On duty with the USMC recruiters: Changing of the guard at the local recruiting office

Marine Corps SSgt. Brock Tarver and new recruiter Sgt. Joshua Cahoj at Monument Mall in Scottsbluff.

United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Brock Tarver has been a familiar sight for several years at local high schools and community events; however, his time here is coming to a close.

Tarver said, “I have been recruiting in the Panhandle for three years. I will be departing at the end of October.”

Tarver isn’t leaving the Marine Corp as he will continue his career by going back to his old job, and at a famous place “Marine Corp Air Station Miramar. I am going back to heavy helicopters, the CH-53E. It is the heavy lift support for the Marine Corps as far as rotary wing goes.”

Tarver explained why Miramar is famous “Top Gun, Tom Cruise, aviators, all the fun stuff like that, it is relateable in that sense. Not a whole lot of younger folks have seen the movie. I know if you are a 90s, 80s, 70s, or 60s person you have seen Top Gun at some point in time.”

Tarver added “I have enjoyed my time here and have met a lot of great people. The community support in the Panhandle is tremendous.”

Out with the old and in with the new, meet the new Marine Corp recruiter, Sgt. Joshua Cahoj. Cahoj introduced himself “I spent a lot of time growing up between Kansas and Colorado. I ended up graduating out of Topeka Kansas and enlisting in Kansas. I went to the Marine Corp Recruit Depot in San Diego for basic training. I have been in the Marine Corp for six years.”

Cahoj explained why he decided to join the Marine Corp “I chose the military because when I graduated I had a daughter. I had come from a broken home and I knew what it was like growing up in a broken home. I didn’t want that for my daughter but at the same time I didn’t have a means to provide for her, that was burdening as well. I didn’t have a good moral foundation like the core values that the Marine Corps has. That was one of the biggest things that stuck out to me.”

Cahoj had another influence “in high school I was in the Marine Corp ROTC. Being in ROTC Chief Warrant Officer Kelley was the instructor at that program. He served 20 years in the Marine Corp and he was a drill instructor. He treated us professionally but what he believed was that we were his Marines. He treated us like family it left an impression on me, I felt that I could get that same kind of moral foundation that I am seeking to better raise my daughter.”

Cahoj then went on to advanced training “after boot camp I had all of my additional training in California. I got stationed in an artillery battalion on the east coast in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.”

Cahoj didn’t just sit in North Carolina “from there I had gone on two deployments. One Unit Deployment Program and one Black Rotational Seaforce Deployment. We went into Romania and our team got split into two, my team went with the combat arms company. This has light assault vehicles and artillery. We went up into Bulgaria. We did operations in the Georgia Republic as well as Norway.

Cahoj described his job in the Marines “I am a radio operator. I dealt with radio systems and digital systems. The digital systems were getting implemented more as I was transitioning into the recruiting field. We were like the guinea pigs, we had gone through four or five different systems that they were trying to implement into the training as well as combat systems. It is still up in the air as to how they are going to implement it but our primary means of communication was radio.”

Cahoj described why he decided to go into recruiting “I needed to work on being a better people person. I was not up to just having conversations with people. If I needed to get something done I had no problems with going and meeting with the individuals or finding out where I needed to find answers. Sitting down and really getting to know somebody was something that I needed to work on, especially when it came to asking questions. I wanted to better understand how I could connect with people. I felt that recruiting duty would be the best way for me to do that.”

Recruiting isn’t easy according to Cahoj “is it challenging, yeah it is absolutely challenging. It has hard to relate to some of the kids today. I was into skateboards and video games, out here it is farm heavy and football, sports driven. It is a change of pace, something I have to learn to overcome. It is good because it will further my understanding of where different people come from.”

Cahoj is a newcomer here “I have been here for four months. My girlfriend is here with me and we have a newborn daughter.” The Panhandle is a one man station for Cahoj “it is different out here, I am used to having Marines with me. Marines very rarely go anywhere without being with each other. Even on liberty Marines ride together. Marines help keep each other on track. We help maintain focus. I do have good leadership in Cheyenne and they will provide me with the best advice that I need.”

Cahoj explained what Marine applicants need “it is all about attitude, it is all about heart. You want to make this decision for yourself, you need to come in with a good mindset. You are not going to enjoy everything that you experience. But there are going to be good times with it. Having good heart even though you are going to face hard times, you are going to be surrounded by a group of people that are going to open up to you and tell you that it is going to be okay.”

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