3 brothers continue tradition of service in Army
July 15, 2013
MILWAUKEE -- When Adam Schuk enlisted in the Army in February it was expected. Ever since he was in middle school he told everyone he knew that he would enlist. So when the 2013 graduate of West Allis Central High School joined it was no surprise. But when his two older brothers, Ryan and Brandon, also decided to enlist, it was a surprise to everyone - including their parents.
"We knew where Adam was going, but the other two were a surprise," said their father, William Schuk. Their mother agreed.
"For me it was a little bit of a shock. We knew they were talking about it. But in my mind I guess I was kind of like we'll just see what happens," said their mother Pam Schuk.
What happened was that the three brothers enlisted in the Army within a four-month period. Their enlistment is a part of a family tradition of service to country. From a grandfather who served in the Army in the late '40s to their cousin, Sgt. Richard King, who is their recruiter, the family is intermixed with relatives who have served in all branches of the military. The family tree includes an Army general and an uncle who is currently serving as a chief warrant officer five who has flown Blackhawks in Iraq and Afghanistan. The uncle, David, was one of the brothers' main influences for joining.
The influence to enlist started at a young age for the brothers. The family took vacations to visit David wherever the Army stationed him throughout the United States. He took the family to see the helicopters he flew and showed them around the base. When the brothers were little they all received an army uniform with their name on it. That gift would prove to be prophetic.
It came as no surprise that Adam, the youngest of the brothers, was the first to enlist. After all, it was all he had talked about since a young age. Following in his uncle's boots he enlisted as a Black Hawk Helicopter Repairer.
"I'm not one to sit in a classroom," said Adam. "I just wanted to enlist right away. I wanted to get my life started as soon as I could. When I found out my cousin Richard was a recruiter I started talking to him as soon as I could."
Before he graduated high school and with his parents consent Adam joined the Army.
"Basically I am doing the same exact thing that my uncle did by starting out as a Black Hawk Repairer and then going on to be a crew chief one day," said Adam. "That is the same track that he took. I just kind of want to do the same exact thing he did in his career."
Adam was soon followed by his oldest brother, Ryan, who enlisted as a Military Policeman. Ryan will follow in his father's footsteps as well as the family tradition of service to country. The patriarch of the Schuk family recently retired from the West Allis police department.
"I have always had an interest in law enforcement," said Ryan. "My dad being in law enforcement for more than 20 years sparked my interest. It is pretty much a new start in life. With housing and health care, pay and college benefits, even if I don't decide to make it a career I will be pretty much set for life."
Ryan went to college for police sciences at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, but did not feel comfortable in the classroom. He still had the desire to be a police officer but wanted to find another route to get to that goal. To Ryan the Army seemed the logical move.
"I was doing research on the benefits of the Army before I joined, what it can offer me and what I can offer the Army as well," said Ryan. "It is probably the best decision I ever made."
With two other brothers already enlisted the decision was easy for Brandon. Wanting to also follow in his father's footsteps he looked at the Army to give him the training that would help him to become a police officer one day. At the beginning of June he followed his brother's lead and enlisted.
"I hope to get good skills to become a police officer when I do get out," said Brandon. "I'm pretty much going to see what happens in the beginning and if I enjoy it I might make it a career or I might just leave after my first enlistment and try to become a police officer."
For the brothers having a cousin serving as an Army recruiter made the enlistment process easier. But King said it added a bit of stress to the enlistment process.
"It was quite a challenge. I was worried I would disappoint them or not be able to get them what they wanted," said King. "Although I have that worry with all my applicants, it really kicks up when it is family."
With the enlistment process complete and the brothers preparing to begin training in September, the only surprise left for the Schuk family is how far the brothers will go in their Army careers.