High school senior plans to enlist in Army soon

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 16, 2004

GLOSTER &045;&045; Shelita Simmons decided she wanted to join the Army when she was in the 10th grade.


despite the war in Iraq, the 18-year-old Amite County High School senior still plans to enlist after graduation this summer.

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&uot;I had my mind made up before the war started. I guess I’ll just have to deal with it now,&uot; Shelita said as she joined a group of fellow Scouts from Explorer Post 552 for a multi-faceted training program at the National Guard Armory in Gloster recently.

Along with physical training, CPR and fire safety lessons provided by the Explorer post, the scouts received some military pointers from members of the 3656th Maintenance Company who were meeting for monthly drills at the armory.

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Luke took Simmons through an introduction to military’s 16-point manual arms drill.

Luke said he and the other guardsmen in his unit welcome the opportunity to help groups like the explorer post.

&uot;Gloster is a small town without many resources. They need the facility, and that’s what the guard is supposed to be about &045;&045; helping the community,&uot; Luke said.

Simmons is also enrolled in the Junior ROTC program at ACHS and has already taken the practice version of the military’s Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.

ASVAB is given to high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to help them identify which military careers they are best suited for.

&uot;I took vo-tech training in high school and fell in love with computers. I’d like to be a programmer, but I wanted to go into the Army first for training,&uot; Simmons said.

Simmons has seen first-hand the opportunities that a military career can provide.

Her older sister, Tomeka, joined the Air Force and is now a first lieutenant stationed in Ohio.

And Simmons gets encouragement from home, too.

&uot;My mom is behind me 100 percent in whatever I decide to do,&uot; she said.