Tragedy raised awareness of the military
On Sept. 11, 2001, Christopher Lutz was a student at Nevada Union High School.
On the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks, Lutz is in San Diego, training to become a U.S. Marine. Lutz was one of 40,000 people the U.S. Marine Corps recruited this year; he began boot camp Sept. 9.
The tragedy of Sept. 11 was not the reason why he decided to join the military, the 18-year-old said. He and other recruits spoke with The Union during a recent visit to the military recruitment center on Freeman Lane in Grass Valley.
“My family has been military for as far as I can remember,” Lutz said.
Matthew Wold of Grass Valley, a 2002 Nevada Union High School graduate who hopes to join the Marines, said the possibility that he may see combat does not worry him. “I know it will probably happen.”
Their recruiter, Sgt. Joe Morgan, said recruiting has not really changed since Sept. 11.
Morgan, who has worked in Grass Valley since January, said he had just started going to recruiting school when Sept. 11 occurred.
Not all 17-year-olds interested in signing up with the Marines are mature enough to join, said Morgan, whose main task is to screen candidates, who must be between the ages of 17 and 28. Parents of minors often believe their children will be sent to combat right after boot camp and decline to sign the required authorization papers, he also said.
Still, Sept. 11 has raised the awareness of the general public toward the military, Morgan and other recruiters said.
“People are more receptive to the idea of the military,” said Morgan’s boss, Sgt. William Johnson, who supervises an area that includes the Fair Oaks area in Sacramento, Placer County, western Nevada County, and half of Sierra County.
Representatives of the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps all said they will meet their recruiting goals for this year.
Navy Lt. Herlinda Rojas said the Navy is well on track to meet its goal of recruiting 46,500 people this year. The Navy also met its recruiting goal of 53,250 last year, she said.
Morgan said the number of boot camp spaces are limited and he recruits up to three, sometimes four, people a month.
The recruitment office in Grass Valley is used by the Navy, Army and Marine Corps. The closest U.S Air Force recruiter is in Yuba City.
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