When Reid Golike and Paulitta Wilson were married in December, they did not expect to celebrate their first Valentine’s Day together joining the Wyoming Army National Guard. On Thursday, however, that is what happened, when the two went to the Military Entrance Processing Station, in Denver, to sign contracts and swear in.
“I didn’t really think about how I had the option to join,” said Paulitta, who first visited with a recruiter to discuss Reid’s options in joining the Guard. She said that originally, the couple’s plan had been for Reid to join the Guard after finishing four years of service with the U.S. Marine Corps.
After learning about the opportunities in healthcare that she could pursue with the Guard, Paulitta also decided to join, and now, she is fully committed to her decision to serve with her husband.
“I think it is a really good opportunity to build a foundation for our family and contribute to the country.”
Paulitta will be serving as a healthcare specialist, and said that her military training will give her valuable experience as she pursues a civilian career in the medical field, where she is looking at the possibility of becoming a paramedic.
Reid decided to join with the prior service option offered through the Guard. His prior service with the Marines will allow him to transition directly into the Guard without having to attend basic training or advanced individual training, giving him the chance to immediately begin his Guard career.
He said that while he was ready to be able to live full time in Wyoming, he was not ready to end his military career, and the Guard provided the opportunity for him and his family to have the best of both worlds.
Recruiter Sgt. 1st Class Todd Crawford, who helped the couple join the Guard, said that the opportunity for young families to serve together not only provides benefits such as education and healthcare, it helps them have a better understanding of each other’s military careers.
“They are going to be more aware and more supportive of their military obligations,” he said.
Paulitta is planning to leave for basic training in May, which will be followed by several months of specialized training in her field. While the separation will be difficult, she said that the opportunities that will come after she returns will make the hardship worth it.
“I think that anyone who wants to join, should definitely join,” she said. “There are a lot of benefits, and you can contribute and be part of something that is good – it feels good to be a part of something like this.”