From books to barracks

Seniors make preparations to serve in the military

Robert Carpenter, Staff Writer

Brave soldiers risk their lives day in and day out to defend the homeland. They fight tooth and nail to protect the freedoms of U.S. citizens. These soldiers risk everything so that citizens of the homeland can continue to have sanctuary. Many of these heros go unrecognized. The names and faces of  the real heros remain unknown. It may be surprising that some of these heroes walk among the student body in the hallway.

This year, approximately 15 out of 581 seniors reported to MN admin that they decided to rise to the challenge of serving their country.

Many of these students found their callings through similar processes. The first step in the process is expressing interest in combative forces. Some students have family or friends that have served, and they hope to follow that legacy.

“For the most part, a lot of the kids that I work with have family or grandparents or somebody in the military. So it’s always kind of been in the back of their mind,” counselor Paul Gabel said.

For students like senior Hayden Hrabik, joining the military was strongly influenced by both family members who joined and did not join the military.

“My dad said the one thing he regretted was not going into the military.” Hayden

After they show interest, these students get ahold of recruiters through Gabel or by directly contacting them. If they contact Gabel, he will set up meetings at the school between the student and recruiter, as well as file the paperwork.

During the paperwork step, diversity for the future formulates. Students will decide between branches and jobs that they will take within their branch. This job will determine how long and what type of training is necessary for the student.

For students like Hrabik, being a pararescue medic for the Air Force will take two years of training. The job will last him anywhere from 6 to 20 years, and the experience will allow him to be an EMT if he chooses.

Training plans differ from person to person. Students like senior Druin Guge, who is planning to join the Army, go to physical training every Thursday.

“I pretty much just ship out July 3rd, go to bootcamp for 17 weeks and my AIT is included. That’s like a school where you learn your job. My job is 19 kilos. It’s a M1 armored crewman tank. I’ll basically learn to drive the tank, shoot the tank, fix it,”Guge said.

Other students like senior Jason Smith, who will join the Air Force, will start training at the end of the year during the summer.

“Just something I wanted to do” “Both my parents were [in the military], grandparents were, aunts, uncles . It’s just what we do,”Smith said.

Once they complete the training they need, the students will be sent into combat in either special operations or infantry. While gaining the experience that many employers look for, soldiers also get to enjoy paid benefits such as college and healthcare.

“If you ever see any interest in this route, it gives you good benefits like I said, it’s gonna help you with health insurance, you’ll get a free education. They’re gonna pay for your college. They have great benefits but you have to work for it, that’s for sure,” senior Evan Vodicka said.

These students will work hard for a long time to ensure citizens continue waking up to the same freedoms that face them each day. The hard work and dedication will provide them benefits for the rest of their lives. These benefits will include respect, training, pay, and paid health and education expenses.