Students serving the nation

Two DBHS seniors work with the U.S. National Guard one week a month.


Abigail Hong

Diamond Bar High School senior Kamran Pirmoradian, above, and De Angelo Flores (not pictured) started working for the U.S. National Guard in October.

With the number of military applicants dwindling since 2015, the U.S.  Armed Forces have been collaborating with high schools in recruitment efforts. Inspired by the multitude of opportunities the military offered, Diamond Bar High School seniors De Angelo Flores and Kamram Pirmoradian have enlisted in the U.S. National Guard, a branch of the army that, for the most part, is mobilized by state governors in times of local emergencies.  

The guard accepts citizens starting in their senior year of high school up until their mid-thirties and offers a variety of benefits ranging from college financial aid to healthcare.

As a sub-level of the army, the program maintains a ranking system consistent with other branches of the armed forces, with positions ranging from privates, private first classes and specialists to corporals and sergeants.

“I decided to enlist because I saw people were losing their homes to the wildfires here in [California], and the National Guard gave me the opportunity to provide disaster relief while I studied to become a firefighter,” Pirmoradian said.

Positions held in private and private first classes are earned by the time spent in the rank or referring acquaintances for enrollment, while specialists require a college degree and more time dedicated to the organization. On the other hand, corporals and sergeants achieve their positions through referrals from class lieutenants.

As reflected in responsibilities and seniority, those of higher ranking receive higher pay, more benefits and have the opportunity to lead a larger team.

 Enlisting several months ago, both Flores and Pirmoradian currently hold the position of Private E1s.

The benefits offered by the National Guard served as the main appeal for Flores.

“ I decided to sign up because it was a good opportunity to learn new things and has a lot of benefits, like being paid just to work out, the college help and the military benefits,” Flores said.

To apply, each was validated by a background check before taking a general education exam and Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a test that determines the occupation that best suits the individual.

After completing both, applicants then reported to the military entrance processing station, where they performed a series of exercises to determine if they were physically fit for service. Once they met the prerequisites, the members were then sworn in with an oath.

“When I got in, I felt pretty accomplished, because I was actually doing something for myself when I usually just sit at home and do nothing,” Flores said.

Dedicating one week per month to the program, Flores and Pirmoradian are paid in intervals to train and exercise with sergeants on site and plan to continue to participate in the program throughout college.

They encourage their peers to join and agree that being a part of the National Guard is a large responsibility and not an activity one should join without contemplation.

“I would tell them there are lots of benefits, but you just have to have the commitment for it and think about it hard because it is a big step; it’s the military,” Flores said.