A soaring ambition


Every summer, I try to visit my grandparents in Fayetteville, North Carolina. They live near Fort Bragg, an Army base. Last summer, we went to the military museum on base, which sparked my interest in joining the military. I’d never viewed it as a viable option before, because I never saw myself as the type of person who would fit in a military environment.

Being a part of the military is a great decision. Countless people have reaped the benefits of a military career. Joining opens access to funds for college, valuable skills, and pride in serving your country. I think everyone should at least consider this path because it’s a vital part of the fabric of American society. Giving up a small part of your life and freedoms will be well worth it, because in exchange you’ll be getting immeasurable experience and advantages to propel you to the front of the pack when applying to college or looking for a job.

I realized it was a great option for me so I presented the idea to my parents, unsure of what to expect. They were shocked and didn’t ever expect for me to consider this with my small stature and size, but they were very supportive. We discussed all the branches and which one might be a good fit for me, and we decided the Air Force was it.

After meeting and speaking at length with the Indianapolis recruiter, Sergeant Kendrick, in May of last year, I felt confident that this was the right decision for me. I won’t ramble on and on about the process, so fast forward to the first day of my senior year, after mountains of paperwork and medical tests, I’m about 75 percent on my way to being enlisted in the Air Force.

Having an idea of what you want to do when you graduate can help you really focus on your last year. The military is a great option for anyone and I highly encourage you to look into it even if you know you’re not interested in the military.

The reason I still choose to go through this process though is because I know it will benefit me in the future. Hopefully, I can get training that will benefit me later in life and I can have more opportunities opened up to me.

The military offers training, good pay and travel opportunities. My grandpa is a Marine veteran, having served in Vietnam, and we’ve been talking a lot more about his service now that I’ve expressed my interests in it. I asked him why he chose to join the Marines out of all the branches, and he said that he wanted to see if he could do it, if he was able to fight with the toughest of the American military.

That’s my main reason, to see if I can even do it. Bootcamp, tech school, possibly deployment, all of it. In my family, no woman has ever joined the armed forces, much less the Air Force, so that will make me a first on two counts if I am able to enlist.

After the Department of Defense opened all combat jobs to women in 2016, there’s more opportunity than ever for women to serve in much needed positions. According to the New York Times, allowance of women in all jobs means 220,000 positions are now available for an increasing amount of servicewomen.

This career and life path isn’t for everyone. Most high school graduates aren’t fully informed about the opportunities the armed forces provides, or are too intimidated to join. I encourage you to look past this though, and to do some research before ruling it out for yourself.

According to the website Chron, at the lowest enlisted rank, the salary is a little more than $18,000 a year. Contrast that amount with how much someone working for $7.25 an hour (the federal minimum wage) makes in a year, which is just over $15,000 a year. Add the unbeatable training and educational assistance and you can see why so many people consider joining the military each year.

There are many benefits to joining the military including patriotism, a guaranteed job, full medical benefits, and a sense of purpose. If you want to find out more information about the military and how to join, just contact your local recruiter for whatever branch you’re interested in. It’s not for everyone, but if you decide to do it, I am sure you won’t regret it.