Wakonda seniors join armed services by Ally Eckert Wakonda seniors this year have big plans for the next few years. Some are planning on going to college, while the rest are joining the armed forces.
This year the senior class is made up of 15 students, six of whom are joining a branch of the military. The most popular branch this year seems to be the Navy.
Four boys are planning on going into the Navy, Eric Skonhovd, Allen Alsdorf, Alex Nielsen, and Brandon Parvin.
Skonhovd decided this past summer that he wanted to join the Navy.
"I thought it would be a good way to start my career," he said.
The war had little effect on his decision to join. The war won't affect his job that he will be doing as much as others.
His job will be to maintain the electrical systems of planes and helicopters. He will be on active duty for five years.
Skonhovd will leave on July 12, 2005 for Great Lakes Naval Recruit Training Command in Illinois. He will then be going to Pensacola, FL, for 22 weeks of schooling.
Alsdorf made the decision to join along time ago. He just recently chose the Navy because it felt right. He has six family members that have been in a branch of the military.
The war had little effect on his choice.
"I am not scared because of the war, I am scared of the drill instructor," Alsdorf said.
He will also be going to basic at Great Lakes. He will then go to BUD/s, a rigorous training program in the Navy, at Concordia.
Nielsen is another senior who decided the Navy was the path he wanted to follow.
"After talking with many recruiters from different branches of armed services, I felt the Navy gave me the best opportunity to get what I want, which is a good education, travel, and a chance to serve my country, and the opportunity to become a U.S. Naval Aviator," said Nielsen
Nielsen isn't afraid to be joining during a war. In fact, the war had very little effect on his decision at all. Because of the technology available now, people who join the navy rarely see combat situations like the ones in Iraq.
Nielsen will be receiving training in nuclear power to become an electronics mate.
Nielsen will start basic on June 15 at Great Lakes. He will be on active duty for six years.
Parvin was the most recent
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to choose to join the Navy.
"I decided to join when I talked to my recruiter about all the money," Parvin said.
He will start basic on Sept. 6, 2005 at Great Lakes. He will be training to be a builder. He could be on duty for four to 20 years.
The senior class won't only be made up of Navy boys. One of the girls is also joining the military. Meghan Martz is planning on going into the Army National Guard.
"When I was little I always looked up to my older brothers and when two of them joined, I decided I wanted to too," said Martz.
She's talking about Eric Ellefson and Joe Martz, who are both in the Army National Guard. They helped her decision in more ways than one.
"After I saw how both of my brothers went over (to Iraq) and came back safe, I figured if it came down to I could probably handle it," said Martz.
Wakonda will be represented by one senior this year in the Air National Guard. Nick Peterson made his decision a couple of months ago to join.
Peterson's choice wasn't affected by the war. He will most likely go to Turkey if he is activated.
He will be starting basic some time in June. While there, his responsibilities will be to weld aircraft metals and make parts for aircrafts.
To pay back his financial assistance he has to go at least one weekend a month and two weeks a year. He will be on duty for six years.
This just goes to prove why South Dakota is one of the leading states with military participation.