Grant Patterson | Clubs Editor
Patriots, soldiers, heroes. These words are used to describe the fearless young men and women who go into the military in service of our country. While many shy away, a few strong, brave people stand up, and some of them currently walk through our halls. Several seniors will be going into military training this summer, and have decided to protect our country for the rest of their military career.
One of those who plans on enlisting, Dakota Stoughton, will go directly into the Marines after graduating.
“It’s something that I’ve always really wanted to do,” Stoughton said. “School never really worked out for me well, and I grew up around my friend’s family wh
ich was a big military family. So it just kinda went from there.”
There are several ways to join the military. Ryan Alt, a senior, will be joining a Reserve Officer Training Corps program, which trains college students to become military officers.
“Hopefully for just a year and then I hope to transfer to the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York,” Alt said. “That is the ultimate goal, if not then I still have a full ride to IU so I will just continue my education there. I’m probably going to focus on international studies because I know our military really needs people who can speak the languages, know the culture.”
Alt attributes his decision to enroll to the influence his grandfather had on him.
“Well it started back when I was four, I would listen to [his] stories,” Alt said. “He was in World War II. He was a naval officer, and he served in the Pacific. He had the most awesome stories, a lot of them were sometimes sad, but some of them were really neat.”
Unlike Alt, Stoughton’s family had little impact on his decision.
“[My family] supported me through it, but they didn’t have a direct impact on it. They were just very supportive of what I wanted to do,” Stoughton said.
Stoughton leaves for basic training on September 4, while the others will join their schools next year.
“I am nervous. It’s a big life decision, but at the same time, I know it is something I want to do. So I’m just putting one foot in front of the other,” Stoughton said.
Alt is also nervous about when he goes out into the field.
“The thoughts of me getting actually deployed are a little nerve-racking,” Alt said. “You’re going out and there is a chance that you won’t come back. But that’s part of the job. But I would look at it like this is a great honor because I am serving my country.”
These are only two of the many heroes that are joining the military in the senior class. As their high school career comes to an end, a new chapter of their lives defending the land of the free, and the home of the brave will begin.