On the same
day he became a U.S. citizen, Manuel Herrera also
enlisted as the newest member of the Utah Army National
Guard’s 144th Area Support Medical Company.
took the oath of citizenship on April 28 in the Rose
Wagner Theatre in Salt Lake City. His Guard enlistment
ceremony took place at the Utah National Guard’s Draper
headquarters that same day.
Lehi resident and Petatlán, Mexico, native, fulfilled
two important goals by taking these two oaths: Becoming
a citizen of the nation he has called home for 13 years
and receiving training that will qualify him as an Army
Class Brett Hardcastle, a Utah National Guard recruiter,
pointed out that just a month ago, Herrera, 39, could
not have enlisted at his age.
limit for enlisting in the Guard used to be 35. Now that
the limit has been raised to 39, more people like Manuel
have an opportunity to serve their country,” he said.
said that Herrera qualified for a $10,000 enlistment
bonus, $17,568 for college, and will receive medical
training as a 91W—the Army designation for combat
medic—at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, after he completes
returns from his initial Army training, the money for
college will help Herrera to reach his career goal of
becoming a registered nurse.
thrilled at the opportunity his country and the National
Guard are providing him. “It will not only help me with
my career goal, but as a nurse I can also help other
people like me who are new to our country and can’t
speak English,” he said.
And with the
change in the maximum age for enlistment, money for
college, and bonuses, others like Herrera can make a
midlife career change with a lot of help from the Guard.