As more than 100 troops were deployed from White Sands Missle Range to eastern Afghanistan, KRWG News profiles what it means to join the U.S. military and to be deployed overseas.
This is where many young people come who are considering joining the military.
The Armed forces Career Center on Lohman Ave.
It’s where Pvt. Sonja Hamer came when she wanted to join.
“I’d thought about joining for a while….so I came in and talked to Sgt. Brown and Sgt. Rich and talked about what the military can offer me.”
She already knows a lot about military life. Her husband has served for 10 years. He’s preparing for his third deployment. She says being apart is their normal.
“We’re so used to it…its’ just a way of life for us and our children”
A lot of other people also seem to understand the military life before coming to the center.
“You’d be surprised how many people come in who want to be deployed. Not all do but some.”
There’s a good chance of being deployed, but Sgt. Richardson reminds potential soldiers nothing’s set in stone.
"...but I can’t guarantee them that they’re going to get deployed or they won’t get deployed.”
It takes more than signing up to be enlisted.
“They still have to qualify morally and they also have to qualify medically.”
A military career can be demanding, but soldiers who serve and return to civilian life may find themselves out of a job. Bill Connor of the Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce hopes to change that.
“We definitely see some of that loss in the community. The difference for White Sands is that it has a multitude of different tenants on the base and so we’re kindof buffeted a little bit.”
Pvt. Greg San Martin has the only job he needs right now.
“It’s a full time job now. We’re gonna be overseas – lot of conditioning training.”
Just outside Las Cruces over at WSMR, men and women prepared to go overseas.
This was the third deployment in about six months from the base. According to Capt. John Davis this group will be back in about nine months.
Greg could one day be in a ceremony like this...he signed up for the infantry division of the army.
Before Greg and Sonja leave for basic training they'll no doubt stop by the recruitment center. And perhaps when they come back.
“Usually when they come home, they’ll come by to see us, let us know how it’s going.”
Families wait for their loved ones to return to White Sands.
Sonja may have a reunion of her own, but not here. She hopes to be stationed near her husband which the military tries to arrange with families.
Meanwhile, Sgt. Richardson is here, wondering if he’ll see Greg and Sonja back in his office again soon.