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Friends decide on military futures

Taglienti (left) and Hamel (right), stand side by side.

by Tim Delouchrey and Kathleen McAleese
Sports Liaison and Managing Editor

Two middle school friends sit side by side, one proudly sporting an army shirt and hat, and the other, just as proudly sports his enlistment into the US Navy. These two friends both have decided to continue their lives after high school while involved in the service of our country.

Seniors Matt Taglienti and Cody Hamel are planning to join the armed services next year, joining the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program and Navy, respectively.

Both men were significantly influenced by the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Though they were both very young at the time, they credit it as being the reason for their interest in military service.

“It was a big influence on my life; it was my earliest  memory. It happened when we were five or six so it was a big influence on my life,” said Hamel.

Taglienti, who is on a full scholarship, has always been interested in military service. Somewhat hindered by an egg allergy, he joined the ROTC program because they are more lenient in regards to making exceptions for barriers like an egg allergy.

Taglienti wants to be trained to be a lieutenant, a job which requires a degree, hence why he will be attending an ROTC program at college. Being a lieutenant entitles him to being in charge of twenty to thirty men, a responsibility he cites as a tough one.

“Im going to have twenty to thirty good men under my command and if I tell them to do something, the hardest thing I am going to do is make that decision where I’m not sure what is going to happen,” said Taglienti.

Despite the daunting nature of the military, Taglienti is not deterred, and remains proud to wear his uniform and do what he regards as the most honorable thing one can do.

“I’m more proud to wear a uniform and serve my country.”

I believe fully in that for those who I love I will sacrifice for.

-Matt Tagienti

Despite worries form his parents, Taglienti’s godfather, uncle and brother gave him an abundance of support.

“Serving our country is really important and if that is what he really wants to do then I support him,” said Taglienti’s younger brother Nic Sian, a sophomore at WA.

Unswayed by some of his family’s concerns, Taglienti finds merit in making his own decisions and living the life he wants for himself.

“I believe that if I be who I am, and make my decisions then I’ll be who I want to be and be all I can be in the Army,” said Taglienti.

Alternatively, Hamel, who will be directly enlisting in the Navy, has the ultimate goal of becoming a police officer.

“I’ve always wanted to be in the military and I figured if I didn’t, it would be something I would always regret,” said Hamel.

Hamel’s decision to enlist in the Navy as opposed to the Marines or Army surprised even himself. But as he did more and more research, the Navy had the program that he found to be best for himself. With a six year term in the reserves, he also hopes to attend college and, by the time he is 21, get hired as an officer.

Taglienti’s drive to join the ROTC program was rooted in his desire to protect his family and his country, and while being in martial arts programs since childhood, has found that he thrives in that environment.

“I believe fully in that for those who I love I will sacrifice for,” said Tagienti.

Both men however, are proud to put on a uniform that means that they are serving their country, and once committed, they both found themselves overcome with pride in their service.

“I’m excited. I was a little nervous until I actually signed a contract but as soon as I did it, the nervousness went away and I was more proud and excited,” Hamel said.

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