Making a difference: choosing military after graduation

Courtney Kelley, Staff Writer

After high school graduation, with a student’s new found freedom, they are faced with many new responsibilities. Most students are eighteen years old by the time of their graduation, they are now legal adults in society. A lot of these newly graduated students are now making their preparations for college. They have been accepted, and now they are packing and getting ready. But, a lot of students choose another post-graduation option, the military.

Students choose between the five armed service branches in the United States- the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and the Navy. Most new enlistees choose their branch based on best interest for them, or what will work out best for them and their family.

Senior Andrew Birkby is just one of these thousands upon thousands of new enlistees in the United States. Birkby chose to go into the United States military because of his family’s history with the military, along with a hunger to serve his country. Birkby has always been interested in the profession, ever since he was a child. The marines is his branch of choice.

“[A lot] of my family have been part of the military. My dad was part of the Navy, my aunt and uncle on my dad’s side of the family are part of the Marines, my grandfather and other uncle on my dad’s side were part of the Navy, and my grandfather on my mom’s side was in the Air Force,” Birkby said.

Joining the military comes with many lifelong benefits. Sergeant First Class Joel S. Watts and Sergeant Frank C. Randazzo of the United States Army provided some insight to the many benefits of joining the military, the both of them having years of experience within their respective fields. “The military can help citizens gain life as well as work experience. Also, there is no college debt when you graduate college.” Watts said.

Along with lifelong experience gained, there are many work opportunities within the military.

“There are 150 job options within the Army alone, and the Army’s training counts as their college credit. Actually, it is that way for most of the branches.” Randazzo said.

20 percent of new enlistees are choosing to go into the military based on the education benefits, in just Missouri alone.

According to both Randazzo and Watts, the military provides people with both professional as well as personal growth, and progression is a big key in the process a well.

The benefits for choosing the military as a profession are endless. According to Randazzo, in just the Army alone, the post 9/11 GI bill assistance pays for $45,000 a year for a student’s debt. According to Watts, medical and dental expenses are paid for, enlistees receive free financial classes, and that is just some of the benefits a person can receive while serving. Post retirement, soldiers receive lifelong free medical and dental expenses for them and their spouse, and their child will receive the same benefits up until the age of 23 if they are enrolled in college. According to both Watts and Randazzo, in the Army, Enlistees get to choose their profession, unlike the other branches, and receive 30 days paid vacation per year while serving within the military.

The military has a lot to offer, and many options to choose from. Students who are still deciding on where to go after graduation should consider joining the military.