LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. --
Balancing life between work and home is always a challenge. Doing so as a Marine Corps recruiter and mother of an infant is even more so.
Sergeant Cara J. Tighe, 28, has been a recruiter at Recruiting Substation Saratoga Springs, Recruiting Station Albany, since Nov. 2010, covering much of the same area she knew in her youth.
“I am familiar with the area, having grown up here, and I know where the kids hang out so it is easier to network,” said Tighe, a native of Ballston Spa, N.Y.
Members of the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program, men and women generally referred to as poolees, are in near constant contact with their recruiter to learn more about the Marine Corps and continue to prepare for the challenge of recruit training. Tighe, who has recruited nearly 40 young men and women in 24 months, finds it easier to relate to prospective applicants and poolees based on a shared hometown or region. Despite differences in age and experience, she is able to open doors in her communities and with her poolees, based on a commitment to the ethos common to all Marines.
“I make sure to display honor, courage, commitment at all times to ensure [applicants and poolees] know what I stand for. The longer my poolees are in the Delayed Entry Program, the more I let them know about myself, about my family, my husband, my daughter,” said Tighe.” I don’t want my poolees to think I am a machine and I want them to know that I have a life outside of work.”
Tighe spent seven years as a postal Marine at several units on the west and east coasts and has deployed to Iraq twice. Between training, deployments and her current duties as a recruiter, she has managed to nearly complete her college degree in marketing. Tighe said she uses her educational pursuits as a proof source for young men and women who want to serve but also want to continue advancing their education.
“The Marine Corps has enabled me to further my education as well as advance my technical and professional skills,” she said. “I was able to nearly earn a bachelor’s degree by the end of my second enlistment.” Though the demands of recruiting have delayed her off-duty education temporarily, Tighe plans to complete her college courses in the next few years. “With a degree, when the time comes for me to part ways with the Marine Corps, I won’t be starting from scratch, but rather with years of experience and an advanced degree,” she said.
Recruiting duty can be challenging to even the best leaders. On a special duty assignment like recruiting duty, Marines are trained in a job skill outside of their primary military occupational specialty for a minimum of three years. The Marine Corps usually selects the best noncommissioned officer leaders from across the Marine Corps to fill these billets as the challenges of individual duties demand the highest levels of responsibility and professionalism. According to Sgt. Jared Koohestani, staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge, RSS Saratoga Springs, Tighe has consistently lived up to the expectations of the Marine Corps as a recruiter.
“Sergeant Tighe has been a positive influence for RSS Saratoga since she's been a recruiter. She has a consistently positive attitude and always brings her ‘A’ game and this helps push the other recruiters to do their best,” said Koohestani, a 27-year-old native of Ablemarle, N.C. “Sergeant Tighe has proven her ability to recruit and ship to recruit training very highly qualified individuals. She can always be relied on to meet and exceed her assigned mission.”
According to Koohestani, each Marine recruiter is tasked with finding and processing for enlistment the most highly qualified individuals to fill the ranks of the Corps. Because of this, each recruiter has a very deep impact on the success of the Marine Corps for generations to come. Koohestani said Tighe has a deep sense of responsibility to find and recruit the individuals who are most likely to succeed at recruit training and beyond.
“She has a very good understanding of what a Marine can and should be,” he said. “Her professionalism, devotion to duty and drive to excel in and out of uniform make her a great example for applicants, poolees and other Marines. On an independent duty like recruiting, it is very important for Marines to be mature and responsible. Sergeant Tighe is constantly engaged with the other Marines and her poolees, and she never allows roadblocks to undermine her professionalism. Her experiences before recruiting duty and throughout her two years here give her a unique ability to show everyone she works with the values the Marine Corps instills.”
Tighe said she has yet to decide whether she will continue her career after her current enlistment ends, but whether or not she re-enlists, she plans to keep in touch with the Marines she has recruited and continue to succeed.
"When Marines return from recruit training, the recruiters sit down and speak with them at length regarding the differences between being a poolee, being a recruit and being a Marine. We explain to them that they always need to conduct themselves as a Marine,” said Tighe. “I am confident in my abilities. I have learned a lot through taking marketing and management classes on how to better appeal to applicants, businesses and schools. I have learned how to better market myself and network in order to be successful because you cannot be a Marine forever; there will always be life after the Marine Corps and without furthering your education you will not be as competitive as a Marine or as a civilian.”