New recruits were sworn in to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines in a ceremony yesterday at Pearl Harbor.

35 local recruits take oath
in joint military ceremony

The ambitious bunch hopes time
in uniform will lead to careers

By Gregg K. Kakesako

Promises of excitement, travel, and duty to country helped lead 35 men and women to choose the military as a career yesterday.

Conrad Clegg, who will graduate from Waipahu High School on Sunday, said the events of Sept. 11 "motivated me more to see what I can do for my country."

Clegg, 17, said he chose the Marine Corps because he thought it would help him to excel after high school. "It's all about leadership. That's one of my career goals and the Marines can help me there.

"I want to be top notch," he said. "My family was proud of me when I told them I wanted to join the Marines because I am doing something with my life."

Air Force Capt. Sean Cotter, deputy commander of the Honolulu Military Entrance Processing Station at Pearl Harbor, said he hopes yesterday's joint service mass swearing-in ceremony will become annual event.

Leaso Fetaiai, 17, said she started in January looking at the Army to help her attain her goal of becoming a lawyer.

"I have an uncle and aunt who are in the military," said the Farrington High School senior. They "pushed me to consider the military because of the benefits -- good pay, education and schooling."

Before he administered the oath that military recruits have been taking since 1789, Pacific Fleet deputy commander Rear Adm. Robert Willard spoke about the war on terrorism.

"Our country is at war," said Willard. He predicted that "the global war on terrorism will extend into many years" and will mean that many of yesterday's recruits will have to serve and fight that war.

Fetaiai said that fact "doesn't bother me at all."

Among the 13 new Navy recruits was Herlyn Cortez, a 1996 Pearl City High School graduate, who said she chose the Navy because it will help her obtain her nursing degree.

"I also think the Navy will help me discover myself," she said.

Ray Graham, spokesman for the Army's Honolulu recruiting command, said the military had hoped to swear in 100 new recruits yesterday. "But many of them are students and had conflicts with school and other activities and couldn't make it."

Besides the 13 Navy recruits, there were 12 from the Army, six from the Marine Corps, and four from the Air Force at yesterday's ceremony.

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