Students anticipate serving country after enlisting


Contributed by Ben Miller

Senior Ben Miller formally enlisted on May 15, 2017. He decided to join the military to help ensure a desirable future and for an adventure.

The cost of a college education can range from a just a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. To some, it is just enough to discourage them from furthering their education after high school. However, senior Ben Miller found a suitable way for him to make college more affordable.

With a growing passion for the country and a hope for a college degree, Miller decided to enlist to help ensure a desirable road ahead.

“I saw it as an opportunity to set me up for the future,” Miller said. “…(I) saw it as an opportunity to set my family and future spouse up for success.”

Miller and 11 other seniors have chosen the path of enlistment to serve the country after high school. Some are unsure of their future education, but they all share one passion — their love for the country.

Army Recruiter Sergeant Charlie Brown says people enlist for a variety reasons including college benefits, adventurous traveling and patriotism.

Jake Hemphill is another senior who has chosen to enlist. He says that, growing up, he always looked up to his grandfather who served during the Vietnam War. This motivated him to follow his footsteps and enlist with the Marines. Hemphill was also motivated by patriotism, as he says he is looking forward to serving the country.

Like Hemphill, senior Scott Rippy was also motivated to join because of patriotism.

“America’s the greatest country, and I want to keep it that way,” Rippy said. “I want to protect all of my family and friends.”

He says the opportunities that one possesses when enlisting are plentiful. Soldiers are not limited to only one job. In some cases, he or she can choose what job he or she wants, such as a photographer or nurse.

Miller says that he scored high on his entry level exam, which not only gave him the ability to pick what job he wants in the Army, but also a signing bonus.

“If I wanted, after my initial 4 years, I could resign, or I could get out and attend college for free on the GI Bill, (a bill that helps soldiers cover the costs of an

education),” Miller said.

Brown also says that there are educational benefits, traveling benefits and discounts for just being in service. These benefits are not only limited to the serviceman, but also their immediate family.

“Locally, you get discounts for places where you eat,” Brown said. “(For) travel expenses, there’s different types of rates that you can get. You can get military and government rates. (They’re) really discounted rates. I’m talking airplane, bus, train, all that good stuff.”

Miller plans on strategically using these benefits to aide in his future.

“There are no bills while I’m in,” Miller said. “Housing is free and so is food. I’m planning to save as much as I can, (so) when I get out, I’ll have a little bit of money set up for my family.”

Ideally, Miller wants to attend college to become an eighth grade social studies teacher, but he says that a lot can change from now.To prepare, Miller is staying physically fit and taking in every moment he can with his loved ones. Miller says that the hardest thing about leaving is leaving his girlfriend.

“When I first went in, I wasn’t expecting that because I had no one really that I was going to miss very much,” Miller said. “I was looking forward to it, then I got a girlfriend. That’s going to be the hardest part — missing her.”

Miller is confident they will beat the distance. He says that today’s technology will help them and no matter what, they will not stop supporting each other.

He says that enlisting in the army was not an easy decision. He says if one is interested in enlisting, they shouldn’t make an impulse decision.

While missing his girlfriend is a drawback, Miller says that the dangers he may face are one of the things that go unsaid. The dangers of joining the military does not really worry him. He says he will do what he has to do.

“I’ll have people that have my back, and I will have their back,” Miller said. “You just go and do what you have to do.”

Despite the dangers and drawbacks, Miller says that enlisting is worth it. He says it is an honor to be able to serve, because not everyone can. According to Brown, only 29 percent of the population is qualified to serve.

Miller says that whatever one’s path after high school is, it is important to follow their gut.

“Do what makes you happy and (what) feels right for you,” Miller said. “I believe that everything will work out how its supposed to in the end.”