Military path requires commitment, offers many benefits

Less common choice can bring increased opportunities

by Lilly Fox, Staff Reporter

Joining the military isn’t an option many seniors consider but comes with its own set of benefits. 

While it may not be the best choice for everyone, some details might have you rethinking your prior reservations. 

Senior Piper VonGunten plans to attend Arizona State University with a major in criminology. Along with attending university VonGunten has weighed the decision to join ROTC. 

“Majoring in criminology and having a military service can open a lot of doors,” she said. Joining the military can help give VonGunten an inside look into why people commit crimes and give her a head start on the training she’ll need. 

Many seniors are being faced with the crushing weight of college tuition and most don’t have scholarships. Veteran Heather Fox joined the army to help her pay for her college education. ”I got a total of $25,000 and that was a total of the GI bill and the college fund,” she said. Fox served in the army for three years starting basic training just seven days after her high school graduation. The minimum service requirement for the GI bill benefits is only 90 days of continuous service, but the longer you stay the more benefits you’re eligible for.

The military also has a wide range of job opportunities to choose from. Fox and VonGunten both have interest in very different parts of the military. Fox worked as a Korean linguist and intelligence analyst and VonGunten hopes to become a pilot in the Air Force. 

There is also the option to make a career out of the military. “If you do ROTC you start as a captain in the military and that puts you in a really good spot,” VonGunten said. After joining ROTC you are required to serve in the military for six years but the starting rank makes joining worthwhile. On the other side of the spectrum Fox decided against making the army her career.  “I considered it briefly, but ultimately I decided that the military wasn’t a right fit for me because I’m too much of a free thinker and they didn’t really like that trait,” Fox said. 

One thing to consider when thinking about enlisting in the military, especially women, is how dangerous it can be. “There are so many men compared to the amount of women. Most of the time women aren’t respected or they are belittled and all of those things happened to me as well,” Fox said. Being a woman in any male-dominated field can be scary but looking at the statistics for the military can be bone chilling.

And of course there is the worry of being sent off to war. When joining the military it’s important to know that even if you join just to work at a desk, going to war is a very real possibility. “I knew [fighting] was a possibility and right after I joined, the Gulf war started and that was a very real possibility for me. I was ready to fight if they needed me to,” Fox said. 

Whatever path you choose for your future is the best path for you, but if any part of the military process interests you, you might have another path to choose from.