by David Kent | staff writer
Ever since he was in the fifth grade, senior Wade Largent has wanted to join ROTC, and this year makes his fourth and final year in the military program. Since joining ROTC at the start of his freshman year, Largent has developed an interest in joining the military.
“I thought it, [ROTC], would be a really fun experience to actually go in and meet new people, and I’ve actually like got connected with a bunch of friends. They’re [in ROTC] and [we have] kind of created our own family,” Largent said. “I’ve had a lot of like military family and so they’ve been kind of telling me about what it’s like and I’ve always wanted that experience. So [when] I found out high school had ROTC [I wanted to try it out.]”
As a result of being in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, Largent wants to pursue a future career in the military when out of high school.
“I’m going to the Navy. I actually had multiple options to go [into the military]. Three of my uncles [were in the military], [and] I would talk to them,” Largent said. “One of them is actually Navy so I talked to him about it and he just said ‘Pick what you want to pick, [and] choose something and stick with it.’ So, [the] Navy just kind of stuck to me.”
Largent didn’t have a choice in what he does in the Navy, instead, a specified position was assigned to him within the Navy.
“[I’m going to be an] Aviation Ordnanceman, so that just basically works with bombs and stuff. I load uh, I would load a bunch of ammunition onto aircraft,” Largent said.
Largent enlisted over the summer during the month of July
“I’m in the deferred program, so it kind of like…while I’m in high school I can still be in high school and be in the Navy at the same time, just not on active duty. After high school, I go straight to basic training,” Largent said. “It’s a little bit more responsibility to take care of myself cause it just shows that, like, even the smallest thing can screw you up, health-wise or physically, like you’re more responsible for what you do.”
Going into bootcamp is an experience that can make anyone nervous, and Largent is no exception to feeling nervous about going to bootcamp.
“I feel like at first it would be kind of difficult, and kind of scarce a little bit…like just not knowing what to do there,” Largent said. “But, as soon as you get there and start getting into the flow, I feel like it would be a lot easier to go through things.”
Largent will report in June 25 of next year.
I’m going to be going to [the] Great Lakes in Chicago […] I’ve actually wanted to go and travel the world,” Largent said. “That’s been one of the things I’ve wanted to do and that’s also been like one of the reasons I’ve wanted to join the military; to go around and see places, especially the Navy, because you have more opportunities to go around and see things and to see different places.”
Despite their being a large amount of students who join ROTC, not as many enlist in the army.
“So there are about one-hundred and fifty [students in ROTC],” Sergeant Major Richard Sizer said. “For seniors there are about fifty of them and their are about five to eight who enlist into the military [roughly every year.]”
For students who need to enlist while they’re in high school, they only need to get in contact with their ROTC teachers.
“Well we have certain recruiters that are assigned to Johnson High School and normally what we would do is put those guys [who want to join the military] in contact with those recruiters,” Sizer said “Sometimes, recruiters will come and set up in the cafeteria and they will kind of arrange and coordinate for those guys to do whatever administrative paperwork or whatever they need to do in terms of enlisting.”
Enlisting into the military is a lifetime commitment that will affect a person’s life, which makes it vital to choose a profession that someone are interested in when out of the military.
“So whatever job they, [the students], pick in the military [they] need to make sure that it is something that they may be interested in doing when they get out of the military. So whether they’re going to do three years or twenty years, try to find a job that you’re going to enjoy while you’re in the military that you’re going to do when you get out. So that whatever they train you for, give you experience for, you can use once you get out of the military.” Sizer said.