A promise to serve

Paul Valencia
Paul Valencia

VANCOUVER — They marched into the arena like they were already soldiers.

By the time they marched out, they had sworn the oath of enlistment as more than a thousand people stood and applauded.

“Everyone loves a little appreciation once in awhile,” said 18-year-old Marcelino Hincapie.

He was one of 14 U.S. Army recruits from Clark County who were sworn in Monday just prior to the final performance of the 2017 Vancouver Rodeo at the Clark County Saddle Club.

“It’s really great for our future soldiers to see that people have their back,” said Staff Sgt. Juan J. Rodriguez, the non-commissioned officer in charge of Monday’s ceremony. “This whole crowd represents the region they serve.”

Capt. Brian J. Boyd administered the oath to the recruits. He said public ceremonies are important to remind people that we all are together.

“There is no separation between the Army and the people we serve,” Boyd said.

The ceremony came just before the start of the rodeo. The grand entry featured dozens of horses, riders, and more American flags before the national anthem was performed. In all, about 20 minutes of red, white, and blue, a celebration of freedom on the day before Independence Day.

Two riders bring in flags near a U.S. Army vehicle at the start of a swearing in ceremony for local recruits Monday at the Vancouver Rodeo. Photo by Paul Valencia
Two riders bring in flags near a U.S. Army vehicle at the start of a swearing in ceremony for local recruits Monday at the Vancouver Rodeo. Photo by Paul Valencia

Some of the 14 recruits will be reporting for basic training in the coming months. Others are still in high school and are part of the delayed entry program and will be going to basic training upon graduation. Of these future soldiers, the graduates or current students come from these high schools: Battle Ground, Columbia River, Fort Vancouver, Hudson’s Bay, Prairie, Ridgefield, Skyview, and the Vancouver School for the Arts.

The recruits told ClarkCountyToday.com their military occupation specialties, and some gave their reasons for joining the Army:

Chris Anderson, 18

  • MOS: 13F (Fire support specialist with airborne)
  • “Something I’ve always had an interest in from a very young age.”

Jake Churchill, 17

  • MOS: 19D (Cavalry scout) “The eyes and ears of the commander,” he said.
  • “I felt the Army could do the most for me. You get out of it what you put into it, and I get to serve my country while doing it. That’s pretty cool.”

Logan Costner, 17

  • MOS: 11X (Infantry)
  • “I want to jump out of airplanes and it’s the only branch that could guarantee me my job.”

Nicklaus Daley, 18

  • MOS: 11X (Infantry)
  • “Nothing else better to be. I want to be out there with my brothers, supporting them.”

Jacob Figueras, 17

  • MOS: 68W (Combat medic, with airborne}
  • “It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”

Kyle Harrell, 17

  • MOS: 35F (Intelligence analyst)
Marcelino Hincapie
Marcelino Hincapie

Marcelino Hincapie, 18

  • MOS: 35F (Intelligence analyst) with airborne.
  • “I’ve always had an attraction to the military. The Army had the best job opportunities.”

Peyton Holmberg, 17

  • MOS: 19D (Cavalry scout)
  • “To serve with my brothers. It seems to be a way to make a difference.”

Gabriel Jonas, 18

  • MOS: 12T (Technical engineer)

Casey Morgan, 18

  • MOS: 35N (Signals intelligence)
  • “Army is the best suit for me.”

Bradley Munson, 17

  • Airborne

Ryan Petrie, 17

  • MOS: 31B (Miliary police)

Joseph Ritola, 20

  • MOS: 18X (Special Forces candidate)
  • “Something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Shawn Szueber, 19

  • MOS: 19K (M1 Armor Crewman)
  • “I’ve always wanted to join, always wanted to serve.”
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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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