Friday, August 5, 2016

Trying the military life before enlistment - By Michelle Libby

Hunter Anderson has a long family history of military service dating back to WWII, most of that Navy service. After two weeks at Fort Devens in Devens, Massachusetts, as a sea cadet he has decided to enlist in the Navy upon graduation from Windham High School this year. 

“I started my enlistment paperwork last week,” Anderson said. He attended the New Recruit Training program in July at “Recruit Training Command – New England” as part of his commitment to the US Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Coast Guard Group Portland Division. 

Along with 200 other recruits and 100 staff, the two week session kept him busy with PT, classes in everything from wilderness survival and first aid to firefighting class and military customs and courtesy. 

While at Devens, Anderson was told that the program he was doing was tougher than Navy bootcamp and that “if you can make it through this. Regular Navy bootcamp is 1,000 times easier.” 

“I thought it was fun,” he said of the program, whose main goals were teamwork, accountability, self-discipline, self-confidence, physical fitness and basic military knowledge. 

He learned to mop and clean, often the recruits had to mop the floors three or four times a day, he said. 

“They were big on personal hygiene,” he said, which meant no facial hair at all. Anderson said he had to find time to shave a second time each day because his hair grew so fast. 

His favorite part of the training was “meeting all the new people and doing all the new adventures,” he said. He spoke highly of the staff training his division. Many were the same age as Anderson, but had been through the program in previous years. “There were there to help you,” he added. 

One of Anderson’s goals is to see “far off distant lands” on Naval ships. “I can’t wait,” he said. “I’d like to be on a ship so I can travel. If I had my choice, I’d choose a ship every day.” He grew up on the water often boating with his grandfather. Anderson also works on a lobster boat in the summer.
Anderson is a student at Windham High School and also attends PATHS vocational school for plumbing and heating, another family tradition. He played soccer until last year, but found the cadet training program at Windham High School and decided to join that. Although he missed the training week with them at WHS, he likes being part of the group. When not in school he enjoys fishing, hunting, boating and lobstering in Casco Bay. 

He sees himself going career Navy, but possibly becoming a game warden when his tour of duty is over. He is interested in two different jobs in the Navy and although they might change, he is set on being in a job that will keep him above deck for long stretches of time. The first job is gunner’s mate where he would operate every weapon on the ship. The second is a Seabees, the construction division of the Navy. 

“I’ve always been on the water. I can go places where you can’t go in a car,” he said. 

While at training at Devens, Anderson was appointed Leading Petty Officer of Alpha Division.

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