Chief Warrant Officer 2 Keith Joell, an information services technician for 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, embraces his son, Ke’Shaun, after administering the oath of enlistment to him during a ceremony at the Camp Zama recruiting office in Japan, July 20, 2022. Joell's two other sons, Geovanni, left, and Julius, hold the U.S. flag behind them. Almost 20 years ago, Joell enlisted into the Army in a nearby office when Ke’Shaun was a newborn baby.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chief Warrant Officer 2 Keith Joell, an information services technician for 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, embraces his son, Ke’Shaun, after administering the oath of enlistment to him during a ceremony at the Camp Zama recruiting office in Japan, July 20, 2022. Joell's two other sons, Geovanni, left, and Julius, hold the U.S. flag behind them. Almost 20 years ago, Joell enlisted into the Army in a nearby office when Ke’Shaun was a newborn baby. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo) VIEW ORIGINAL
Keith Joell, now a chief warrant officer two assigned to U.S. Army Japan, holds his newborn son, Ke’Shaun, at Narita International Airport, Japan, before shipping out to basic training April 26, 2003. Joell recently administered the oath of enlistment to Ke’Shaun during a ceremony at the Camp Zama recruiting office, July 20, 2022.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Keith Joell, now a chief warrant officer two assigned to U.S. Army Japan, holds his newborn son, Ke’Shaun, at Narita International Airport, Japan, before shipping out to basic training April 26, 2003. Joell recently administered the oath of enlistment to Ke’Shaun during a ceremony at the Camp Zama recruiting office, July 20, 2022. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

CAMP ZAMA, Japan — As his fiancee looked on, cradling their first newborn child, Keith Joell raised his right hand inside the recruiter’s office here in 2003 and enlisted into the Army.

Shortly after, he shipped off to basic training to begin a career he hoped would take care of his budding family.

Almost 20 years and three more kids later, Joell, now a chief warrant officer two assigned to U.S. Army Japan, recently enlisted into the Army his eldest child, Ke’Shaun, who has grown up to chart his own path.

“I was proud of him,” Joell said, adding that he had the minimum rank to preside over the oath of enlistment ceremony here. “I was blessed, humbled and happy that I made it to the rank, where I can actually raise my right hand with him and administer the oath.”

Ke’Shaun, 19, thought about his future after he graduated last year from Zama Middle High School, where his father also graduated when Ke’Shaun’s grandfather served at Camp Zama as a first sergeant for USARJ.

The smiling, talkative teenager considered his options as his parents provided him information about the military and college. Much of his tuition could be covered by his father’s G.I. Bill benefits while he lived at home to save money.

But the allure of independence proved to be too strong. Ke’Shaun finally decided to sign a four-year enlistment to become a 36B, or financial management technician — a different route from the information services role his father holds at the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.

“I wanted to branch off and do my own thing,” he said.

With an interest in the stock market, Ke’Shaun spends much of his free time zeroed in on investing apps. One day he hopes to manage a hedge fund, executing aggressive trades on behalf of clients.

“I love day trading; it’s like an adrenaline rush,” he said. “I’m always studying and trying to learn, because I realize if you’re good enough, it could be a way to make some really good money.”

He admits he will still need years of education to land his dream job. While in the Army, he plans to use tuition assistance to tackle college courses and certifications to help him get an entry-level job in the financial sector after the military.

Ke’Shaun Joell, left, signs some paperwork for his recruiter, Sgt. 1st Class Jason Blowers, inside the Camp Zama recruiting office in Japan, Sept. 2, 2022. Ke’Shaun plans to ship off for basic training in early October to become a financial management technician in the Army.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Ke’Shaun Joell, left, signs some paperwork for his recruiter, Sgt. 1st Class Jason Blowers, inside the Camp Zama recruiting office in Japan, Sept. 2, 2022. Ke’Shaun plans to ship off for basic training in early October to become a financial management technician in the Army. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Keith Joell, center, who is assigned to U.S. Army Japan, and his son, Ke’Shaun, speak with his recruiter, Sgt. 1st Class Jason Blowers, at the Camp Zama recruiting office in Japan, Sept. 2, 2022. Joell administered the oath of enlistment to Ke’Shaun during a ceremony at the office in late July.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chief Warrant Officer 2 Keith Joell, center, who is assigned to U.S. Army Japan, and his son, Ke’Shaun, speak with his recruiter, Sgt. 1st Class Jason Blowers, at the Camp Zama recruiting office in Japan, Sept. 2, 2022. Joell administered the oath of enlistment to Ke’Shaun during a ceremony at the office in late July. (Photo Credit: Sean Kimmons) VIEW ORIGINAL

His recruiter, Sgt. 1st Class Jason Blowers, said the Army is a treasure trove of opportunities that can provide Soldiers a step up if they decide to venture into the civilian workforce.

“A lot of kids going to college these days, they have that knowledge but they don’t have that experience,” Blowers said. “Corporations and businesses are looking for that experience, and the Army is a good way to help gain it while gaining that education as well.”

There are also other incentives, such as bonuses up to $50,000 or a duty station of their choice, for new recruits. Blowers stressed his role as a recruiter isn’t to force someone to join, but only to guide them, whether they end up in the Army or elsewhere.

“We’re not going to kidnap them in the middle of the night and shove them on a plane,” he said. “We’re here to ensure that they get what they are looking for and they get on their path.”

For Ke’Shaun, his journey starts in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where he will travel next month to complete initial military training.

“I’m working out, prepping myself to be ready and hopefully fly through basic training without any trouble,” he said. “Of course, since my dad is in the Army, he tells me what’s going to happen, so it gives me a little advantage.”

He will also soon weigh a bit lighter when he cuts off his impressive afro hairdo he began growing during the pandemic, which he plans to donate to a local charity.

“I’m not sad I have to shave it off, but it will be unfortunate to see my bald head,” he said, smiling. “My head is going to look so small.”

Pvt. Keith Joell, now a chief warrant officer two assigned to U.S. Army Japan, poses for a photo with his wife, Windy, and their son, Ke’Shaun, while attending advanced individual training. Joell administered the oath of enlistment to Ke’Shaun during a ceremony at the Camp Zama recruiting office, July 20, 2022.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Pvt. Keith Joell, now a chief warrant officer two assigned to U.S. Army Japan, poses for a photo with his wife, Windy, and their son, Ke’Shaun, while attending advanced individual training. Joell administered the oath of enlistment to Ke’Shaun during a ceremony at the Camp Zama recruiting office, July 20, 2022. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo) VIEW ORIGINAL
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Keith Joell, who is assigned to U.S. Army Japan, poses for a photo with his family inside the Camp Zama recruiting office in Japan, July 20, 2022. In the background are Ke’Shaun and Geovanni, and in the foreground are Julius, Angelina Sky, and Joell's wife, Windy. Joell administered the oath of enlistment to Ke’Shaun at the same installation where he enlisted into the Army when Ke’Shaun was a newborn baby.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chief Warrant Officer 2 Keith Joell, who is assigned to U.S. Army Japan, poses for a photo with his family inside the Camp Zama recruiting office in Japan, July 20, 2022. In the background are Ke’Shaun and Geovanni, and in the foreground are Julius, Angelina Sky, and Joell's wife, Windy. Joell administered the oath of enlistment to Ke’Shaun at the same installation where he enlisted into the Army when Ke’Shaun was a newborn baby. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

His father, who previously served as a sergeant first class before commissioning, has continued to offer his son tips on how to prepare for the rigors of military training.

“He grew up in a house of discipline, so I know that’s going to translate to [being ready for] his drill sergeants,” Joell said.

He told his son to keep a straight face and be respectful to his drill sergeants, who will eventually move on to someone else who will make a mistake and get their attention.

“It’s a mental game,” Joell said. “As long as you know you have emotional control, you’ll smooth-sail through basic training. I tell him to treat it like a video game.”

And once his son becomes a Soldier, Joell said Ke’Shaun will need to understand how to interact with others in his unit. After living in several duty locations from Germany, Japan to stints in the United States, he believes his son has already been primed for success.

“My biggest advice to him is knowing people,” he said. “The Army is the Army. It’s the individual people that are the reason why people get in or out of the Army.

“He’s learned to network and meet new people, so he understands how to deal with [them].”

Joell said the Army brings people together to form a cohesive team, where experienced mentors are willing to support their teammates and make them stronger.

“It’s an opportunity to progress as a person,” he said, “and you have a lot of supervisors that have also gone through the trials and tribulations, and they help you.”

Even if Ke’Shaun goes to serve in a faraway place, his family will still be there for him, just as they were when he enlisted at the new Camp Zama recruiting office in late July.

Inside the office, located next to the building where his father joined the Army decades ago, Ke’Shaun recited the same oath as his mother held another newborn — Ke’Shaun’s youngest sibling — and his two younger brothers held the U.S. flag behind him and his father.

“It’s full circle,” Joell said of the touching moment. “We will still be there every step of the way to support him, but the fact that he is on his own is amazing.”

For more information on careers in the Army, visit GoArmy.com.

Related links:

U.S. Army Garrison Japan news

USAG Japan official website