Serveral Students Plege To Serve Their Country


Samantha Timanus, Journalist

Less than one percent of the U.S. population is or has been enlisted in the military, but at Gregory High School, five of the 90 students have enlisted in the National Guard. Seniors Megan Warnke, Caleb Stukel, Jeremiah (JJ) Beck, and Tyler Murray as well as junior Aaron Sundquist  have all enlisted.

Tyler Murray joined the guard in the summer of his junior year. He signed up not only for the college benefits, but also to give back to his community. Megan Warnke joined eight months ago, Caleb Stukel joined last year, and Aaron Sundquist and JJ Beck joined a few months ago. They have each signed contracts to attend guard one weekend every month and three weeks in the summer for the next six years. Once they graduate high school, they will be deployable, meaning there’s a chance they will be sent overseas for an extended period.

In return for their drill time and hard work, the members will receive 50% off their college tuition (83% off for a tech school) and $200 a month. During their post high-school education, they will attend school normally, travelling to drill once a month for their required weekend.

To participate in the National Guard, you must complete a set of required physical tests including 54 pushups, 54 sit-ups, and running two miles in 17:54. The requirements have not been too challenging for the Gregory drill members, as all of them participate and excel in high school sports.

Some of the best parts of drill are the people they meet and the memories they make. Aaron Sundquist enjoys Saturday Afternoon Chow, when they’re served homemade food instead of MREs (meals ready to eat). The worse part of drill is making your bed. Many of the students do not sleep under the covers for fear that they will mess up the bedding.

All of the students will also be attending basic training this summer. Basic training is an extensive nine-week stay at drill, where you must complete extreme physical challenges on little sleep and food. The members are not particularly looking forward to it, but know it is something they must do and are ready to go through it.

None of the students has decided if he/she wants to continue to be in the guard after his/her six-year contract has expired. They all agree that young people interested in joining the guard should seriously think their decision through before they sign up.

“Get all the information you can and talk to all the people you can before you sign up. Once you’re in, you can’t get out,” Aaron Sundquist said.