WESTFIELD, NJ — Four members of the Westfield High School Class of 2017 are pursuing careers with the United States Military: Brian Callahan, Ben Kelly, Benjamin Kwok and Jack Newhard. They spoke to TAPinto Westfield about their plans:
Callahan has elected to join the Marine Corps in the infantry on a four-year contract. His training will begin with a 13-week boot camp in Paris Island, South Carolina.
“I hope to gain discipline and independence from this experience,” Callahan said on his upcoming military service.
Following boot camp, Callahan will head to the Infantry Training Battalion for two months before beginning his active service
“Westfield graduates almost always go straight to college, and even though kids joining the military is rare from Westfield, I believe it is still a respected decision,” Callahan said.
Living all his life across the street from the Westfield Armory, Ben Kelly can trace back his aspirations to join the military to a young age, when he would watch war movies and shows about the latest high-tech fighting equipment.
Now Kelly will be joining the United States Military Academy at West Point as a member of their class of 2022. Due to a recent shoulder injury, he will start out at the West Point prep school.
“That program is essentially an extension of West Point, which is commonly referred to as a 47 month transformation, from a civilian into a military officer and leader of character,” Kelly said.
Kelly plans to specialize in engineering at West Point, as well as join the academy’s Division 1 rugby team.
Following his years at West Point, Kelly will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army and will be required to fulfill a commitment of five years active duty and three years reserve.
“Westfield is obviously a privileged town, but people recognize the dedication that is required to consciously make a decision the join the military from such a community,” Kelly said.
Ben Kwok sees his military service as great springboard for his ultimate career aspirations.
“Goals I have are to go to college, move to California and become a cop, then hopefully advance to a special unit,” Kwok said.
For now, Kwok will be enlisting in the Marines, specifically infantry. His training will require 13 weeks of boot camp and three months of infantry school.
“My influences to enlist came mostly from my family,” Kwok said. “My great uncle fought in the Korean War, my grandpa was in the army, along with my dad as well.”
Following high school, Jack Newhard knew that he wanted to do something different.
“Junior year I had no clue what I wanted to do and I hated the idea of college and debt so I looked into the service,” Newhard said. “I remember my mom pushing me towards college one night till I was on the verge of tears, so I just said I’m gonna sail around the world and make money doing it.”
The next day, he called his recruiter. Now, Newhard is enlisted in the Navy and has volunteered for the submarine division. After eight weeks of boot camp and 33 weeks of submarine computer engineering school, Newhard will be commissioned the job of SECF (Submarine Electronics and Computers Field).
“After the subs I hope to get a college education and become an officer. I want to make the Navy my whole career,” Newhard said. “I hope to give back to my family, present and future, as much as I can.”