EL PASO, Texas –
“A nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its laws made by cowards and its wars fought by fools.”
This was the philosophy of Thucydides, an Athenian historian and general, and the last words spoken by a retired command sergeant major during his keynote speech at a high school award ceremony at the 83rd Military Police Company in El Paso, Texas, on May 21.
The award ceremony was held to recognize more than 80 high school seniors for their decision to join the Army after graduation.
Six of the new recruits are assigned to the 83rd MP Co., which falls under the 200th Military Police Command. All six plan on furthering their education as soon as they graduate from their initial entry program.
Education is not an option, it is a requirement for career advancement, said Lance P. Lehr during his speech. Around 75 percent of Soldiers get an education during their time in the service or after they get out.
Erikah Pacheco, a graduating senior assigned to the 83rd MP Co., said she has always wanted to join the Army but never saw it as an option until her sophomore year in high school.
“I’ve always liked it, but I always wanted a degree also, so I never knew how to do it, but the Army Reserve opened up the opportunity to do both,” she said.
Pacheco is scheduled to attend Basic Combat Training in July and looks forward to becoming a military police Soldier.
The U.S. Army Reserve allows Soldiers more flexibility in their schedules because of their part-time service requirements, said Sgt. 1st Class Ben J. Nimnualrata, a recruiter at the El Paso Recruiting Company. The flexibility allows them to attend college and serve their country at the same time.
“Focus yourself on education first before deciding to go active duty,” Nimnualrata said as a general advice for recruits.
After the ceremony, students assigned to join the 83rd MP CO. got the opportunity to talk to Maj. Gen. Phillip M. Churn, commanding general of the 200th MP Cmd.
Churn encouraged the students to pursue an education both on the civilian side and in the military, not just for career advancement but for overall growth.
“Once that American flag is sitting on that right shoulder, you are no longer speaking only for yourself, you are speaking for a whole country,” he said. “You become ambassadors when you go to these foreign countries, and they will look for you, and they will want to train with you to help them become more professional, and that’s huge.”