With the U.S. death toll in Iraq topping 1,600 and rising and popular support for the war on the wane, some may wonder why a high school senior would choose to enter the armed services in these uncertain times.
The Handle Extra staff interviewed seniors from seven of Kootenai County’s high school programs who plan to enter the military and found that their reasons for signing up vary. Read their stories inside this special graduation issue.
For some, such as Lakeland High’s Lance Carr, it’s out of a sense of patriotic duty and the chance to make a difference.
“I see what’s going on over there (Iraq), and it makes me want to go there even more,” says Carr, who wants to be a Marine Corps officer. “I think I can do something over there.”
For Timberlake’s Thomas Broughton, it’s “to serve and protect my country and to help people.”
He plans to join the Coast Guard, become a high-ranking officer and play a part to “hash out our differences in the world for peace.”
For others, such as Lake City’s Savanna Forbush, joining the Air Force offers an opportunity to pay for all of her college education and to get a start on a good career. She wants to study “space and missiles” and calculates her career choice will find her stationed stateside rather than in some Mideast hot spot.
The chance for college is the thing, says William Gradeless, of Project CDA, who hopes to pursue a career in biomedical engineering. He says his friends think he’s nuts for joining the service in the midst of a war, but they haven’t figured it out.
“I chose the Air Force because it’s a safer service,” he says. “If I’m already in the service I can’t be drafted into the Army and the Marines.”
Coeur d’Alene High’s Nick Wilson plans to take his career choice with the Air Force into outer space, with hopes of one day working on satellites, space stations and other military hardware floating above Earth.
He wants to be a career soldier, following his grandfather into the Air Force.
For others still, joining the military offers a chance to live a life of high ideals and integrity.
“My dad has always stressed respect for the American flag and what it stands for,” says Aaron Willeford, a Post Falls High senior who plans to join the Navy.
“Our country needs dedicated people to defend our freedom.”
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