Sunday, March 11, 2007

Perspective: Where the U.S. military is the family business

Above: High school students in American Samoa. Left: After graduating, there is very little alternative to joining the military.

LEONE, American Samoa -- In a sleepy village on the western shores of this remote and beautiful island, the Junior ROTC instructor asks his young cadets to step forward if they have decided what to do after graduating from high school in the spring.

Of 12 seniors, half march ahead to say they already have committed to a branch of the U.S. military.

Three more indicate they are considering it.

The last three stay put. They're interested in the military but have failed tests required for entry.

Emosi Time, a lanky boy in a perfectly pressed uniform, quietly explains to a visitor his decision to sign up for the Army Reserves: He hopes it will help his family financially, covering part of his college tuition. And few other job opportunities exist on this impoverished South Pacific outpost that has been a U.S. territory for more than a century.

Read the rest at the Chicago Tribune