Thursday, June 24, 2010
Future Soldier Embarks on Quest
U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Harrisburg
June 24, 2010 - Paige Nye will board a plane for the first time June 30 for a life-changing quest that she said she is "extremely over-prepared for."
She laughed as soon as she said it, but the 18-year-old woman who joined the Mechanicsburg U.S. Army Recruiting Station's Future Soldier Program while she was still a junior at Northern High School in Dillsburg, Pa., wasn't joking.
"Paige has always been very motivated," her mother, Susan Nye said. "She's played all kinds of sports and musical instruments, but the one thing she seems to really enjoy the most is the Army."
After being in the program for about eight months, Nye enlisted in the Army in July, and a month later, she became the platoon guide – equivalent to an officer rank in the active-duty Army – for the Mechanicsburg Future Soldier Program.
"I led the platoon," she explained. "I called them out to formation. I taught facing movements and drills. I helped to prepare them for basic training."
The platoon consisted of anywhere from 15 to 20 future soldiers at any given time, Nye said.
"We've watched the whole progression of her going through this program from learning about the Army to teaching it to future soldiers," said her recruiter, Army Sgt. 1st Class Scott Newcomer, who credits Nye with helping to prepare as many as 60 fellow future soldiers for their new lives in the Army.
Newcomer added that when Nye heads out next week for her nine-week basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., she will do so as a private first class, E-3. Most recruits, he explained, come in as a private, E-1, and most E-2s are in the Army for a year and must have their supervisors' recommendation before making E-3.
The pay difference between a private and private first class, Newcomer said, is more than $500 a month. Nye also will have a head start in making specialist, E-4, he added. Nye jumped up the ranks by referring someone into the Army and completing the Future Soldier Program, which includes marching, reading maps and passing a physical training test, the same one needed to graduate from basic training.
A recruiter for four years, Newcomer has enlisted about 65 young men and women in the Army, and he said that only two or three other future soldiers made E-3 using the same method as Nye. "It takes a lot of commitment," he said.
In her senior year, Nye did her high school internship with the Mechanicsburg recruiting station, where she came in every day and did office work. Nye said she even learned how to conduct an applicant interview. These interviews, she said, are conducted to tell applicants what the Army has to offer and to find out if they are eligible to join.
"Nye is high-speed – the best future soldier I have had in my company," said Army Maj. William Hammac, who has been the Carlisle Recruiting Company commander for the past 18 months. The Mechanicsburg recruiting station is one of seven stations that fall under Hammac's command.
"We are very proud of her," said Nye's mother, who admitted to having mixed emotions, as Paige is the last of three children to be leaving home, and the only girl in the family, but she endorsed her daughter's decision to enlist.
"I think [the Army] is a wonderful career choice," she said.
Once she completes basic training, Nye will learn how to be a military intelligence analyst at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
Asked what she will be doing, Nye quickly replied, "A whole lot of stuff I am not allowed to talk about."
She laughed at this too, but again, she wasn't joking.