By Maj. Margaret Ziffer
105th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Kansas Army National Guard
The United States Army Training and Doctrine Command selected Sgt. Di Nong, a recruiter in the Wichita area for the Kansas Army National Guard's Recruiting and Retention Command, as the January 2021 Hero of the Month. Gen. Paul Funk, TRADOC commander, established the recognition as a way to reward extraordinary contributions of individuals from across active duty, National Guard, and reserve components.
Although Nong has only been a recruiter for one year, he has already excelled in the position. In the first three months of fiscal year 2020, Sgt. Nong enlisted 10 Soldiers, a number that puts him in the lead for statewide accessions. He has since enlisted three more individuals.
Nong, who began his career as a military policeman in 2012, transitioned into recruiting after serving in the Wichita police force since 2015.
'One of the things we would talk about all the time is how the police force is transforming from a proactive force to a reactive force,' Nong said. 'And I realized that I want to be part of something proactive. I felt recruiting for the National Guard - and helping individuals improve their lives - would be proactive for my community. So I decided to put in for recruiting.'
In addition to recruiting future Kansas Army National Guardsmen, Nong also trains them.
As a lead instructor at Recruit Sustainment Program drills in Wichita, he is directly responsible for coaching, and mentoring up to 120 new RSP Soldiers at any given time, ensuring they are medically, administratively and morally prepared to attend their initial entry training.
'He is driven to give others the amazing opportunities that the KSARNG has given him,' said Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Haney, Recruiting and Retention Battalion command sergeant major. 'Sergeant Nong is the definition of what it means to be a noncommissioned officer, a leader of Soldiers, and the backbone of the Army.'
Nong said one of the things he enjoys most about his job is that he gets to meet and work with individuals who are trying to improve their own livelihoods. He said this can be challenging, but rewarding.
'Recruiting is a tough job,' Nong said. 'I appreciate that there are people that I consider mentors here who have helped me remember why recruiting is important.'
'From day to day, I do feel like I put in a lot of work,' Nong said. 'I wasn't expecting that it would make that big of an impact, but it feels good to know that someone sees it. And that people in higher places think that it's making a difference.'