The front porch was an ideal gathering place to sit and quietly listen to the telling of memories – amazing, almost unbelievable stories of the days when Grandpa or Daddy was in uniform. To a boy or a girl, the idea of living in a tent, having great adventures in faraway countries with good buddies appeared grand.
The pledge of honor is a calling, a sincere desire to help those in need and protect the idea of our country’s freedom. For many of today’s active military and veterans, the path to enlistment led to opportunities.
For each person, the decision is personal. Joining stemmed from perhaps a passion for military history, airplanes or flying, a family influence, the desire to learn a skill or pursue an educational degree. “I knew from a pretty young age I was going to join the military,” writes MSgt. Christy Brown, USNG RET.“Both of my grandfathers were military and one of my uncles. All were Army or North Carolina National Guard, NCNG. I enlisted in the guard because I still had a service requirement after active duty. At the time I was working in network surveillance, and going to school to become a paralegal. After 9/11, my reenlistment came up, and I had a real wakeup call. My reenlistment had a stronger meaning. It was about patriotism and service to my country.”
Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery
While colleges require entrance from the scores of an SAT or ACT examination, the military has a multi-aptitude test called the ASVAB, comprising arithmetic reasoning and mathematics knowledge, world knowledge, and paragraph comprehension. The score determines the degree of qualification for particular military occupational specialties, and potentially, for an exceptionally high score, an enlistment incentive.
“Basic training is the first introduction of military life, expectation, thinking, and routine,” says MSgt. Kevin Doss, USNG RET. “Based on the ASVAB score, recruits may be able to choose their path and skill. Keep in mind, the needs of a base determine what field, job, and rank it will accept. A ‘dream sheet’ may list your wishes, but orders may take you someplace unexpected.”
Up, Up and Away!
The term “deployment” often is connected to a combat zone. Beyond times of war, our troops are essential for routine and humanitarian missions, training, and establishing and visiting bases in what a unit considers its home. The “call” also may be directed to a state or community suffering from flooding, fire, or power outages.
Serving can lead to the opening of unimaginable doors, perhaps, to international living and experiencing a unique culture, a state’s National Guard Unit, a career, and friends located around the world. These are the reasons active members reenlist, and veterans remember and retell the stories of events and the many people who influenced their lives. With rank comes privileges.
If someone you know, or you yourself, are seeking to enlist, potential service members must fulfill entrance requirements. Each branch has a list of expectations including health, weight, and an excellent physical condition to pass a standard screening. Before scheduling an appointment to talk to a recruiter, seek out an active member of the military or a veteran as a vital source of information. Great advice comes from personal experience; therefore, allow hours for the exchange. Expect to hear stories and a matter of fact sentiment paraphrased as, “Enlist. Go and do something greater than yourself. Live beyond your backyard. See the world and meet people. It may end up to be the best decision of your life!”