Nov 2, 2023
Air Force recruiter bench presses 285 pounds 15 times

air force

Using what was available around him, Air Force recruiter Greg Butler went viral at a recent recruiting event in Springfield, Missouri.

His recruiting booth was set up next to a local gym display that posed a simple challenge: how many times can you bench press your own weight?

That was the only invitation Butler needed.

A recent story from Task & Purpose caught up with Butler to discuss his viral recruitment strategy. Below is an excerpt from the Task & Purpose story.

“Even though I was in my blues I had to try it,” Butler told Task & Purpose.

Captured on a cell phone, Butler bench pressed his 285 body weight 15 times — a demonstration that easily puts him in the top five percent of all weightlifters on the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s matrix for bench press.

The video, predictably, went viral earlier this month, with commenters on social media ranging from those who admired his lifting form to others who were shocked by the display of strength from a member of the Air Force.

That reaction, Butler said, is one he sees often on the recruiting trail.

“I use it as an ice breaker,” Butler said “I’ll be like, ‘How much do you weigh?’ Well, here’s the video of me doing dumbbells with that weight.”

In his fourth year as a recruiter, he’s used his social media accounts to combine fitness and work, regularly posting pictures and videos of himself lifting weights alongside recruiting and Air Force pictures.

“I love being a recruiter,” Butler says. “I don’t just try to recruit people. I try to change lives.”

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Butler says he meets plenty of recruits who are considering joining the Air Force but might be drawn to a branch more closely associated with physical fitness.

“You’re looking at at least 15 to 20 percent are usually on the fence between the Air Force and another branch,” he said. “But usually we have that conversation, I think it gives them that comfort level. They’re like, ‘You’re huge, right?’ And they want to brag to their friends about it, ‘I got recruited by this guy.’”

To read the full story from Task & Purpose about the Air Force recruitment, click here.