Military is an option for many graduates

While some people are swimming and camping at the lake and enjoying their summer, many of the juniors and seniors will be headed to basic training, where they will be trained to be active soldiers for the next eight years.

Junior and senior years are generally pretty important. It’s during these two years that people must begin thinking about college, careers and the future in general. One of the options when students turn 17, usually during their junior year, is the military.

The Marines, National Guard, Army, Air Force and Navy are all branches of the military. Although the requirements and restrictions for joining any branch are pretty strict, there are some good benefits that come with serving one’s country.

“At the age of 17, I have life insurance for myself,” junior Garrett Haun, a member of the National Guard, said. “I can also receive health insurance and car insurance for a fraction of the price, which is always great.”

Joining the military also comes with major benefits when it comes to college. The National Guard will pay for 100 percent of any college in the United States, along with a generous amount for books and other necessities for classes, room and board and a monthly allowance that increases every year through senior year. Each branch’s benefits are different, but they all offer options for college.

As summer approaches the students who swore in last year and this year will either be headed to basic training, which lasts about 10 weeks, sometimes more, or AIT (advanced individual training), which fluctuates depending on which specific job they are being trained for.

“I leave July 20. And I’m anxious, yet I’m also hesitant about it. This will be something I’ve never experienced before, and I’ll be gone for 14 weeks,” senior Bobby Truitt, another member of the National Guard, said. “It’s definitely going to be a wake up call, but I’m confident I can handle it.”

Although it’s going to be hard, both Truitt and Haun are excited to begin fulfilling childhood dreams.

“I joined because being a soldier is something that’s always stood out to me,” Huan said. “I may be small and I may not be the fastest out there, but in the military I learn how to utilize my size and my strengths in order to perform against my weaknesses.”

Truitt explained that he has always been fascinated by the military and grew up wanting to be a soldier.

He also added that, even with all the difficulties that come with joining something so demanding of both time and life in general, he’s still happy to be serving his country in any way possible.

“It isn’t supposed to be easy,” Truitt said. “If it were easy, then everyone would join.”