OGDEN — That he would enlist in the U.S. Army, said Griffin Bird, was a no-brainer.
“I just feel like it was what I should do. We have a wonderful country and we need people to protect that and I believe I’m one of those people,” he said.
Bird, from Syracuse, is a senior at the Utah Military Academy in Riverdale and won’t jump fully into the Army until after he graduates next year. But he’s committed, has already filled out his enlistment paperwork, and U.S. Army reps held a ceremony Friday to thank him and 19 other young recruits also joining the Army for their willingness to serve. A handful of those taking part on Friday will leave Monday for the start of basic training, though others don’t start until later.
Sgt. 1st Class Eddie Quimby, a recruiter, was there, and he said Friday’s ceremony was the first of what he hopes becomes a quarterly event.
“We wanted to celebrate each of our future soldiers who have already enlisted in the U.S. Army,” he said. “The community is supporting your decision to serve your country.”
Jennie Taylor of North Ogden, civilian liaison in Utah to the U.S. Army and widow of Brent Taylor, a Utah Army National Guard major killed while deployed to Afghanistan in 2018, was also on hand. One of the key purposes of the event was to thank the future soldiers for their willingness to serve, she said, but it also aimed to recognize their families as well.
“This is a big deal. This is awesome, and you’re kind of enlisting, too. They need your support,” she told the crowd of parents, grandparents, siblings and others, who gathered at the Army Reserves Readiness Center in Ogden. “I hope your heart is bursting with pride over your future soldier.”
Weber County Commission Jim Harvey also addressed the group, echoing the laudatory remarks. “Your decision is very unselfish,” he said.
‘GOT TO DO MY PART’
Among the recruits, a common theme was love of country and a desire to serve it.
Ricardo Alvarado, a security guard in Salt Lake City, starts basic training in November. “The United States is still one of the best countries in the world. I want to show everyone we can still be proud of being an American,” he said.
Hayden Stackhouse of Plain City, now working at Taco Bell, said it was pretty much inevitable he would end up in the military. His dad, Randy Stackhouse, served 21 years in the Army and his older brother is in the U.S. Air Force. He’s to start basic training at Fort Sill in Oklahoma next May.
“I was just born into it. It’s all I know,” Hayden Stackhouse said. “I got to do my part, like everyone else.”
His dad expressed pride at his son’s decision. “I’m just happy that’s what he wanted to do,” the elder Stackhouse said.
He also had a bit of advice. “Do what you’re told, pretty much,” he said.