Sunday, September 23, 2001

Marines enlist local teen

Northwest High student eager to serve

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOUISVILLE — Northwest High School senior Keith Isaacs said he has been dreaming of joining theMarine Corps since he was in the seventh grade, and Saturday his dream came true.

        Mr. Isaacs was sworn into the Marine Corps on Saturday morning at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) here, although he won't go to boot camp until next August, after he has finished high school.

[photo] Marine recruit Keith Isaacs, 17, of Colerain Township undergoes a physical conducted Saturday by Dr. Stuart E. Harlowe at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Louisville.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        The terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., didn't dissuade him but, rather, made enlisting now more important, said the Colerain Township teen-ager.

        “I've thought about the Marines for a long time,” he said.

        “There are a lot of good people in the Marine Corps. It's where I want to be. I've considered what happened with the attacks .... It's been on my mind. I know I could see combat, but that's what the Marines are all about.”

        Mr. Isaacs was one of about two dozen young men and women at the Louisville MEPS undergoing physical examinations, deciding on their career track in the military, and being sworn in to serve.

        “I've talked seriously about the Marines for a couple of years, and my parents didn't say too much one way or the other,” he said.

        “But when I said I was ready to sign up a couple of months ago, they had some reservations. But they signed for me.”

        He selected infantry training as his choice of job after boot camp, a clear indication that he has no qualms about being involved in combat.

        Another young man from Greater Cincinnati, 21-year-old Ben Salyers of Fairfield, also went through the physical and the paper work at MEPS, but he was not sworn in.

        “I'll do it later,” he said. “I have all the other stuff out of the way now. I've wanted to be a Marine since I was 15. I'm ready to go. I want to make the Marines a career.”

        Army Capt. Andy Epstein, who administered the oath to Mr. Isaacs, congratulated him on “accepting the challenge” of military service.

        “This is not something to be taken lightly,” Capt. Epstein said. “Especially now, considering what has happened in recent days. It shows a lot of guts. And what you are doing here is really important.”

        Army 1st Sgt. James McLimore, a 23-year veteran of the military, said the processing station has been busy since the attacks on Sept. 11.

        “I would have to say we are seeing more recruits coming through here in the past week than normal,” he said.

        “There's a real spirit rising in the country, I believe, and one of the ways it is being demonstrated is the number of people wanting to enlist. It's impressive.”

        Mr. Isaacs returned home Saturday afternoon to continue his senior year of high school, during which he will be under the scrutiny of his recruiters.

        “He's in what we call the delayed entry program,” said Staff Sgt. Chester Wilson of the Marine recruiting office in Pleasant Ridge.

        “While he's completing school, we'll check to make sure he's maintaining his grades, that he's keeping in good physical condition, and that he graduates.”


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