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Emma Chilen serves in the Army Reserve 


Emma Chilen climbs over a wall after balancing on a wooden beam. Part of the training is learning to get past obstacles in their way. Photo provided by Emma Chilen, 2023

Senior Emma Chilen first found out about the Army Reserve forces when she met a recruiter who spoke to her about the reserves and what it involved.

“Being in the Army [Reserve] I have gained skills I could never forget,” said Chilen. “I have gained memories, friends, education, and more. Being in the military has helped improve my way of living more and my level of responsibility. Plus I get to serve my country which is an honor I can’t really describe.”

Members of the Army Reserve may not be in the Army full time, but it is an integral part of the Army as they help ensure that it has enough backup at the ready when necessary in emergencies without having to pay for more full-time officers. 

The Army Reserve also offers an array of benefits for those who participate in the program.

The Army Reserve recruiter also explained to Chilen about the Split Training Option, which allows high school juniors to enlist at the age of 17 with parental consent and attend Basic Combat Training the summer after their junior year. This not only allows Chilen to get a head start on her postgraduate journey, but also to stay close to home while still serving in the Army.

Students in the Army Reserve also have to report to their unit one weekend out of every month to practice drills, which prepares soldiers for their active service. These days can be action-packed or slow, depending on the training involved that weekend.

Additionally, before getting into the program, students have to take the ASVAB – also known as the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery – a military test taken to determine the eligibility of an applicant. For most armed forces the score one must receive is a 31 or higher. Afterward,  the applicant must go through a medical examination and say the Oath of Enlistment at MEPS, a Military Entrance Processing Station, in Harrisburg, Pa., locking them into basic training.

When asked about why Chilen joined the Army Reserve, she said, “I have always had a desire to join — military has always been on my mind and I felt it was a great chance to push myself in ways I have never been pushed … .” 

The whole unit stands at a resting position watching a bonfire. They stand by the bonfire to celebrate earning their patches from basic training and celebrating that they are now in the Army Reserves. Photo provided by Emma Chilen, 2023.

Chilen went on to talk about what opportunities being in the reserves have opened up to her.

“I also find the benefits of the military will correspond with my life and I kind of want to relieve any financial challenges I might have in the future.”

Emma said she plans to go to college, and said that being in the Army reserves will help her financially.

Chil said she has been looking into the ROTC program to help her future in the military and cannot wait to explore the opportunities being enlisted offer her.

When asked about whether or not she has enjoyed the Army Reserve, Chilen said, “Yeah I do! I think the structure of the military is super helpful for me; it makes me feel good and I enjoy working with my coworkers and making memories.”

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