Every year, possibly even close to daily, high school campuses all around the United States become recruiting hotbeds for sports teams, colleges and universities.
So when I heard that some of my peers were infuriated about the U.S. military coming to “unfairly” solicit high school students during the March 12 spirit week, I began to think: military recruitment and any sort of Navy, Army, Coast Guard, Marines or Air Force presence, is no different from any other program looking for new members. Why is it that those who sacrifice so much for our safety are looked at with contempt when they try and inform Samo students about other opportunities?
According to various soldiers I have spoken to throughout my life, time in the military teaches soldiers discipline and avidly exercises the value of hard-work and the realistic burdens of responsibilities and management. Moreover, the military is a real-world learning ground, whereas sitting in a classroom and learning from a textbook in college often provides less applicable knowledge or experience. Those who are against the arrival of the military for various recruitment opportunities may only see the situation one-sidedly. They wrongfully view everyone in the armed forces as “trained killers.” In truth, the military encompasses so much more than just war. Jobs in the military range from mechanics and pilots to scientists and doctors. In the Army alone, there are about 150 occupations for active duty soldiers with about 120 for their reserve counterparts.
The military provides hands-on experiences where one learns invaluable skills and qualities that can benefit one for a lifetime.
The military is a viable post-high school option that is in the same vein as college, trade schools or diving immediately into the workforce.
Joining the military can also mean that individuals will have their college education fully paid for by the military. Then they can serve as a commissioned officer through the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). The ROTC opens doors in another sense for the soldier who would prefer to go to college and then enlist full time with a higher rank than a standard enrollee.
Samo alum Ben Deese (’11) currently attends the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is enlisted in the Air Force ROTC (AFROTC). According to Deese, he joined the program not only because of his family’s history with the military, but because of the respect he has for the members of the armed forces.
“It allows me to experience what holding responsibility is actually like,” Deese said. “Most of my peers are able to basically do whatever they want; no one’s well-being or grade depends on them at all times. I have to dedicate all my time to getting the job done whether it be my coursework for class, my music for choir or my drills for the Air Force.”
The decision is about joining the military out of high school is ultimately that of the individual. People should be able to recognize the weight of their decisions, and be able to commit to even a notably life altering program like the military, if it is right for them.
The military may not be right for everyone, but it is absurd to deny the armed forces the ability to explain what they do, or to deny students the opportunity to students who seek the information.
For those who are avidly against military recruitment on our campus, please try to recognize that what’s right for you may not be right for someone else. As long as you are living in this country, you should respect those who serve it everyday to protect you, even if you don’t realize it.