There’s no way around it. I’m always a little sad at the end of every school year as we send our seniors off into who knows where. I’m excited for them, of course, but the reality is that they will gradually grow away from us, and I will seldom see them again. In a small town, where we all know each other, that is a little bittersweet…actually, it’s a lot bittersweet.
This week here at United, we salute three recent CHS graduates, who aren’t just going a little way down the road. No, Turner Kirk, Ashton Newton, and Jordan Baehler have joined the greatest group of Americans in the country, a very exclusive club called the United States Military, and while it is true that we are a bit sad that their days here in Comanche with us are over for at least a while, we are also bubbling with pride in these three: Turner, going into the Air Force, and Ashton and Jordan going into the Navy!
Of course, I wanted to know why they had made this choice.
Ashton began the conversation with, “College just isn’t for me. I want something more spontaneous.” And to my questioning look she continued, “Not the average, I want something new every day.”
I understand the concept, but I must admit that I was thinking that the beautiful blonde could probably have found something very interesting that was quite a bit easier than service in the U.S. Navy.
“I’ve always been interested in the ocean, and my grandfather was in the Navy so it seemed like the logical choice for me.”
At this point, Jordan entered the conversation.
“I need structure in my life. I know that college is not for me because I need someone telling me what to do. I know I’m going to get that in the Navy. I also love to travel…” she trailed off.
“I’ve always been interested in the military in general since I was little,” Turner explained. “My grandfather was in the Air Force, and that was part of my decision. Plus, my army recruiter made me mad by telling me I wasn’t good enough or something like that. He was really, really pushing me to sign up, and I guess that was his strategy, but I never called him back,” he grinned wickedly.
They are just a few weeks past their senior year of high school, and like the rest of their classmates, they don’t know a lot about the world…yet. They want out of Comanche, and they want to travel and then, I explained exactly where that travel could take them. I suppose I just felt like I wanted to be sure they had a clear understanding of what they are doing, of what their decisions could mean.
And then Turner smiled at me. “I will be working on nuclear missiles. I’ve already committed to that so there is not a lot of chance that I will deploy to combat zones. I will do basic training in San Antonio, then tech school in Wichita Falls. After that, I will be sent to a base, more than likely in the states, but it could be in places like Germany or Turkey. With my ASVAB score, I was able to go this direction.”
Ashton was just as knowledgeable. “I too have picked my job. I will be working as an aviation technician with air crew. My job will be either with a helicopter squad or a jet squadron, and it will be my job to fix any computer systems that may fail during flight.”
Apparently, I must have looked a bit horrified.
“Don’t worry,” she laughed. “I will go through a lot of schooling so I will be prepared! I will go through boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois, and then I could be anywhere in the world!”
And as for Jordan, “I will be in Great Lakes Illinois for basic. From there, I will go to Pensacola, Florida. I am going to be an Aviation Mechanics Mate.”
And it won’t be long now. Turner leaves us on July 28; Ashton goes on August 10, and Jordan will be exiting Comanche on August 17. We will miss them all and yet, the entire town of Comanche salutes them for their service!