Share this article

print logo

YOUNG PEOPLE, FORMER SERVICE MEMBERS <br> SHOWING MORE INTEREST IN ENLISTING

The world is a different place than it was on Aug. 28 when Tracy Thurnherr signed up for the Marine Corps.

But the near certainty of military action by the United States in response to last week's terrorist attacks has done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the 18-year-old Cheektowaga resident as she prepares to leave Monday to begin boot camp at Parris Island, S.C.

"If anything, it makes me more motivated. . . . I'm more anxious to get going," she said after completing her final round of physical fitness testing at the Tonawanda Recruiting Center.

She is scheduled to attend cooking school and plans to continue her education and become a chef after the Marines. Her boyfriend, William Peters, recently completed boot camp with the Corps.

Rob Ormsby, 18, of Akron, also leaves Monday for Parris Island and admitted the attack makes going into the military "kind of scary." But he quickly added he's not having second thoughts and "now I have a duty for the country."

His two buddies from Akron, Samuel Guidie, 19, and Eric Fix, 18, said they are likely to follow him into the Marines soon, with Fix leaning toward the Reserves.

Both said they had been thinking about it anyway and the Sept. 11 attack got them off the fence.

Although area military recruiters said they have been receiving more calls and expressions of support, they are not necessarily signing up more young people, but recruitment figures are compiled on a monthly basis so it's too soon to know for sure.

There has not been a national call for more people to join the military, they pointed out.

Michael J. Owen, command information officer for the Navy recruiting office, said young people seem interested in the Navy for the same reasons as in the past: adventure, education and money for college.

But recruiters have noticed a heightened interest level on the part of former service members considering the possibility of going back in, Owen said. Recruiters for other branches said much the same thing.

There has been no lowering of qualifications, Army Staff Sgt. Timothy Gabbard pointed out. He's had calls from people who were previously rejected because they could not pass the physical, wondering if the standards had changed.

"It's business as usual," he said.

Marine Maj. Chris Woodburn, commander of Recruiting Station Buffalo, said that in addition to its other attractions, joining the service now offers "the benefit of having the honor to serve your country in time of war."

Joe Trotta spent eight years in the Marines and stopped by the recruiting office to inquire about joining a Reserve unit.

Trotta, 27, said those with visions of shipping off to Afghanistan to fight the forces of Osama bin Laden are likely to be disappointed and would probably be enlisting for the wrong reason.

"I would ask them,'Where were you before?' " when there were attacks on U.S. citizens in other countries, he said.

e-mail: ternst@buffnews.com

There are no comments - be the first to comment