Always Known

Senior Skyler Barfield has wanted to go into the army since she was ten years old


Photo Courtesy: S. Barfield

Senior Skyler Barfield smiles for her senior photos

Ashley McFadden, Editor

  The military isn’t always students’ first choice after high school. Some will join out of necessity, but others, like senior Skyler Barfield, it’s a career path they’ve always planned on. Barfield has known what she has wanted to do since she was 10-years-old.
“I decided when I was 10 that I was going to join the army. I had always wanted to do something great and I wanted to follow in my grandpa’s footsteps,” Barfield said. “My biggest influence for what I wanted to do after high school was my grandfather. He was in the army and I looked up to him from day one.”
Throughout her school career, both middle and high, Barfield has trained for powerlifting competitions through the weights and conditioning class with coach Jason Morrow. Her training has taught her to persevere, preparing her for the army.
“I think it has prepared me mentally and physically. It pushes me everyday to get better physically,” she said.
Barfield’s friend, senior Isabelle Jaquish, has seen her through the tough times and as Barfield has grown and shown her mental and physical toughness.
“Skyler has always had a desire to join the army, so it is something she has mentally prepared for a long time. On top of that, she has been lifting and training during this time. Therefore, Skyler is physically ready. From here, all she needs to be successful is the training for her job, and she will do great,” Jaquish said.
The weights and conditioning program offered here has been a large benefactor for Barfield’s built up mental toughness.
“Every day when students work in here, there’s a bit of a mental toughness aspect to it, much more so than even the physical toughness part of it so I think that’s one way that it has helped,” Morrow said. “Usually in every single workout there’s a moment where you have to make a decision—are you going to keep going really hard and work through something or are you going to quit?   So I think just having to go through those moments over and over again is a good way to get ready for [going into the army].”
Weight lifting has not only prepared her for her future career in the army, it has led to what she considers to be her most prominent achievement of her time in high school.
“My biggest accomplishment goes back to lifting. I placed 6th all state my sophomore year for power lifting,” Barfield said.
Through her years of high school and over the course of the last seven years that she had been in Morrow’s class, both her friends and her teachers have seen her mature.
“She’s done a good job of being an ambassador for the weight room too where she has gotten other people involved, which is really nice, so she’s just a good person, a good positive person to have around,” Morrow said. “She has gone from I think being motivated by pleasing other people to now being motivated by doing her best for herself.”
Despite her years of preparing, fears and doubts have still entered her mind as the date she ships out on draws closer.
“The closer I get, the more I start to doubt if I’m really cut out for it. I’m also really bad at running so I fear that the running part is going to hit me the hardest. I also doubt if I can be away from friends and family for that long, I fear that it’s going to affect me mentally,” Barfield said.
Going in, she will not be receiving the position she originally wanted, but instead is starting as an Ammunition Specialist. These soldiers work and care for the management of ammunition, explosives and other components.
“It’s not the job I wanted going in. Going in I wanted to be a [Military] Dog Handler but it was going to be a hard job to get into right off the bat so I qualified for this job and took it. I want to eventually work my way up to a Dog Handler,” Barfield said.
Regardless of these fears, doubts and position, there is still a level of excitement and anticipation for shipping out.
“I am excited to have the chance to go overseas. I hope I go, obviously I am scared to go and to leave my family but I love to travel and I would love to travel the world even if it’s not going to be in the best conditions,” Barfield said.