Story by Aren Everett on 06/14/2019By Aren Everett, Navy Recruiting District Chicago Public Affairs
CHICAGO - Eight years ago, a young woman by the name of Charde Russell walked in to the Navy Recruiting Station in Hyde Park, Chicago, and she never looked back.
"I was born and raised in Chicago and attended King College Prep High School," said Russell. "I had a full ride scholarship to college, but didn't see a solid plan."
Russell said she joined the Navy in order to make a difference in her community, get ahead in life and to serve her country, which she had always had the desire to do.
Now, she is a boatswain's mate second class. She has served on board the USS Wasp, Naval Station Norfolk and the USS Abraham Lincoln. During that time, she met and married her husband, a former boatswain's mate, and had a daughter. She has been a recruiter for Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Chicago for eleven months.
"Growing up in Chicago, I believed I could reach some of the youth in my neighborhood and provide them with an example of success," said Russell.
Russell has had a successful run. In eleven months, she has been recognized as recruiter of the month for three months, received two Captain's Cups, three Heavy Hitter awards, one Six Shooter award. She was also hand selected by Navy Recruiting Command to represent NRD Chicago in Navy mass-recruiting events, called Swarms, in Orlando, Boston and New York City.
Russell attributes her success to her positive attitude and the support she has received from the Navy.
"As a recruiter, we have to be able to put a smile on and fight for our Future Sailors no matter how tired we may be or how the day is going," said Russell.
"My husband and I are part of the Navy family," said Russell. "It helped us be able to provide for our daughter."
Russell said she believes her ability to balance her job as a recruiter, marriage and a mother while keeping a smile on her face and making the effort to brighten the day of those around her makes her unique.
"The impact I have on a young Sailor's career and life is unique; while Recruit Division Commanders lay the foundation, I get to discover the motivation and enforce a never-quit mentality in our most junior Sailors," said Russell. "It's important to me because it's crucial to make sure we put the best of the best into the fleet and build a stronger Navy."
Russell takes that attitude into her personal life as well. She volunteers with her local church mentoring youth and providing food and clothing to the homeless on her off time.
"I believe that doing this shows you can serve your country and still have time to give back to your community and those in need," said Russell.
Russell has a very specific plan to continue her success in the Navy. While recruiting, she aims to qualify and assume the duties of leading petty officer at a Navy recruiting station, meritoriously advance to first class petty officer and subsequently advance to chief petty officer.
"I want to be the best recruiter and mentor that Navy Recruiting Command has ever seen," said Russell.
Russell said that so far the Navy has helped her attain her goals by allowing the time for her to hit personal milestones and by putting leaders in place that can steer her to success.
"I have come across many obstacles in my Navy career, but always find the will to overcome and use my support team to push through," said Russell. "I just believe in achieving your goals no matter how rough it may get because failure is not an option for me."
In many ways, Russell has planned her career path to be stay in the recruiting enterprise and eventually earn a commissioning as a chief warrant officer. She also plans to complete a bachelor's degree in human resources and purchase a house well before she retires from the Navy. Russell is keeping her goals on target and proving that her hard work, awards, recognition and advancements have all paid off throughout here career.
Navy Recruiting District Chicago covers 61,945 square miles across Northern Illinois, Northwest Indiana, Eastern Wisconsin and the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It includes 46 recruiting stations divided into nine divisions charged with the mission to provide the Navy Fleet with the proper quantity and quality of Sailors to keep our Navy and our Nation strong.
For more news from NRD Chicago visit https://www.navy.mil/local/nrdc/ or follow NRD Chicago on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/NRDChicago/).
Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, three Navy Recruiting Regions, 18 Navy Recruiting Districts and eight Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 1,300 recruiting stations across the world. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America's Navy.
For more news from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, go to http://www.cnrc.navy.mil or follow Navy Recruiting on Facebook (www.facebook.com/NavyRecruiting), Twitter (@USNRecruiter) and Instagram (@USNRecruiter).