Amiya Jones ready for military life

Published 12:02 am Thursday, August 11, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Former Natchez High School student Amiya Jones, 18, has won the American Legion award, Patriotism award and the DAR award.

NATCHEZ — Natchez High School graduate Amiya Jones’ desire to join the military is not about fading in with the khaki, white or cammo ranks but all about standing out.

“It’s a way to gain responsibility to be on your own,” said 18-year-old Jones of her career aspirations and involvement in high school with junior ROTC.

In addition to ribbons she received as commander of last school year’s ROTC class, Jones received the Daughters of the American Revolution bronze medal awarded to a senior in every program and the American Legion patriotism award at the end of last school year.

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Jones said she used to talk about joining the military when she was in middle school, mostly because her parents, who met while they were both in the U.S. Army, had a military background.

Jones said her mother was worried about Jones early plans to join the military at first, but she supported her once she entered high school and showed serious interest in joining the U.S. Air Force.

“I want to study aeronautical engineering,” Jones said.

Jones said aeronautical engineering mixes technology with science and finds better ways to make airplanes, missiles and spacecrafts.

One of the many summers in which Jones participated in an ROTC-related summer programs, she overcame a fear of heights when she got a chance to fly in a bomber plane at a camp in Virginia.

“After I got on my first airplane, I was like, ‘That’s pretty cool,’” Jones said.

Jones leaves next week to study her chosen field at Southwest Mississippi College. She intends to then earn a degree at Mississippi State University.

Jones said she considered going on active duty after high school at one time, but she decided she wanted to earn a degree first to become an officer.

“I don’t like to be told what to do, so I try to get a much rank as I can so I can tell other people what to do,” Jones said.

But two years of ROTC and summer programs have shown Jones that she is a capable leader because she is dependable, a team player and trustworthy.

“And I’m honest,” Jones said. “I will just tell you exactly how I feel about (a situation),” she said.

Col. John Currin, the Natchez High ROTC Senior Aerospace Science Instructor, said he has noticed Jones’ priorities are focused on her future and goals more so than most teenagers.

“She’s mature for her age,” Currin said.

Jones said she did not spend too much time going to parties during high school but instead focused her energy on becoming successful, like her mother.

“I wanted to be just like her,” Jones said.

Jones is the daughter of Ernest and Miriam Jones.