At sports games, state fairs, and other headlining events, there is often a booth with Marine Corps recruiters milling about. The recruiters prospect individuals, interact with the crowds, and create an overall Marine Corps presence. Among these recruiters, one stands out in particular. This is Sgt. Zachary Will, and he is an enhanced marketing vehicle (EMV) recruiter.
In 2015, at the age of 24, Will enlisted in the Marine Corps. Living in Wentzville, Missouri, Will worked as a union painter. Under his contracting jobs, he painted the buildings of malls, schools, and various companies. However, he was dissatisfied with his life, and a friend planted the seed to desire something more.
“I joined the Marine Corps because I needed a change of life,” Will said. “I didn’t necessarily enjoy my day-to-day life as a painter. I had a really good friend that was in the Marine Corps, and I watched the impact he made on so many other people’s lives. I went and talked to a recruiter and told him, ‘I think this is something I want to do.’ I’ve seen the people before me do it, and they’re going off and seeing other parts of the world, they’ve got careers, they’ve got benefits.”
Will signed his contract as a Motor Vehicle Operator. Operators are assigned motor transport vehicles and equipment, which transport military personnel, supplies, and equipment. Additionally, operators also perform maintenance on vehicles and associated equipment. After his Motor Vehicle Operator training, Will was stationed at Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan. Will’s observation of Marines seeing other parts of the world came true for him – throughout the next few years of his career, he traveled throughout Europe and went on the 26th Marine expeditionary unit.
In 2021, Will was screened and placed on the higher specialist scientific training list, commonly known as the HSST List, as a canvassing recruiter. He was stationed at Recruiting Station Lansing in Lansing, Michigan. As a canvassing recruiter, Will sought out potential Marine Corps candidates, screened individuals, and dealt with administrative processing and records. In 2023, he would see a change in pace when he was selected to be an EMV recruiter at Fourth Marine Corps District headquarters in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania.
EMV recruiters assist canvassing recruiters at enhanced area canvassing (EAC) events with two vital pieces of gear. These are Battle Position and the Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer (ISMT). Battle Position is a virtual reality pugil stick battle, which mimics the pugil stick fights between recruits during recruit training. The ISMT is a marksmanship trainer which replicates the range, similarly giving individuals a taste of recruit training. These incorporate physicality while embracing emergent technologies to remain innovative. As an EMV recruiter, Will is in the direct charge and care of these pieces of equipment. These draw in heavy interest and attention at EAC events, aiding in recruiting efforts.
“Being an EMV (recruiter) really makes that event kind of pop,” Will said. “‘Oh shoot, what’s that over there?’ People are asking me all the time. Or, ‘Hey, what’s inside that dome or what’s inside that tractor trailer?’ It draws in a lot more attention for personnel that the recruiters are trying to talk to. It’s a huge advantage to have an EMV operator at these events, because it really makes what the recruiters are doing in that area kind of pop.”
Helping out his fellow recruiter is what Will considers the most rewarding part of his job.
“The greatest part about being an EMV recruiter is since I already understand the struggles of recruiting, and how tough it can be, now I can get out and touch a lot more recruiters and help them and their cause,” Will said.
However, being in the Marine Corps has come with its challenges that Will has had to tackle.
“I think leadership has been a struggle,” Will said. “Just because you have to sharpen every which way, and you have to keep developing new skills and make new tactics and new ways to help your Marines around you. Also needing to lead at their home front and making sure they’re taken care of in all aspects. Yeah, we have a mission. Yeah, we have that. But without the people around you, that mission isn’t going to get anywhere. You need to work as a team and as a family to make that happen.”
Will’s advice is to draw on discipline in order to successfully navigate work and beyond.
“Get out there and give 100 percent every single day,” Will said. “Some days are harder, but it’s not about motivation. Motivation will fail you. It’s about the discipline that the Marine Corps instills in you, and that’s what gives you the strength after that motivation runs out, to keep pushing forward and keep doing the best that you can.”