Army promotes first soldier under new recruiting program

Spc. Vincent C. Tucci, an aviation operations specialist at 1st Battalion, 212th Aviation Regiment, stands with Maj. Gen. Michael C. McCurry, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commander, and Capt. Justin M. Snow, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 212th Aviation Regiment, after Tucci was promoted from private first class to specialist and honored for earning the U.S. Army Recruiting Ribbon during a ceremony at Fort Rucker, Alabama, April 4, 2023. (U.S. Army photo by Kelly Morris)

FORT RUCKER, AL, UNITED STATES

Story by Kelly Morris

U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence

Fort Rucker’s own Spc. Vincent C. Tucci was promoted from the rank of private first class to specialist and honored for earning the U.S. Army Recruiting Ribbon during a ceremony at the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence April 4, 2023.

Tucci, who serves as an aviation operations specialist at 1st Battalion, 212th Aviation Regiment, received the promotion and ribbon after successfully referring an individual to the Army through the U.S. Army Soldier Referral Program.

The program aims to encourage all Soldiers regardless of rank or component to support recruiting. It also gives them an opportunity to share their stories and their decision to serve with their community.

In his remarks, Maj. Gen. Michael C. McCurry, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commander, lauded Tucci’s efforts.

“Last year the Army struggled to meet recruiting goals. 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,” he said.

Through the program, junior enlisted Soldiers (private through private first class) who successfully refer someone to the Army are also eligible to be promoted one grade if their qualified referral enlists and ships to Basic Combat Training or One Station Unit Training.

“Private 1st Class Tucci is definitely the first one at Fort Rucker, and one of the initial people in the Army that, fast out of the starting blocks, talked to somebody about the Army and the life that he was able to start building for himself, and this case including having his brother here in (Advanced Individual Training) with him here at Fort Rucker,” McCurry said.

McCurry thanked the AIT students in the audience for “stepping up and raising your right hand and being willing to serve our nation,” including Tucci’s brother, Pvt Xaviour Willis.

“To all of you who have been (serving) a lot longer, thank you to you too. I hope you all get Soldier referral ribbons here pretty quick. Everybody should be striving to replace themselves in the military,” McCurry said.

McCurry said only 23 percent of 18-year-olds in America today can meet the basic standards to enlist in military service, and only 9 percent show the propensity to want to serve.

Tucci’s referral, Pvt. Kayla Anderson, is currently training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, to be a human resource specialist.

Tucci thanked attendees, and explained the reason he participated in the referral was because joining the Army changed his perspective on life.

“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. And the reason I gave my number to someone else is because I wanted them to experience that same feeling that I experienced,” Tucci said.

Tucci said once he made it past basic training, he saw more clearly that the Army offers “so much more,” he said.

“The Army is everything I could have asked for. I get to do what I love around people that I enjoy working with and have the support of an amazing command team, my (noncommissioned officer in charge), my fellow Soldiers, my brother, I couldn’t ask for anything more. I have family blood wise and career wise, and the Army set me up for so much more, even if I do decide to get out,” Tucci said.

“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 said.

Soldiers interested in participating in the Soldier Referral Program may visit goarmy.com/refer or text RFRL to GOARMY (462769).  

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