Veteran Advises Recent Graduate

Adam Howerton plays the guitar at a farewell party
John Jones talks about his time in Vietnam. Photo by: Sierra Jiminez
"My main thing was to always give you the option to have choices, and to be aware of what your choices were."
John Jones
Vietnam War veteran

John Jones may have only spent three months fighting in the Vietnam War, but he‚'s got stories to prove that he experienced the wrath of combat overseas in such a short time.

While in Vietnam, John was shot at twice- first, when he was grazed by a sniper and then when a rocket grenade hit his tank, causing him to lose his left eye. It is the candidness of veterans like John that recent high school graduate Adam Howerton has come to appreciate.

Adam just graduated from Tonasket Alternative High School and in less than four weeks he'll be saying good-bye to his family. Adam enlisted in the U.S. Army and will soon be leaving for Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, where he will be undergoing basic training for the military.

It didn't take long in talking with Adam to realize that I was in the company of a soon to be 18-year-old man whose maturity transcended his age. Adam knew early on that he didn't want to see combat, and instead he has chosen to serve as a biomedical equipment specialist for the army- a position that lets him work in a hospital while installing and repairing medical equipment.

I imagine that some people who join the military are easily swayed by recruiters who come and speak at their schools. But Adam wasn't one of them. Adam spoke to several recruiters, as well as a number of veterans. One of them was John, an instructor at Tonasket Alternative High School.

At a farewell party for the nine graduates of the alternative school yesterday, John told Adam, "My main thing was to always give you the option to have choices, and to be aware of what your choices were." John said that he wanted to make sure that Adam had spoken to recruiters and veterans alike before making any crucial military decisions. In the coming weeks, I'll be spending time with Adam as he prepares to leave for training. It is my hope that through Adam's story, as well as those of other high school graduates, we'll able to paint a clearer picture as to what motivates graduates to join the military straight out of high school.

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