Defending the Nation

Hannah Lee, News Editor

As the school year draws to a close, DBHS seniors Brian Shi and Andy Shin have decided to follow different paths to similar futures as they both plan to enter the military after graduation.

Shi has always had a passion for physical therapy and law enforcement and planned to direct his future toward either field. However, after a recruiter visited his administration of justice class to discuss the various benefits of serving in the Marine Corps, Shi realized that pursuing a career in the military had the potential to change his life.

“I felt that becoming a Marine was going to change who I was and make me a better person than I already am… I want to take advantage of all the programs they have and definitely just become close with the people that I’ll become brothers with, sisters with,” Shi said.

After deciding to pursue this path, he initially struggled to gain his family’s support. However, after seeing Shi’s determination to pursue the career, his family soon supported his goal to serve as a Marine Corps officer.

“It’s a big decision and it’s very scary because regular people think that the military [means] you go off to Afghanistan and fight, get killed, but in reality it’s very different,” Shi said.

Shi will attend boot camp and basic Marine training during the summer at the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton. He will then  be stationed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, located in Twentynine Palms, where he will be stationed  for eight months, learning his Marine Corps’s Military Occupational Specialty. After 20 years of serving in the Marine Corps, he plans to attend school and pursue his  dream of working as a physical therapist.

As of now, he is training at the Marine Corps office in Pomona, preparing for the physical and mental challenges that he will face during boot camp.

“There’s always the sense of fear because of the unknown… it’s the same thing for me because I don’t know what’s going to happen. It is kind of a fear but at the same time, it’s something to look forward to for me,” Shi said.

For Shin, his reason to serve was a bit different from Shi’s. After leaving his home in South Korea and moving to America six years ago, Shin realized that serving in the military would be one of the only options for his future. The South Korean citizen is required to serve in either the U.S. or South Korean military.

From a young age, Shin’s interest has always gravitated toward the medical field. As a longtime Leo Club member, he developed a connection with advisor Jack Tanaka and was influenced by Tanaka’s experiences as a health care specialist during the Vietnam War.

“He didn’t actually go to Vietnam, but I’ve seen him, heard stories… I know it’s cliché, but [it’s about] just helping people out,” Shin said.

After serving as a combat medic, he plans to work as a registered nurse and pursue a career as a doctor, psychologist, or specialize in medicine, depending on his experience in the field.

“I am a Korean citizen…This is one of my only options, I can’t have the luxury of going to college like other kids… Korean army doesn’t really give you anything, but the American army on the other side, they pay you more, more vacations, better working conditions, preparing for future, free education, housing, all that kind of stuff, the benefits are just amazing. So I just decided to do it, everybody likes it, everybody supports it,” Shin said.

Shin plans to receive his basic training in South Carolina and Texas, then will be stationed where his service is needed. After fulfilling these duties, Shin will achieve his goal of serving for four years as a full-time combat medic, working in the field with infantry soldiers. He plans to use this experience to enter the medical field as a civilian.

During his time serving in the military, he hopes to involve himself in a Green to Gold program, which guides soldiers toward becoming an officer. In addition, he hopes to serve as a doctor in the army and aspires to earn the title of a colonel, major, or possibly general.

Shin is currently participating in physical training alongside Shi and educating himself regarding his plans for the future.