Veteran Ocean County GOP operative Frank Luna posteed this tonight on Facebook:
Army Infantry School (boot camp) at 36? Sure. Why not? In addition to starting an awesome job at JCP&L, I recently enlisted in the Army National Guard as an Infantryman. My journey of enlisting in the Army National Guard officially started a few months ago, but it has been on my mind for almost twenty years. After 9/11/01, I wanted to join the military, but my folks begged me not to, so I finished college. The thought of serving in the military has nagged at me for all these years.
I can remember being in awe of my grandfather, who served in the Army during World War II, and I have always admired our nation’s veterans. Perhaps my favorite thing about working with Congressman MacArthur was how focused he was on helping veterans and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Last year, a bit before Election Day, I told Congressman MacArthur that I was interested in joining the National Guard. He was beyond supportive (and still is). After the election, I cold-called a recruiter who told me I was too old for consideration. I reached out to Commander (and Assemblyman) Ryan Peters for his advice. He connected me with someone who told me that we could submit a “Request for Exception to Policy for Maximum Enlistment Age”.
So, one helluva recruiter, Sgt. Pedro Martinez, got the ball rolling. We collected document after document, did tests, calls, physicals, etc. I hopped on flights last minute to get back to NJ to do a bunch over the winter. Finally, my packet was submitted and we waited – for MONTHS. Then it came: I was “authorized to process for enlistment into the Army National Guard.” I kept my head down all winter. I trained like an animal. I read. I studied. I wrote. I interviewed for jobs. I trusted God. I worked towards my goals and prayed – RELENTLESSLY. The results are real. I ship to Army Infantry School in October. From Day 1 of this process, I leaned so heavily on two men that I genuinely respect and aspire to be like – Ryan Peters and Jay Hayden. Truth be told, Ryan was the only letter of recommendation I submitted (I would have asked Jay, too, but he’s family). I didn’t want to get in because I knew a bunch of politicians. I wanted to get in because they wanted me. Now, it’s time to bring it to the next level mentally, physically, and spiritually, as I prepare for training. Finally, and it goes without saying, but I am so grateful for my family. Their love and support has enabled me to live a life beyond my wildest dreams. I don’t even want to imagine where I’d be without them.