Pvt. Travis McKinney has completed his Basic Combat Training for the United States Army National Guard, at Fort Jackson, S.C.
He is the son of Greg and Deanna McKinney and a senior at Iola-Scandinavia High School.
"I decided to join the National Guard and get my career started. This way I will be a year ahead of where I would be if I waited until after graduation.
"I had looked at a few other career fields, but nothing really popped out at me. I knew I wanted to go to college but had not decided on my career yet.
"When I saw that the pay and the benefits with the Army National Guard were the same or a little better than the workforce, I knew that
this was the route I wanted to take. I am able to start my career when I am 17, go to college full time and still retire in my early 40s." he said.
Military life was somewhat of an adjustment for McKinney.
"The heat and humidity of South Carolina was not something I was used to," he said. "Overall, Basic Training was not too bad. Physically, the
ruck marches were the worst. I think the hardest part was not having any communication or knowing what is going on in the outside world."
McKinney will graduate from I-S High School in May of 2013.
Upon graduation, he will travel to Fort Sill, Okla., where he will go through Field Artillery training.
"My home base will be out of Stevens Point once I complete schooling," he said. "That will make it much easier for me to go to college."
Following his training, McKinney plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He has not decided on a major yet.
"After I graduate from college, I will enlist full-time in the Army," he said.
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