Monday, June 13, 2011

the choice to serve

Having a child make the decision to serve their country 
can really make a parent think. 

While many people regard the choice to enlist in military service
as a fall back for young people that have few options, 
nothing is further from the truth. Today's Navy is over-manned-
due to downsizing and the current economic climate in our country.
Most recruits (after passing extensive testing) will encounter a long
wait until their field has an opening. 

My son enlisted in November, graduated last month
and departs in August. He qualified for one of the few under-manned 
rates- nuclear field (only about 3% of the Navy). 
It is not easy to enlist and even before recruits leave for 
boot camp they begin learning the Navy way. My son is
in the Navy's Delayed Entry Program (DEP) and attends
meetings and is in regular, close contact with his recruiters. 
He is expected to learn material, practice drills and keep his 
nose clean until his departure. 

Young people who choose to enter military service and 
are able to qualify are privileged to serve and we, 
as US citizens,are also privileged to have them
 looking after us in a dangerous, complex world. 

The next time you hear of a young person making this commitment,
don't assume they had no other options. 
Instead, understand that they are embarking on a noble,
challenging endeavor to benefit not only themselves,
but also the greater good of our nation and the world.
Know that they are among a select group of young men 
and women that qualify and choose to live an uncommon life
of self- sacrifice and courage.

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