In June of 2013, another class will graduate. After the ceremonies end, these students will enter a new chapter of their lives. For some students, entering the military or a service academy is the right path to help make this transition into adulthood.
At UAHS, few students choose this route. According to data provided by the College Center, the number of students who directly entered the service from UAHS in 2011 was approximately one percent of the graduating class. However, according to a 2011 Dept. of Defense’s report, the military’s rates of recruitment and retention remain high in the country overall. Among the UA students entering the military is senior Jack Warmolts, who will be attending college at the Air Force Academy.
“I’ve been raised in kind of a military family; I had both grandfathers who were in the military,” Warmolts said. “I was recruited to play lacrosse [at the Air Force Academy] and have the opportunity to go to a service academy, which is a great education. I have the opportunity to play lacrosse and serve [my] country after graduation, which is big for me. I really believe in service and giving back.”
Another student with a family history in the military is junior Hank Worster, who has interest in joining the Marines when he graduates. He believes joining the service will help him leave his own mark on posterity and help him in a future political career.
“My father and both my uncles, both grandfathers, [have been] in the military, and [my family goes] back to the 1400s military history, ” Worster said. “I think the Marine Corp goes places no one else goes. I know certain members of my family had [been in] international conflicts that no one else had gone to, like the Philippines in the Spanish American War.”
Beyond national service, entrance into the military offers other benefits for students. According to the Army website, the military offers scholarships for soldiers entering college after the service, as well as job training. Students accepted to military academies receive a free college education, along with health care and access to other military programs after their term of service is finished. For Warmolts, the economic aid is important, and is part of why he plans to join the Air Force in the future.
“It offers a lot of security, you come out of school without debt, you go right to the job and you know what you’re going to be doing,” he said. “You basically serve your five years to pay back. You don’t have to pay tuition, [the Air Force pays] for you throughout school.”
For students planning on entering the military, this year’s presidential election is important. President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney have differing views on the operation and funding of the military in the near future. Obama’s policy, as stated on his webpage, includes disarmament, bringing home American troops from Afghanistan, and strengthening foreign policy and international alliances. According to Fact Check.com, in 2011 Obama announced a $400 billion savings as result of $78 billion in projected cuts to the defense budget- refered to by some as a defense “cut.”
Romney on the other hand believes supporting a strong military is vital, and has stated plans to reverse cuts to the military’s budget, as well as establish projects building new weapons to replace aging ones.
Both Warmolts and Worster support Romney in the race. Warmolts believes Romney’s plans for the military will be more beneficial to the country as a whole compared to Obama’s.
“I don’t really agree with the defense cut that President Obama … intends to do. There’s so much unrest in the world; there’s a possible conflict in Iran,” Warmolts said. “We’re really stretched. With those defense cuts, you’re really overstretching our military. It affects me in a way- it makes it more difficult for me to get into the [Air Force] Academy.”
Though this election means a lot of contention for students aspiring to join the service, Worster said he will continue toward his goal no matter who wins.
“I would be willing to serve whomever’s in office,” Worster said. “I want what’s best for America, not necessarily what will be best for me when I’m in the standing army.”