Continuing into one of the top five highest risk jobs offered in the armed forces can seem quite daunting for any person, let alone an 18-year old high school senior.
With graduation just a day away, the class of 2012 will embark on unchartered journeys in almost every direction. Most have chosen to continue their higher education at two or four year institutions or venture out into the workplace. However, a few have chosen to continue into high-risk military careers. Will Henk, one students, has recently chosen this path for a number of reasons. Last year, after doing extensive research – including speaking with his cousin and recruiters – decided on a career with the United States Army, hoping to one day become an Army Ranger – a highly trained infantry unit member which deals with leading invasion forces and various special operations.
His cousin Alex Ocken of the United States Marine Special Forces unit “has always been an individual I have looked up to.” Added reasons for opting out of immediately continuing his formal education include the level of expenses needed for and the collegiate drop out rates.
“I wouldn’t say I’m exactly ready for college, as here in high school I feel like I’m just going through the motions. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to try and I am ready to go,” Henk said.
Beginning August 17, Henk will take part in a number of army-related endeavors such as basic training, Army Infantry School, the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program and Ranger School; all taking place at Fort Benning, Georgia in the course of 223 days.
“I want to serve my country and want to help out as much as I can, but I don’t always agree with some of our policies,” Henk said.
After learning of his chosen career path, Henk’s family seemed completely against him joining the Army. They told him to instead chose a desk job or really anything non-combat related. Today however, they completely support him, adding “their motivation really helps.”
His eventual job will of course involve jumping out of aircraft, but will also feature true combat fighting. As an infantryman, Henk will be responsible for patrolling and securing large areas of land, protecting designated individuals and potentially work in hostage situations. One day he could be on a mock patrol on a U.S. base, while the next, he could be involved in a true Black operation.
The Ranger Assessment and Selection Program and Ranger School – often pegged as two of the hardest schools the military has available- doesn’t intimidate Henk. Rather, he believes he is up to the pending challenges.
“I know the odds are against me but I keep a positive attitude and keep doing my pushups. To me passing these schools and having the title of a U.S. Army Airborne Ranger would probably be the biggest achievement in my entire life. “Saving a life – peace to a warzone is what I truly hope to accomplish”