Once high school graduation has come and gone, many graduates are faced with this question: “What do I do now?” While some young men and women apply for and are accepted to colleges and universities early on, others decide to enter the job force directly. Furthermore, some young people heed the call to service and enlist in one of the five branches of the military. Occasionally, those who directly entered the job force or matriculated to college consider and accept enlistment later in life.
Whenever the decision to serve is made, it is not one that is taken lightly.
Typically, after enlisting in a branch of service, those waiting to ship off to training are placed into a “Delayed Entry Program” in which they learn the ins and outs of the service they are joining: they rigorously train with their recruiters to enhance their physical abilities and they take classes to familiarize themselves with the finer points of their selected branch and military life in general. Classes and training are often given once a week at the respective recruiting offices and, thus, recruiters spend a lot of time getting to know the future of their forces. The minimum age to enlist in the military is 17 and once students are considered to be in their senior year of school, they are eligible to join, meaning enlistees could potentially be in these “Delayed Entry Programs” for the duration of their senior year of school.
One thing most military members will tell you is that it is a brotherhood. Upon first introductions to other service members, most will feel an instant bond with each other predicated on the sole fact that they are members of the uniformed services. That same bond can be, and often is, formed between Recruiters and the people they have enlisted; they often become an instant part of the family.
As the summer quickly approaches, high school has ended and many of these “family members” are preparing to ship off to their Basic Training locations to begin their careers. The Army Recruiting office in Brooksville decided to give all of their Future Soldiers (the title given to them in the Delayed Entry Program) and their families a going away party this past Saturday. The Brooksville Army Recruiting Office coordinated their efforts with the Army Recruiting Office in Inverness to host what they referred to as a Mega Future Soldier event.
Approximately 77 people (Recruiters, Future Soldiers, and family members alike) gathered at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Spring Hill for a celebratory send-off. The afternoon consisted of a kickball game between the two offices and a dodgeball-style water balloon fight before the rain became too heavy and forced the festivities inside.
Before going inside to eat, many cries of “If it ain’t raining, we ain’t training” (a typical motto of service members when working in inclement weather) were heard throughout the group.
Once inside the church, the Recruiters served lunch to the Future Soldiers and their families. The event was catered by Big Uns Bar B.Q., a restaurant in Spring Hill frequented by the Recruiters. Everybody dried off and enjoyed the spread of pulled pork and buns, ribs, brisket, macaroni and cheese, and pork and beans. The Commander of the Brooksville recruiting office, Staff Sergeant Jon Voelkel, and the Deputy Commander, Sergeant First Class Joshua Way, handed out awards to recognize the efforts of a select few of the Future Soldiers for their hard work and dedication to the Delayed Entry Program.
Future Soldier (Private) Summer Hayes was given an award of excellence for the number of referrals she provided for enlistment into the U.S. Army. One of the tasks assigned to the members of the Delayed Entry Program is to assist the Recruiters in their daily activities and Private Hayes was a constant champion of those efforts. Her tireless efforts led to additional individuals enlisting in the Army. Another award of excellence was given to Future Soldier (Private) Michael Cosme. When Private Cosme first started kicking around the idea of enlisting, he was physically out of shape and therefore not qualified for service. He got serious about joining and, after losing approximately 60 pounds in order to chase his dream of serving, he was able to enlist. According to his recruiter (Sergeant Aron Corcoran), he never missed a day of Physical Training nor a single Future Soldier Training event.
In conjunction with the Future Soldier event, the recruiters arranged for the Lifesouth Blood Truck to be in attendance in order to provide the Future Soldiers and their families the opportunity to donate blood. Kiki Bozek, Donor Recruit for Lifesouth said she ended the day at 18 total donations, boasting some of the best numbers the blood truck had seen in recent months.
To learn more about any of the branches of service, please visit their websites: www.goarmy.com, www.airforce.com, www.marines.com, www.navy.com or www.gocoastguard.com
You can also contact the Army directly at (813) 494-6072 or (352) 592-4329