Entering the military
La Porte High School is set on helping all students become college and career ready. Besides the AP courses and internships, Slicer students have the ability to look into their interest in the military.
When considering joining the U.S. Military, the first step is to talk to a recruiter to discuss options. At least once a week, someone from one of the branches of the military sits outside the LPHS cafeteria during all the lunches, ready answer students’ questions about enlisting or the military in general.
“The first step in joining is meeting with a recruiter to make sure you are physically and morally qualified. If so, then you’d be scheduled to go take the ASVAB test,” Sergeant Sandilla, U.S Army recruiter, said.
According to the U.S Army, The Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a multiple choice test that helps recognize what military jobs would be best suited for individuals and their abilities. The test covers common science, reasoning, word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, numerical operations, coding speed, auto and shop information, mathematics knowledge, mechanical comprehension, and electronics information.
The benefits of joining the military are bi-monthly paychecks, health insurance, dental insurance, paid housing and food, education benefits for college, life insurance policy, a clothing allowance for the job uniforms, and, of course, fighting for the country.
Another reward of joining is the chance to see the world. A person can travel almost anywhere and not have to pay thousands of dollars to visit when you are stationed there.
“The Army stationed me in Italy for two years, and I was lucky enough to see almost every country in Europe,” Sandilla said.
Before enlisting, a person should explore what branch of the military is best for them. If unsure of which branch, it is a good idea to sit down with recruiters from each branch to see which is better suited towards individual goals. At the age of 1,7 a person can enlist in the military with parental consent.
“You can actually join the active duty Army toward the end of your junior year and will not ship to basic training until the completion of your senior year,” Sandilla said.
When the decision is made to enlist, it is better to join earlier in the year than later. This way there is a better selection of jobs and bonuses.
“As of right now the Active Army is offering a cash bonus to all high school seniors up to $6,000. Every month you wait to join that goes down $500,” Sandilla said.
Once enlisted in the military, one needs to prepare for basic training. It is recommended to get in the routine of waking up early and exercising at least four times a week. In high school, it is a good idea to take weights and conditioning class during the last semester of senior year.
“I’ve taken the ASVAB, done the PST, go to the gym all the time, talk to recruiters, and looked at all the jobs to prepare for the Marines,” Jackson Neal, senior said.
Basic training is something that many people are scared of when it comes to enlisting in the military. Basic training lasts between 8-12 weeks, depending on what branch people are in. By the end of basic training, a person will be physically and mentally stronger than when they arrived.
“At basic training/boot camp expect to be taken out of your comfort zone. The drill sergeants and instructors will help push you past your limits so you can see what your body and mind are really capable of,” Sandilla said.
Everyone joins the military for different reasons and in different circumstances. Some join for strictly the educational benefits or the pay, but the vast majority of people join for strictly the service.
“I want to join the military because it runs deep in my family. I grew up in a military family and all my cousins and relatives, all the people I have looked up to, have been in the Marines. So I want to do my part,” Neal said.
On Tuesday, September 19th from 5:30-7:30, there is a service academy night at the Harris Branch Public Library in Granger, Indiana, to learn about the U.S service academies and to get details on the application process.