A Day In The Life - Marine Recruiter, Tristan Wilhelm

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Pictured are Marines Recruiter Tristan Wilhelm (right) and Poolee Dallas Fritzinger, student of Boscobel High School, after Dallas passed all examinations at the military entrance processing station. (Submitted photo)

By Rachel Mergen


“My job is to find the most qualified mentally and physically applicants,” Marine Corps Recruiter Tristan Wilhelm, of Prairie du Chien, explained, describing his chosen career path. “I am trying to inspire people to work for a better life when they are content with their current circumstances of coasting by.” 

For Wilhelm’s job, he works with schools in the area to set up event times that will enable him to speak with applicants about joining the Marines. He travels all across the area during the school year, from Boscobel to Decorah. 

Wilhelm also attends events, like fairs, to speak with attendees about the prospect of joining. He hopes to “let everyone know that there is a vast amount of careers in the Marines.”

During his visits, he sets up a booth that includes more information about the Marines, while he is also available to answer questions. He often sets up challenges for those who stop at the booth, including pull-up challenges, to draw the competitiveness out of people to try to beat the records of the day. Often people come to the booths and challenges lacking confidence, according to Wilhelm, but when they try, they normally do quite well.

He shows students and others who may be interested that serving is an opportunity for them to travel and leaving their hometowns behind to continue onto new adventures. 

The career path also leads to student debts being paid off, enabling them to achieve the education level they dream of without the financial worries.

He hopes possible applicants will recognize it as a chance to “belong to something bigger than themselves” and “to be a part of the select few that are able to earn the title of U.S. Marine.”

The applicants must take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, which is a timed exam testing multiple aptitudes. The exam is split into four categories: arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, paragraph comprehension and mathematics knowledge. For the physical aspect, there is a strength test consisting of push-ups, crunches and a mile-and-a-half timed run. For push-ups, a goal for being suitable for the Marines is being able to do six in a row during the application process. Following, enrollees work to do approximately 20 push-ups.

Wilhelm’s goals each day are “to talk to as many people as possible”—whether that’s face-to-face in one-on-one situations, on the telephone or at events—and “to help inspire the individual to better themselves and set themselves for success.”

During his own military service, Wilhelm worked as an intelligence specialist. With this job, he was able to work with technology and confidential information. He embraced the opportunity of this job, because he was able to “travel and meet like-minded people with the same goals as me and that want to better themselves and challenge themselves to grow.”

Following his time in intelligence, he had the choice of either volunteering for a military-based career, or, due to his respected time in the service, he was able to be assigned to either being a recruiter or drill instructor. He accepted the recruiter position and was randomly assigned to Prairie du Chien, leading to him to move away from his home state of Oregon.

During his time here so far, Wilhelm has enjoyed the area immensely and has been impressed with seeing American flags everywhere, as he enjoys the patriotic personality of the area.

To learn more about applying to join the Marines, call Prairie du Chien’s Marine Corps Recruiting Office at 326-1533 or go to marines.com.

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