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Double Major

Feature June 2010


Discovering the pasts of our hallways’ commanding officers DONG DONG GUO Staff Writer

LAINEY SIDELL Sports Editor The Westword: What made you decide to enlist in the Army? Sergeant Major Finick: I was doing construction work and a lot of guys on the job were talking about their experiences and I just decided to join. The Marine recruiter was out to lunch; that’s how I ended up in the Army. I have no regrets, though, because things worked out for the best after all. TW: How long did you serve in the Army? What was the best part of coming home? SMF: I served for 25 years. The Army was my home. You’re eligible to retire after 20 years, and I did five more. It wasn’t a matter of coming home, it was [a matter of] changing careers. TW: What does your title mean? SMF: It is the rank that I retired from the Army with. It is the highest enlisted rank. TW: What was the worst part of joining the Army? The best? SMF: The worst was time away from my family, because I was away for extended periods of time. The best was the camraderie and the close friendships and brotherships with the men that I served with. I’ve been to over 20 countries and got the opportunity to travel and experience other cultures. TW: What did you learn from serving in the Army? SMF: I learned to appreciate all walks of life, cultures, and religions. I learned to see people for their skills rather than what they look like. Serving is what it is; it’s service. The military tries to instill teamwork. You learn that not everything is about you, it’s about the team. TW: Serving in the Army and teaching are two very different vocations. Did you ever think that you would be a teacher? SMF: I thought a lot about becoming a teacher after my military career. I wanted to be in a position to teach kids. It’s not only a second career but a way of honoring people who influenced me, because now I can influence others. TW: What would you say to a student who might be interested in joining JROTC? SMF: I would ask them to talk to other kids in JROTC. It’s a great program; we have strict rules but it’s a great learning experience and will teach you skills that you wouldn’t learn anywhere else.

It’s not all about the military. I do my best to help students learn to make the right choices. TW: How does JROTC benefit students? What do you hope to teach students? SMF: Our curriculum is very varied and not all about military skills. [JROTC is] just a vehicle to help build confidence and leadership skills. It helps kids with things outside of school in a way that no other program can. TW: How much longer do you want to be a teacher at Westhill? Any plans after that? SMF: Indefinitely. There might be a point where I’m walking on a cane, but I’ll do this for as long as I’m physically able to. I often thought about becoming a guidance counselor. There will be a time where I can’t do this anymore and I still want to contribute to young people by being a guidance counselor.

Sgt. Major Finick

Major Weber

The Westword: For how long did you serve in the Army? What was your position? Major Weber: I served in the Army for seven years as a major. TW: What are the responsibilities of a Major? MW: Each job is different. In command, you talk care of health, welfare and training [and more]. As a staff officer, it’s logistics. It changes. TW: How would you describe your military life and your experiences in the Army? MW: It was a learning experience and adventure. I lived all around the world; I have been to 81 countries and lived on many of them. It was quite a cultural experience. TW: What made you want to join the Army?

MW: I joined the Army because I wanted the educational benefits as well to be able to serve my country. Also, I wanted to travel and see the world. TW: What were the best and worst parts of being in the Army? MW: The best part was the growth in myself and being able to travel. The worst was being separated from my family, and having to travel. TW: What are some of the obstacles you have faced? MW: It’s hard to say, [but] getting an education was a struggle for me because I didn’t have enough money for it, so I had to find ways to get it. I had to work. The GI Bill also helped me receive an education. TW: How did you become a teacher? MW: When I was ready to retire from the Army, I was looking for a job that would challenge me as well as be fun and rewarding. I also wanted to do something that would allow me to give something back to the community, and teaching was it. TW: What would you say to someone who is interested in joining JROTC? MW: Come talk to us. You don’t know until you find out. [JROTC is] “the class that doesn’t fit in a textbook.” TW: What are your thoughts on Westhill? MW: I think it’s a great, vibrant community. I was looking for a teaching job and the principal at that time needed an instructor for the JROTC. He called General Konnitzer and he recommended me for the job. I came here, interviewed for the job, and loved it. I have been here ever since. TW: What was your dream before you joined the Army? MW: I wanted to be an oceanographer before [I decided to join the Army]. There were only two schools for that, but I couldn’t afford them. I went to a medical school instead, but I couldn’t afford the tuition after two years, so I went to the Army. TW: What are your goals for your future? MW: I want to work on my doctrine and I am going to be ordained as a pastor in our church this October. TW: How successful do you think the JROTC programs is? MW: I think it’s very successful. Our cadets have better grades and attendance and they are able to get jobs and into good colleges easier thanks to the JROTC program.


Discovering the pasts of our hallways’ commanding officers F eature DONG DONG GUO Staff Writer LAINEY SIDELL Sports Editor June 2010

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