Students in reserves called out of school

Earl Warren College sophomore Sam Ahn, a member of the Marine Corps Reserves, was activated on Feb. 21 and is dealing with his sudden withdrawal from classes and the possibility of being sent overseas.

Ahn was told that he must report for active duty on Feb. 27 and that he would be in service for at least a year, no longer than two.

Ahn always wanted to be part of the Marine Corps, but during the eighth week of winter quarter, and under his position as the new Warren College Student Council Commissioner of Athletics, the call also meant leaving many things behind.

“”I joined the reserves because I basically grew up admiring the Marines,”” Ahn said. “”It was something I’ve always wanted to do. When I found out I could be in the military and still go to college through the reserves, it sounded perfect.””

While Ahn said he is prepared for active duty, he stated that the timeliness of his activation could have been better for his academic record.

“”School-wise, I’m pissed off,”” Ahn said. “”They could have activated me before the quarter began, but now it’s eighth week and I have to drop out.””

Ahn said that two of his professors are allowing him to receive credit based on his performance on previous exams and assignments. The other two classes were, in Ahn’s words, “”a waste of time.””

Ahn also feels bad about leaving his Warren College Student Council position.

“”I have a lot of friends in the student council,”” Ahn said. “”It was fun.””

Ahn’s reserves program is not the same as the popular Reserve Officers Training Corps program, although the two have similarities.

The ROTC program trains men and women to serve as commissioned officers in the both the Navy and the Marine Corps. Members of the ROTC program are all college students, attending school full-time. Many students enjoy ROTC scholarships to assist with tuition.

“”Members of my Marine Corps Reserves program may be anything from doctors and lawyers to students,”” Ahn said. “”I only know one other UCSD student in my program. But I know a bunch of guys on other UC campuses waiting for the same thing.””

There are reserves programs for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Reservists undergo the same rigorous training as full-time soldiers, such as boot camp for basic training and advanced training. Reserves in these programs are required to work for the military one weekend a month, or two and a half weeks per year. They also maintain the possibility of sudden activation and being stationed overseas in times of national conflict or tension.

Ahn hasn’t been told where he will be stationed. He believes the chances of his being stationed in the United States are slim.

“”I’m 99 percent sure I’ll be going overseas, and I’m also pretty sure it will be in the Middle East,”” Ahn said, judging from the desert boots and desert supplies the military provided him with. “”But I don’t know whether I’ll be in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey … although if I did know, I wouldn’t be at liberty to say.””

Ahn said that he felt honored to serve his country in the military, but that he is still unsure as to what to expect if he were in battle.

“”Of course I’m scared,”” Ahn said. “”No one wants to go to war and die. But we knew what we signed up for, and I’ve been psyching myself up for this.””