Call of Duty

Everyone has a call to a certain future. Whatever that call may be, most strive to make the most out of it. They want to make sure that they fulfill each day to the best they can. That is no exception for those whose future is in the military.

Three seniors at this school have decided to take the next step in their lives in the military. Whether they enlist in the military out of high school or attend a military academy, these seniors want to continue to push, work, and grow as an individual and with others.

For many, it is a lifelong decision that they have always desired. “Being in the military is something I’ve always wanted to do for a while,” said senior Michael Reynolds, who is enlisting in the Marine Corps. “In June of 2021, me and my brother were at Bass Pro [Shop], and a Marine recruiter came up to me. He said ‘Have you ever thought about joining the Marines before?’ I said ‘I had given it some thought.’ He gave me his number, and we went from there.

“In September, I’m signing papers at MEPS (Military Entrance Preparatory Station),” said Reynolds. “I got my shipment date, my job posting, and everything else.”

Some people decide very early in their life that they want to join the military. “[The idea of enlisting] started at a very young age for me,” said senior Miguel Fuentevilla, who is enlisting in the Arkansas Air National Guard. “I started looking at the career path I want to do now, which is law enforcement, and I found out most of them were military. So I’ve always had an interest in the military, but it wasn’t until last year that it truly took effect and actually start trying to enlist.”

Besides enlisting, another way to join the military is through a military academy. Senior Cade Altom decided to take this path by applying to the United States Air Force Academy. “My dad first told me to consider applying for an Air Force ROTC scholarship. After doing more research, I decided that I would rather apply to the Air Force Academy. However, I still applied for and received an ROTC scholarship.”

The process of enlisting in the military can be long and arduous. “I enlisted when I was 17,” said Reynolds. “I had to get both parents to sign off on it. After I signed and got their approval with those papers, I went to MEPS, and there you take the ASVAB (Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery) which is the equivalent of an IQ test. The next day, you go through a lot of medical procedures.”

The process to get into a military academy is more stressful. “You start by submitting a pre-candidate questionnaire, where you give some information and they basically tell you if it’s worth your time to apply,” said Altom. “I did that in March of 2021, the day that it opened. They gave me ‘candidate’ status the next day, but I couldn’t continue applying until July 1 when the remainder of the application opened. It was unlike any other application I filled out. It was more rigorous, which I think benefited me because I then had the ability to really express the kind of person I am.

“On top of that,” said Altom. “I had to pass a fitness test, go through the process of applying for and receiving a Congressional nomination, and go to scheduled medical appointments. The medical aspect was the worst part: everyone has to go to two examinations, medical and eyesight, but I had to go through the waiver process due to a past injury and medicine I was taking. I think I went to a total of five examinations before receiving my waiver.”

The most important thing to do if one is deciding whether or not to enlist in the military is to educate oneself about it and decided if it is a serious possibility. “Do some research and see what it’s going to be like,” said Fuentevilla. “Know what [military] branch you want to do because every branch is going to be different on their expectations. Just know what you are getting into.”

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