There are many different paths people can take when getting out of school. The path I am choosing to take is going directly into the Wisconsin Army National Guard. The National Guard allows individuals to enlist at the age of seventeen, which I did during my junior year. This has allowed me to achieve the rank of Private First Class before leaving high school. 

The first step in enlisting into any branch of the military is contacting a recruiter, or them contacting you. In my case, my recruiter called me and informed me about the benefits that the Wisconsin Army National Guard had. I thought that this seemed like a good option for me, so I scheduled a meeting to start the paperwork to enlist. This was particularly difficult for me because I did not have a bank account or an ID, which are both things you need to enlist. During this process, I got to choose what job I wanted in the Army, and I decided on being an 11B, also known as a direct fire infantryman.

The next step to enlisting was going to the Military Entrance Processing Station, or MEPS. At MEPS you go through tests for your vision, hearing, and range of motion to determine if you are eligible to join the military. There are many things that can disqualify you from joining the military, but a lot of those disqualifications can be waived under certain circumstances. 

The next step was getting ready to ship to basic training. For a lot of jobs in the army, you go through ten weeks of Basic Training, and then go through your job training, called AIT, at a separate location. However, for my job, they combine those into one long training period called OSUT. OSUT is twenty-two weeks long, in Fort Benning, Georgia. Getting ready for basic training in the National Guard involves many things you have to do personally, but also means going to drill. Drill, for people who have not yet graduated their job training, is one weekend a month, where they imitate basic training. This normally involves physical training and learning skills you will need in basic training.

Joining the Wisconsin Army National Guard has been very exciting, and has challenged me physically and mentally. It has also been very fun and rewarding. The Army will open opportunities for me that other people wouldn’t get, and set me up for success in my life. I am excited about the future and am so glad I made the decision to enlist.