This summer, multiple students from Shawano High School will start their adventure in the military. It is possible to enlist to the military at 17 with parental consent and 18 without parental consent.
Stephanie Bendtschneider, parent of Payten Marohl, who is a student joining the military, said she always knew that it was the direction her daughter would take. When Mrs. Bendtschneider was told that her daughter wanted to join the military, it didn’t come as a surprise.
“My first reaction was pride. I was very, very proud of her,” Mrs. Bendtschneider explained.
Going into the military is a long process with a lot of choices to make throughout the six branches. This was something that seniors Collin Buerman and Sawyer Pyawasay got to experience first hand when they enlisted in the military.
“The process was very long. There’s a lot of paperwork. The total process for me took 7-8 months,” Buerman commented.
Even though the process is long. It is something that both see as beneficial and something that will affect their lives forever.
“My brother was in the Navy before me, and his life just moved on. He used to be a bad kid in general, and it changed his life, so I hoped I could pull the same out of it,” Pyawasay said.
There are definitely many things to gain from the military, and this is also an important factor as a parent.
Mrs. Bendtschneider explained, “The leadership qualities that it’s going to bring [are one of the best gains from service]. It’s going to bring so many opportunities, and it’s going to make her life, probably, much easier than the normal person ending college. I mean, she’s not going to have student loan debts, as long as she stays in the military. She is kind of always guaranteed a job out there.”
Going into the military can be terrifying both for the ones to enlist and their parents. However, there is no need to worry as much as we often do.
According to Mrs. Bendtschneider, “When you think of the military you automatically think of them being in the front line in Afghanistan, and as scary as it is thinking of your child being in a warzone, I know people who have made a career of the military and have never been deployed. There’s more to it than just going and fighting a war.”
Pyawasay chose the Navy, which is a branch that primarily focuses on naval operations. Pyawasay knew that the Navy had many benefits since his brother got into the Navy before him.
“The first time I thought about it was the first year of high school after talking with my brother for the first time while he was in, and he told me about all the cool things he has done,” Pyawasay commented.
Family has been a big inspiration for his decision in joining. He was met with support from almost everyone when he wanted to join the Navy.
“My entire family, all the guys, have all been in some branch of the military, and their lives have just been good,” he added.
Though many changes are expected while going into military, this is something that Pyawasay is prepared for, even though it might get hard.
Pyawasay stated the hardest change would be, “Not having the freedom as I would as a civilian, doing what I want to do.”
“The only thing I fear is the first couple of weeks not really knowing anyone and just being in a new environment,” Pyawasay continued.
Pyawasay is looking most forward to the exploration of new areas and the knowledge he will gain from his new lifestyle. He is not certain whether or not the Navy is going to be his lifelong career, but it is something he will figure out during his experience.
“If I like it, then I’ll keep on doing it, but at some point in time everybody wants to start a family and grow old with somebody.”
Buerman chose the National Guard, which is a branch of the Army that stays in state. This has many advantages such as paid schooling, which is something Buerman is also looking forward to.
“I really wanted to go to college, and that is a plus side to the National Guard,” Buerman said
Joining the National Guard was an idea that Buerman came up with himself. He has been wanting to join the military from a very young age.
“I owe it back to give back to the United States from what they’ve given me since I was born. The stuff that they’ve given me, I wanted to protect the people I love,” Buerman said
A lot of change goes into going from a civilian life to a military life. Buerman addressed what he saw as his hardest challenge.
“The hardest change is probably going to be that I like to run my mouth a lot, and that’s probably going to be hard to change.”
Buerman has had troubles with his eyesight, which made him fear his chances of being able to be in the National Guard. However, he managed to get in, which was a huge relief for him.
“It was a really exciting moment knowing I was going to live my dream.”
We thank the people in our military for their service!