Adina Mayo – Mustangs Ahead
(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – LRHS junior Blaze McMichael will return to school next Fall a member of the US military.
McMichael is currently a cadet in the LRHS Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) program and has chosen to do the Army’s Split Option program.
According to the U.S. Army website, “Seventeen-year-olds by the hundreds enter basic combat training throughout the Army every summer, then return to complete their senior year of high school under the Army’s Split Option program.”
The website continued, “Available only to those in the National Guard, the program allows them to follow up with advanced individual training after their senior year.”
McMichael said this decision has been a long time coming.
“Growing up in Ohio, my dad always took me to Army bases when I was around 4 or 5. He used to always let me go into the tanks, play with the guys,” said McMichael.
“One time, my dad took me into the armory to show me all the weapons and everything. I tried picking up a .50 caliber machine gun,” he continued.
McMichael plans to go into the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program at Manatee Technical College’s (MTC) East Campus. His parents are supportive of his plans for his future.
“I found out about the Split-Option program through my parents, by I did my own research, too,” said McMichael. “They were a little hesitant, but they’re okay with it. They knew they weren’t going to stop me from going into the service.”
Lt. Colonel Richard Roller, the Senior Army Instructor (SAI) for the LRHS JROTC program, said, “We don’t push for kids to go into the service, but we support and encourage those that are committed to it. He’s one of those students, and he’s found the path that’s right for him.”
McMichael leaves for basic training on May 20 for the summer.