Students make military a career -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Students make military a career

March 30, 2006

Sylvester -- Polls show support for the war in Iraq is at an all-time low. That makes the job of military recruiters more difficult. They struggled to meet goals last year, but recruitment numbers are now on the way back up. 

While some students in high school or college are reluctant to sign on to the military, a bigger enlistment bonus has helped many young people make that decision. But for some high school seniors at Worth County High School, extra money or not, they say it's their time to give back and serve their country proudly.

The junior ROTC students from Worth County High School march on to a different beat than many of their peers.

"Some people's fun is going out drinking, smoking, or I want to skip class. That's not fun though. You have to say no to those things, and that's how you be a role model," said high school senior Casey Smith.

A select few, like Casey Smith get scholarships, and rise to the top of the program. Serving as a role model to others... and one day serving their country in active duty.

Despite all the recruitment information like pamphlets in the junior ROTC office many students say they already know they want to serve their country, before even looking through this information.

"I think I was around 14, 15 when I sat down and said I really want to go into the service. Because I have relatives, uncles, and they're already in it and they're very successful," said high school senior Keinotay Fulton.

War veteran Major Russell Beard instructs the junior ROTC students, and says the program helps solidify the decisions of students wanting to serve.

"Being in our program allows them to look and see what the military is like, the different aspects whether it be the army, navy, air force, marines, coast guard. But it allows them to make informed choices on what career they choose down the road," said JROTC instructor Major Russell Beard.

Be it war-time or not, Elizabeth Pham takes pride in her country and upholding the freedom it has.

"I'm really happy about the fact that I get a free education, and in the end all I have to do to pay back is serving my country," said high school senior Elizabeth Pham.

Students who choose military service may face the dangers of war, but they are ready to stand up for their country. 

Smith, Fulton, and Pham all have college scholarships to continue their journey on serving in the U-S military. They have all watched the Iraq war unfold and say it hasn't swayed their desire to serve.

Trends in the southeast region have shown recruiting success. Enlistment bonuses have doubled to $40,000 for some jobs.