Joining the Ranks

Graduation is just around the corner, and while some area students are making plans to attend college, others are making plans to attend basic training. Despite the raging war in Iraq, the students don't regret joining the ranks.

Phillip Pepper is a Tallahassee native who's never been farther than Atlanta, yet in less than one month the world as he knows it will change.

Phillip isn't going to college or entering the work force, he's joining the United States Marine Corps. However, Phillip doesn't doubt his decision to sign up. He says his passion for the Marines and American pride will carry him to the battlefield if need be, a sentiment shared by Ashley Ward, a senior joining the Navy.

"I going to miss out on my little sister’s graduation and things like that, but no fear of war," Ashley says.

The reality of war has touched this campus before when former Godby High School student, 21-year-old Robert Wise, was killed in action.

Hanging on the threshold of possible deployment, the path from high school could lead these seniors into harm’s way.

Phillip Pepper, a Godby High School senior, says, "If I do, I'll be a Marine that died doing what he loves, a Marine defending our country."

In the end, Pepper and Ward just hope their journey after high school will lead them to see the world. Local recruiters say the current situation in Iraq hasn't affected the number of those enlisting.