Juniors Conrad Schmidt, Wiley Dotzenroth, Aidan Fawcett, and Matt Kaminski work with military programs to gain the experience needed to pursue a career in the armed forces. These programs are offered through the Air Force and the Marines for students ages ten through eighteen. “I am in the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps. Once a month, for a weekend, I go to Fort Snelling and we do drills and train with the Navy and Marines,” said Junior Conrad Schmidt.
There are many areas that may spark interests in young people as well as many ways to get involved. “When I was 13, I started getting interested in aviation, so I looked online and found it and then I called and get involved with the local unit. I am now the lead petty officer of my squadron,” said Schmidt.
A rigorous program offers many opportunities to students so that they are able figure out what they like and don’t like. “When I first joined, we are all required to do ten days of training with the Navy at the Great Lakes Naval base near Chicago. You can join when you are 10 and continue all the way through high school,” said Schmidt.
Diligent training takes place monthly for a full weekend where students have many opportunities to further their skills and interests in the military. “We meet monthly in our local units, and over the summer you can sign up for trainings going on around the country. You can train for combat, aviation, photography, music, basically anything,” said Schmidt. “We basically just train with the military and they teach us, and we develop skills we need to know for the future.”
Being involved takes commitment and time; a student must be willing to devote a serious amount of hours to the program. “We meet once a month all year round for a full weekend, from 8-4 on Saturday and Sunday. “Last weekend (May 20) I went to Camp Ripley where we did field operations and combat scenarios in fake cities,” said Schmidt.
Moving up in rank serves as a reward towards those who show long-term devotion to the program. “Every six months you can move up a rank, we have coursework and we also have to pass a test and we also have to go on trainings,” said Schmidt.
Travelling to other states is also a big part of training for these programs, and there are chances to travel to foreign countries in order to develop a sense of international knowledge relating to the culture and their military. “This summer, I am either going to Hong Kong, the UK, Sweden, or Russia for international training. I want to join the navy as an intelligence officer. I plan on going to college and trying to get an ROTC scholarship and become an officer,” said Schmidt.
Joining military programs has its advantages right out of high school. “If you enlist straight out of high school, you come out of boot camp a rank higher then everybody so you make more money,” said Schmidt.