NEWS | Feb. 16, 2022

VNG opens pathway for success for Va.  Beach recruiter

By Sgt. 1st Class Terra C. Gatti | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

In joining the Virginia Army National Guard more than two decades ago, Staff Sgt. LaTesse Hall found the kind of stability that had long been missing from her life. The child of two parents who struggled with substance abuse, Hall grew up in poverty.
“Pinto beans and biscuits were a gourmet meal for my siblings and I,” Hall said.
Joining the military was the last thing on her mind when a friend signed up to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB. Her friend, Hall said, didn’t want to go alone, so Hall accompanied her. Her high scores gained the attention of her friend’s recruiter and, as a junior in high school, Hall enlisted as 92A Logistics Specialist. She’s wasn’t picky about what career field she went into. She just wanted to get through college and the National Guard was the best option for her at the time.
Now, 22 years later, Hall serves as a recruiter for the Virginia Army National Guard, working in the Virginia Beach area. Over her years of service, she’s earned three more military occupational specialties, including 68W Combat Medic Specialist, 36B Financial Management Technician and 92Y Unit Supply Specialist and she’s currently in the process of becoming a 79T Recruiting and Retention NCO.
“I applied to recruiting after reflecting on my life,” Hall said. “Recognizing where I came from and how blessed and highly favored I am today, I know the Army National Guard got me here. I want to be the recruiter that helps everyone that wants to be helped, and show them that the Army National Guard is not a last resort, but a foundation for success. The National Guard can play a major part in turning those dreams into goals and helping those goals become a reality.”
Largely because of the stability provided by the National Guard, Hall became the first person in her family to earn a high school diploma. Now, she’s working on her third degree and is the first person in her family to own her own home.
Among some of her most memorable recruits, are two siblings, a brother and a sister, who followed her into military.
“I just recently enlisted my sister, who is a student at [Old Dominion University],” Hall said. “Through the Army National Guard, I have completed my mission. My lineage is now a lineage destined for greatness and our children will never know what it is like to grow up in the atmosphere that my siblings and I grew up in.”
Hall was recently selected to represent her recruiting area on the Recruiting and Retention Battalion’s Diversity Council. She also participates in a Virginia Beach-area diversity group and recently volunteered to assist with their African American Male Summit. Recognizing and celebrating diversity, for Hall, is a key component of organizational success.
“The value of diversity in the Army National Guard is the sense of security and the safe environment it provides,” Hall said. “Feeling included, understood and valued will always yield better results.”
While she does take time to attend Black History Month events during February, her Blackness, she says, is something she celebrates all year round.
“I support Black businesses [and] I teach my daughter about the amazing Black figures and their contributions,” Hall said. On her bucket list is a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., which she plans to visit as soon as time and ticket availability allows.
“The Army National Guard has helped me change my situation overall and I am a recruiter today to help people change theirs,” Hall said. “I want to helps others build that foundation for success through the Virginia Army National Guard, breaking generational curses one Soldier at a time.”

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