CARMEL, California -- When Presidio of Monterey Soldiers visit this wealthy hamlet just south of the installation, it's for the magnificent ocean views, the unique dining experiences, charming retail shops and art galleries that attract hundreds of thousands of tourists a year.
With an average household income over $82,000 and median home value in excess of $1 million, Carmel wouldn't seem a fertile ground for Army recruiting.
The school's Career Day was March 3 and two Soldiers from the 229th Military Intelligence Battalion were invited to talk about their Army careers to more than 40 students from all grades.
"We had the privilege of speaking to number of young adults who are at very pivotal moments in their lives about careers in the military," said 1st Lt. Alexander Kim, Company F executive officer. "The important fact that we wanted to convey was whatever career field they wanted to pursue, the military is able to assist them to get there through financial support or leadership opportunities."
He and Staff Sgt. Brooke Picone of the battalion S3 staff spoke to three class periods that morning. They were joined by recruiters from the Air Force and Marine Corps.
Recruiter Staff Sgt. Emmanuel Olascoaga has enlisted a Carmel High senior each of the last two years and reports that the school is open to recruiters being there.
Picone thought the teenagers were receptive, engaged and interested in the presentations by all the service members.
"I think we did a good job of representing the diversity within our ranks that makes us a fluid and dynamic fighting force," she said. "I was pleased with the diversity of the panel itself. All the services were represented and we all had numerous and varied perspectives to offer."
As Olascoaga's work shows, even young people from affluent communities see the advantages of putting on the uniform.
"It was an eye-opening experience for me to see students wanting to serve their country at their age, with no family backgrounds in the military," Kim said.