POST THURSDAY 10PM: Our Future Soldiers: East Texans Continue To Enlist - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/10/04 - Tyler

POST THURSDAY 10PM: Our Future Soldiers: East Texans Continue To Enlist

In this program and all over the news these days. We hear of those who are fighting for our country, and giving the ultimate sacrifice in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But we wanted to find out why, given the sometimes "bad news" from overseas, young men and women continue to sign up for service to their country.

They know they may be in a war zone sooner, not later.

"I'm anxious to go to boot camp because I've never been, and I'm anxious to see what it's going to be like," says Jokeshua Fuller. She is a bit nervous, but committed to the path she has chosen -- to be an Army soldier.

"It's going to be tough for me, but I think we need to have other people who are willing to go."

Despite the war as seen on TV, the resolve of these future soldiers isn't wavering. Recruitment is strong.

Private First Class Racinda Singleton has been in the Reserves for two years. She expects to be activated soon.

"My grandad was in the military, so it's something I always wanted to do.  So as soon as I got out of high school, I joined."

She wants to be stationed in Hawaii or Germany, but both she and Jokeshua say they know that fighting could always be in their future.

"I joined to serve my country and defend my country," Racinda says.

Jokeshua: "My mom is terrified. I'm a bit anxious. I don't want to be in that setting, but then in basic training, I'll learn everything. You're scared of what you don't know."

Recruiter Sergeant Charles Colbert says battle is dangerous, but media often report only the worst of what's happening.

"They watch the news every night, and they're seeing the same things I'm seeing right here in Tyler, Texas. You stand a chance of suffering an injury in a car wreck [similarly] than you do in a combat zone right now."

Starting Young

It's just high school, but for some, ROTC is just one step from signing on the dotted line -- enlisting in the Army. 

Joseph Rodriguez wants to make it his career.

"Because I've learned a lot about what terrorism has done to this country, and it's not right. And I feel that I need to go in and fight for our country," he says.

Just a sophomore and years away from the service, Mitchell Hill says he knows he'll be ready to fight.

"I feel a lot of patriotism toward our country, and I think the war in Iraq was a war that had to happen," he says.

Their leader is proud.

"We don't have intentions of them going into the service. That is not our mission. Our intention is to motivate young people to be better citizens," says Maj. Gale Harrison, ROTC instructor at John Tyler High School.

"It's not your everyday job. You get up early, you stay up late, and there is danger.  So I try to instill into them the "real world" -- what's out there," he says.

All these future soldiers say they're ready for the call, and they're very proud.

ROTC Cadet Nicholas Bell: "We're trying to make it a better place for Iraq now, so if we do, it will be a better place for them and a better place for us."

Jokeshua Fuller: "It's going to be mentally challenging, but I know I'm capable of doing that. I'm going to learn discipline. I'm going to learn respect."

There are more than two hundred different jobs for a new Army soldier to choose from. Some make it a career, but Army recruiters say many are getting their education paid for through their military service.

And they say that Army training combined with a good education makes soldiers very productive employees, when they return to civilian life.

Reported by Morgan Palmer. 

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