By Kaitlyn Kozalla, Senior Publications Editor
As the COVID-19 shutdown continues, seniors who are enlisted in the military are experiencing uncertainty, and I am one of them.
Governor Wolf recently waived the minimum number of school days (180), so as of right now, this does not affect recruits shipping on time. However, according to Chief Petty Officer Steve Ware, head of the Navy recruiting center in Meadville, the Navy has reduced the number of shippers to basic training to five hundred per week, down from the usual nine hundred to a thousand.
Currently, I am enlisted in the Navy with a ship date of July 21 through the Meadville recruiting center. Chief Ware informed the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) recruits (including me) that “restrictions in place limit any face to face meetings between no more than five people.” This places a huge strain on our twice-monthly meetings as 26 people are currently in the DEP program through the Meadville office.
Senior Bree Snyder is enlisted in the Air Force, with a current ship date of June 30. “A lot of people’s ship out dates are being postponed,” Snyder said. “And some of the trainees in bmt (basic military training) have a shorter bmt than usual.” Since Snyder is interested in the reserves program that the Air Force offers, she attends monthly UTA (unit training assembly) drills that help her prepare for bmt and the reserves. Drills will still go on, but Snyder will not be able to attend because of the 50-mile distance since the closest reserve base is located in Niagara Falls.
Senior Zane Schlosser is enlisted in the Marines with a current ship date of September 14. Schlosser shared that the virus is affecting the poolees’ routine. A poolee is a person who has signed up to become a Marine but has not yet left for the 13 weeks of recruit training. For his group, physical training and other group functions have been postponed until further notice. “It keeps the family (my group of poolees) separated,” Schlosser said. “That takes a toll on the weekly routine individually and as a unit.”
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Journalism Adviser, Saegertown Jr. Sr. High School