter turned Atlas Air recruiter have for transitioning service members, veterans and military spouses looking for a new career?

“I would encourage everyone to go to a DAV job fair, even if you are already employed. It’s a good networking event,” said Chris. “Also, DAV’s website——has a lot of resources to help you build your network.” 

“DAV is grateful for Chris’ sacrifice and service to our country,” said DAV National Employment Director Ryan Burgos. “As a recruiter with Atlas Air, he continues to serve his fellow veterans by helping them find meaningful employment at the DAV job fairs.”

With your generous support, DAV is able to sponsor in-person job fairs across the nation as well as virtual events. Your gift of $25, $50 or $100 connects veterans like Chris Jarvis with employers nationwide who are committed to hiring them.

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