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Assignment keeps recruiter, recruitee together

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM -- Master Sgt. Lorenzo Rogers, 320 EMXS, recruited Airman 1st Class Natasha Butler, 772 EAS, in July 2001.  Both are now assigned to the 463 AG, Little Rock Rock AFB, Ark., and are currently deployed together.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Pamela Smith)

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM -- Master Sgt. Lorenzo Rogers, 320 EMXS, recruited Airman 1st Class Natasha Butler, 772 EAS, in July 2001. Both are now assigned to the 463 AG, Little Rock Rock AFB, Ark., and are currently deployed together. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Pamela Smith)

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (AFPN) -- When Airman 1st Class Natasha Butler reported for duty to the 463rd Airlift Group at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., in September 2000, she felt like she was coming home again.

Not only was she from Little Rock, but her recruiter, Master Sgt. Lorenzo, was assigned to the same unit and she had already met most of the people in her new shop.

After all, it was a visit with Rogers to the 463rd AG three months earlier that sold her on the idea of joining the Air Force.

Since that time they have been on two deployments together and both are currently assigned to the 320th Air Expeditionary Wing at a forward-deployed location supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Butler is an information manager with the 772nd Expeditionary Airlift Squadron and Rogers is a section chief and production superintendent with the 320th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron.

Rogers said Butler was the recruit who almost got away.

He was on temporary duty as a recruiter when Butler came into the Little Rock recruiting office. Because he was not the recruiter she had met with before, she turned to walk away.

"She walked in, took one look at me and turned to walk out because she didn't recognize me," Rogers said. "I asked her not to go and we sat and talked for a little bit."

Rogers had spent four years as a recruiter in Tempe, Ariz., before returning to his career field as an electro-environmental maintenance technician and going to Little Rock AFB. Because of a shortage of recruiters, he was recalled to recruiting duty in 2000 for 120 days and assigned to the Little Rock area.

Rogers had the experience needed to help Butler make the right choice for herself, but was not under pressure to make a deal.

"There wasn't a goal to meet, so it was very relaxed," Rogers said. "I just wanted to show her what I knew, which is why I took her to the base. I wanted to open her eyes."

Rogers knew the base and thought letting Butler see how the Air Force works up close would help her make a decision. Rogers let Butler her take control of the tour and go at her own pace.

"Sergeant Rogers took me there and left me alone to walk around and talk to people," Butler said. "Everyone was very friendly and honest about what to expect."

Butler enlisted in the Air Force in July 2000 as an information manager and made Little Rock her first choice for an assignment. As she went through training, her name showed up on an inbound manning document in the 463rd AG.

"I knew it was her right away," Rogers said.

"It was a good feeling when I walked into the squadron and saw a familiar face," Butler said. "It was comforting to come back to a group that I already knew."

She said it is also good to know that Rogers is there to help her out if she needs it.

"He was very straightforward with me from the beginning, so I knew what I was getting into," Butler said. "And I know that he continues to watch out for me."

Rogers, who has been deployed to another desert base with three other airmen he recruited, said it is a good feeling to be stationed with one of your recruits.

"It's been a pleasure to see her grow as an airman," he said. "She's a top-notch troop."

He also tends to look out for her.

"I like to check in and see how's she's doing, make sure she's doing OK," Rogers said.

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