May 08, 2006

New Recruits

Duty and tuition draw US military recruits>

Coast Guard recruit Joshua Gonzalez, a Miami native nearing his 18th birthday, said he joined the military in part because his career options seemed limited.

"Jobs are hard to find in Miami, I can't pay for college."

Gonzalez was one of 144 recruits sworn into the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force or Coast Guard during a ceremony in a sweltering hangar at the Opa-locka Airport near Miami last week.

Gonzalez said he chose the Coast Guard in part because he wanted to defend his homeland, from its own shores.

His mother, Linda Murray, watched the ceremony proudly from a row of folding chairs and tried not to dwell on the chance her son could be assigned to a ship on Iraq war duty in the Middle East.

"I think it's a good thing, an honorable thing. It's his duty," Murray said. "It's a big contribution. Then if they don't come back, it's a sacrifice. You kind of tuck that deep down. ... You've got to have some faith."

[...] Rene Carbonell said he joined the Army and asked for an infantry assignment because he wants to be on the front lines.

"I wanted to be right there where everything is. I'm ready to go," said Carbonell, 18. "I want to serve my country. I think that's what most people want to do when they join the military."

[...] Quasan Browne, an 18-year-old Air Force recruit, said he joined because, "Someone has to do it."

"We've got to protect our families. War is not a problem, as long as we can keep everyone at home safe."

Browne wants to work in the Air Force Intelligence Service and likes the idea of launching into a career now rather than spending years in college and then starting a job hunt.

"They're going to give me college credits while I get the experience. ... I'm going to get my life started sooner," he said.

"I know there's a risk. You've got to take a chance," Browne said.

Joshua Vakili, a 20-year-old Marine recruit with his hair shaved into a mohawk, said it might be "a bad time to join," but that he wanted to do something that would push him hard.

"I always wanted to do something very tough," said Vakili, who hopes to join a Special Forces reconnaissance unit, serve 20 years in the military and then join the CIA or FBI.

"It doesn't bother me that much that a war's going on. It scares me sometimes but I'm not too worried," Vakili said.

God bless these young men and women for their courage, determination, and patriotism.

Posted by Kyer at May 8, 2006 11:42 AM | TrackBack