Military Matters: Appreciating the People Who Serve
December 10, 2018
As many seniors are filling out their college applications, seniors Allan Bramhill, Tony Massliga and James Schultz are preparing for a very different future, one in the the United States Military. Although a distinct path compared to many of their peers, all three seniors are passionate and excited about the duties awaiting them.
Allan Bramhill, Army
What does the process of enlisting look like?
“It’s kinda similar to college applications. You need character references, you need to fill out a lot of paperwork about your history, physically and mentally and whatever else you do like what jobs you’ve had. Then you go to a processing station and they physically examine you, and you have to take a test that’s kind of like the SATs, it works for college too, it’s called the ASVAB [Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery]. There’re different sections but they’re more focused on what you can do. If you do good in one section you’d be a good engineer, and if you do good in another, you’d be a good pilot. It’s like a life test.”
What does your future look like?
“I have no idea how long I’ll be in there. Right now, I’m obligated by contract for three years. During that time, I do want to go to college online. Ideally, I want a degree in history and a Master’s in teaching, so whenever I get out, I want to be a high school teacher. The only thing I don’t know is how long I’ll be there.”
Do you feel as though the school doesn’t publicize enlisting enough?
“Absolutely; I feel like I’ve sat through so many guidance meetings. If the guidance counselors mentioned anything, it would be at the end of the power point, they’ll mention you can do other things like trade school or military. You can join the reserves and not be doing anything dangerous and go to college for free. Not a lot of kids know that. You just go to training, but you still go to college. You just go to the 10 week training and then go to training one weekend a month to make sure you are still physically able. Then if something breaks out where the country needs people, you’d be the first to go after the active duty.”
Tony Massaliga, Army
What did the enlisting process look like for you?
“I knew Allan [Bramhill] was enlisting before I was, and I asked for his recruiter’s number. I texted the recruiter, and he made me take something called the AFQT [Armed Forces Qualifications Test] to see if I even qualified. I qualified, so I went to his office in Worcester and he gave me a date to go to MEPS [Military Exclusionary Process Station], which is basically a big physical saying whether or not I can go. Then I took the ASVAB test which determines what job you get to pick. The Army has the most jobs in all the branches, which was another driving factor.”
What will you be doing once you are in the army?
“I scored very well on the ASVAB so every job in the military was open for me, but I decided to go with my gut, and I picked infantry, which is something I always wanted to do. Infantry is the main fighting force of the army. I was very torn between a behavioral health specialist, which deals with post traumatic stress or going infantry style, which is the fighting force on the ground. I went to MEPS, swore in, and said the oath, and that’s that.”
What does your future look like?
“I swore in, so I’m going straight into the military right after high school. The goal is to do a full career in the military, which is 20 years, but you always have to have a fail safe. I will go to college right after the Army if that’s something I decide to do. If not, I’ll work with my dad in the trade, electricity.”
What went into your decision of joining the military?
“A lot of it came from the history and my family’s history. They fought in World War I and World War II. My grandfather went to the Army, and my great grandfather was also in the Army. It kinda runs in the blood. It’s something I’ve always considered since I was a kid.”
James Schultz, Coast Guard
What went into your decision of enlisting?
“Honestly, I would base it off the fact that Tony was joining. He always told me he wanted to do it, and so one day I was like, ‘Tony, can I get in touch with your recruiter? I don’t think college is for me and I’d like to see if I can do anything else other than four more years of school.’ So I got in touch with his recruiter, and talked to an Air Force recruiter, Coast Guard recruiter, and an Army recruiter, and I decided to go to the Coast Guard.”
What will you be doing in the military?
“I would like to to qualify for Maritime Enforcement specialist [on the ASVAB]. Basically, it’s a cop on water; you enforce federal law. That’s why I picked the Coast Guard, because I want to be a Massachusetts State Police Officer afterwards. Every other branch follows a different set of laws; the Coast Guard enforces federal law, so that’s what I’d be doing as a cop anyways. After I get qualified, if everything goes well, I have two years of leniency to pick my shipment date. I am planning to leave around this time next year. So probably in a year I will be leaving for basic training boot camp.”
Do you ever feel isolated as one of the few people joining the Armed Forces instead of college?
“Honestly, I do feel isolated a bit. At this school, they don’t really give an option. They really push college, with all the college workshops. It’s very college driven. They don’t have an ROTC [Reserve Officers’ Training Corps] program, and they don’t have recruiters… But I think it’s awesome that I have those three guys [also joining the military].