There's no life like it, says army reservist

By Tim Neufeld
Garden Valley Collegiate
Winkler, Manitoba

Many would ask what ever possessed me to join the army reserves. I see it as mostly a learning experience. By joining the reserves, I will enhance my physical as well as my mental abilities.

When most people think of the word "army", they would think of grueling hard work, little sleep, bad food - basically hell on earth. This is generally true with a few exceptions. It sounds bad but I will get to meet a lot of new people, get in good shape, and most of all, I'll get paid.

In the military, they don't just fire guns and learn how to kill people. They use and maintain various weapons, handle, sort, and store artillery ammunition, and learn how to engage in combat. They also establish line communications using radios and field telephones and drive and maintain various wheeled and tracked vehicles. So you can see that in the reserves you will not just learn to kill. There is a variety of skills and jobs to learn.

Despite what people may think, the food is actually good. There are dieticians making sure that the soldiers are getting the proper nutrition. This is also a good experience if you enjoy the outdoors as I do. In the military, you are exposed to extremes of weather and terrain, making for a good learning experience and making your body a stronger asset to yourself. During combat, you would be up against considerable physical exertion and extreme mental stress. If you are able to overcome all of this, it will make you stronger and less susceptible to it in the future.

To pursue a career in the army, you must be able to function well under pressure, work as part of a team, and be physically fit. In addition, you have to be self-reliant, courageous, and adaptable. I believe that I have many of these qualities and those that I do not possess, I hope to gain.

Another great reason for joining the reserves is that you are not obligated to continue an army career after the basic training. When the basic training is completed, you don't have to have anything else to do with the military unless you chose to do so.

By joining the reserves you are guaranteed to be paid. Most people are there for approximately 10 weeks and for that, they obtain from $3000 to $4000. If you are to return to the reserves at a later point in life, your rank goes up, as well as your pay and benefits.

Due to the fact that I don't want to remain home during the summer, this is a good way for me to get away. Three friends of mine will also be going to the reserves this summer making it a more comfortable surrounding for me.

Now you can see why I thought it was good idea for me to go into the army reserves. I see it as a learning experience that will strengthen me physically as well as mentally.