Military personnel, Young Marines continue to work to achieve dreams

Lauren Seco, OP/ED Editor

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Students and alumni from North Harford High School participate in the United States Military and the Young Marines.

North Harford alumni Joon Oh, 19, works in the Marines of the United States Military. Oh joined the military as he did not have the money to go to college, and needed more than just a high school diploma. His best option was to join the military, so he visited multiple branches to get a feel for it. He chose the Marines because “the other branches treated [him] more like a quota they had to fill.” The Marines treated Oh with respect like a “family before [he] even signed a contract.”

After joining, Oh went to boot camp on February 4th, in Parris Island, SC. He explains the idea of boot camp by saying, “boot camp is about an equal share of it being mentally and physically hard.” He then continues to give examples saying, “The first few days you arrive, you don’t sleep. The first few weeks is where you learn how boot camp is gonna go, you meet the drill instructors, their punishments, and how you will speak and act.” Boot camp is a complete struggle to make it to the end in one piece. Punishments were harsh, and training like Gas Chamber I.T. Sessions and the Crucible tested your limits.

Oh described his experience of the Gas Chamber I.T. Sessions, the recruits were about three weeks into training. They were all still sick because as Oh stated, “everyone gets sick in boot camp, like you can’t avoid it.” You are placed inside a gas chamber with other recruits when the instructors start to scream. The recruits are forced to take off their masks off and breathe in the poisonous vapors. Oh writes that “it burns your lungs, your throat, your eyes.” The recruits then put their masks on and flush the gas out. Just as it seems to be over, they do it again and again for three more trials.

After the experience of boot camp, Oh was sent to MCT where he learned to deal with combat situations and basic tactics. He states that he learned, “about clearing rooms, throwing grenades, and basic tactics.”

After the completion of MCT, Oh is sent to MOS school where he learns the specifics of being an AAV mechanic. An AAV mechanic fixes amphibious assault vehicles. He plans to switch into a different job in the Marines to then complete 8 years and start a family.

North Harford Alumni Isabelle (Izzy) Hodgkinson, 21, works in the Navy in the United States Military. Hodgkinson has a family background of military action. Both of her grandfathers served–one in the army, and one in the navy. Her cousin, Ashley, joined the army which made her realize that the military was an option for her. Hodgkinson writes, “If she could do it, so could I. Ever since then I knew I wanted to serve.”

Hodgkinson states, “I worked hard in high school to get the best grades possible in order to get into the United States Merchant Marine Academy and always kept the goal in mind to be a naval officer.” She chose a marine transportation major with logistics and Intermodal transportation. She spent a year at sea “traveling the world and working on ships.” She visited Belgium, Germany, England, Bahrain, Aruba, Mexico, Barbados, St. Thomas, and the east coast. She “learned how to do terrestrial navigation, celestial navigation, and ships stability.” At the end of her schooling, she received her third Mates license after taking a cumulative test.

During her senior year, she applied for active duty and received an offer to be a Surface Warfare Officer. Now, she plans on doing two sea tours, shore tour and getting her masters degree. She is also thinking about a “lateral transfer to intelligence and eventually work for the Office of Naval Intelligence and live in DC”. Her advice for anyone wanting to join the Navy is “to make sure that this is something you want to do.” She adores her job, but “don’t expect to come and not work hard.”

Sophomore Sarah Nevin is one of our students who is involved in the Young Marines. According to Nevin, the Young Marines is a “national organization for both females and males ages 8-18. [They] focus on instilling a healthy lifestyle and [their] three core values of teamwork, leadership, and discipline in all [their] members.”

The Young Marines participate in several different community services and even a national leadership school. The student explains that “we do veterans appreciations events on a yearly basis as well as smaller things to support our VFW post like clean up days and operating the kitchen for bingos.”

Nevin’s favorite service event is the “MD Marine Corps League conference in Ocean City this last May.” While there, the student was able to meet Marines and help behind the scenes of the conference. Her overall favorite experience would include attending a Junior Leadership School. Nevin states, “I was able to do a close order drill evaluation and lead an entire equad of Young Marines. It was a truly amazing experience–one which I would have never had done if I was not a Young Marine.” Nevin plans to continue to work to achieve her dream of being Marine in the United States Military.

Junior Scott Dixon is another one of our students participating in the Young Marines. Dixon adds that the Young Marines also “strengthen the lives of America’s youth through living a drug free lifestyle.” The student goes into detail about specific rules and guidelines the Young Marines must follow in uniform. He states, “You can’t have a beard and your hair has to be a certain length for males. For females, when in uniform, you can’t have eccentric makeup or have earrings beyond a certain size.”

Dixon explains that the Young Marines participate in Red Ribbon Week. He states, “Red ribbon week is the last week of October created in memory of a DEA agent killed in Mexico.” The point of it is to “bring awareness to the dangers of drugs and promote a drug-free life across America.”

The student’s favorite experience of the Young Marines would include a trip to Window Rock, Arizona for Navajo Code Talker Day. He was able to meet “some of the last code talkers from World War 2 and take part in a ceremony for the Navajo.”


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