Maj. Gen. Edward W. Thomas Jr. is the commander, Air Force Recruiting Service, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas.

The Air Force Recruiting Service comprises more than 3,000 Airmen and civilians and approximately 1,200 recruiting offices across the U.S. and abroad. Thomas is responsible for all enlisted accessions and a variety of officer accession programs. AFRS also manages all strategic marketing for the U.S. Air Force.

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U.S. Army Gen. Richard D. Clarke (center), commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., talks with Lt. Gen. Marshall B. Webb (Clarke’s left), Air Education and Training commander, during a briefing from Maj. Gen. Edward Thomas (right), Air Force Recruiting Service commander, Oct. 16, 2020, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

U.S. Air Force photo // Sarayuth Pinthong

In the era of the COVID 19 pandemic, Thomas and his command have the daunting task of finding the best and brightest civilians, enlisting them in either the Air Force or Space Force, 

whose ranks Air Force recruiters are currently responsible for populating. Then, through a revamped, socially distanced basic military training, the Air Force builds them into the next generation of Airmen and the very first generation of Space Professionals.

In this “At Altitude” podcast, produced by Airman magazine, Thomas discusses the need for and benefits of diversity within the force, the challenges of recruiting during a pandemic and the integration of recruiting across the total force from Air National Guard to ROTC and civilian to uniform military.


Listen to the “At Altitude” podcast with Maj. Gen. Edward W. Thomas Jr. – HERE


Content Timeline:

(02:53): AFRS Overview / (04:30): Recruiting Strategy / (08:14): Diversity / (19:26): STEM talent

(24:13): Continual Learners / (25:54): Disruptive thinking / (27:40): COVID’s effect on recruiting /

(30:30): Virtual recruiting in future / (36:12): Detachment 1 / (45:45): Space Force

(44:42): Medical Waivers / (46:00): Special Operations / (48:50): Accepting Risk

(52:45): Service commitment length / (56:00): Air Force and Space Force AFSCs