I enlisted in the Navy in 1973, as a young man from a working class family. My father was deceased, my mother was disabled, and I was out of money to continue in medical school. That year the Navy began offering to pay the educational costs of medical students in exchange for uniformed service after graduation. It was an honor to serve my country and to receive the education I needed to become a doctor.
As I've talked with service members at Barksdale and Fort Polk, I've heard similar stories. Military service can provide career training when the market for good-paying jobs is tight. Such practical considerations are valuable, but one's decision to enlist in the Armed Forces is far more profound.