Rural grads top numbers of military recruits

Adventure, college money and continuing a family's history of service top the reasons rural high-school graduates join the military, Army officials said.

Nine Moffat County High School graduates plan to enter three branches of the Armed Forces: Two each are heading to the Army and the Air Force, and five will join the Navy.

That's a sizeable number of recruits compared with their urban counterparts, said Sgt. First Class Leafner Tan, an Ar--my recruiter in Craig.

"Overall, we get people in the rural areas who are more patriotic," Tan said. "In Boulder, we'd be happy to see even one or two (high-school recruits)."

Although Craig offers a relatively high number of recruits, general statistics tell a different story. The average age of an Army recruit is 26, and more than one-fourth have attended college.

Debbie Cannon, public affairs chief for the Army, said many reasons exist why people join the Army.

"It's individual," she said. "It's service to their country, or for others, it's family. For some people, it's for the college money. A big one for us, in Craig, is adventure."

Earning money for college and traveling are the main reasons MCHS senior Elizabeth Jones is joining the Army.

"I was thinking about how I'd pay for my degree," she said. Jones said she also hopes to get shipped around the world during her three-year enlistment.

"Maybe then I'll have more response when people give me (a hard time)," she said.

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