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NEWS | Dec. 6, 2023

189th CATB Legal NCO’s Son Assists Army Recruiting Goals

For several decades the Army’s Hometown Recruit Assistant Program (HRAP) has been considered vital in recruiting Soldiers into the United States Army while allowing recent trainees to return home to convey their experiences with other who may qualify for service.
Pvt. Alex Dickson, a small arms/towed artillery repairer and son of Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Dickson, a paralegal NCO assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 189th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division West is currently participating in the program at the Lacey Recruiting Station in Lacey, Washington from late Nov. through early Dec. 2023 before reporting to his first duty station in Germany.

“HRAP is the hometown recruiting initiative that allows Army trainees at the end of their training to head back home to assist with the local recruiting office that initially enlisted them because they can always use a little bit of help,” Pvt. Dickson said. “[Recruiting] is a demanding job, so anything they need help doing we do a little bit of the leg work for them.”

Through the duration of the two-week assignment, HRAP requires various duties Soldiers are responsible to perform.

“The battle rhythm changes day-to-day based on whatever the demands of the station are,” Pvt. Dickson said. “Sometimes we get to go out and talk to people, and other days we handle business here where we have people who we need to get a hold of one way or the other, whether it’s in person, by telephone, following up on responses, or any other way we can get a hold of them.”

At the earliest stages of Pvt. Dickson’s enlistment and training, HRAP was presented as an option recruiters and instructors readily raised as a possible opportunity for him to take part in.

“I heard about [HRAP] initially when I was going through the recruitment process, and again when I arrived at AIT when they were discussing our duty stations of choice,” Pvt. Dickson said.

There were numerous factors that motivated Pvt. Dickson to join the Army, but the most intricate he contributes to his upbringing.

“My dad was definitely instrumental in me picking this branch, as I had looked at the Navy, Air Force, etc..., but the Army was just familiar as my dad has been doing this since I could barely walk,” Pvt. Dickson said. “It worked out pretty well for him, so I gave it a try.”

As a proud parent, Sgt. 1st Class Dickson enjoys having his son serving close to home but recognizes Alexander’s duties in Washington are only temporary. 

“You always want your kids to be able to grow up and fly on their own, but it’s a bittersweet moment,” Sgt. 1st Class Dickson said. “It’s been great having him home, and it’s going to even more hard putting him on a plane to say good-bye to him again.”

One of the primary motivations Pvt. Dickson will likely discuss with potential enlistees are the benefits service in the United States Army provides.   

“I know the Army will provide me VA Loans and basic housing allowance and provide me with the opportunities I just straight up would not have otherwise,” Pvt. Dickson said. “When I get back, I am interested in buying a house, getting some property and giving it a proper go.”

As a senior NCO with a long career behind him, Sgt. 1st Class Dickson is pleased to see his son finding purpose in his new career.

“I could not be prouder of my son; he made a plan, and he followed through,” Sgt. 1st Class Dickson said. “The Army gives you so many opportunities you can’t even take advantage of all of them, and Alex is the type of man who will take every opportunity that is given to him and maximize it to full effect.”