Accepting Her Choice
A retired member of the Marine Corps, Louis Arroyo works on a daily basis with individuals who are interested in military service. He is an employee at a Military Entry Processing Station (MEPS), where he is trained to help potential recruits make decisions about military service.
But when Louis' daughter Krista announced that she wanted to join the Ohio National Guard, Louis admitted that he faced a situation he hadn't trained for. He said, "I didn't want her to join. She's my little girl … being prior Service, I have a little knowledge about what it takes. You've got to be a bit rough around the edges, and I didn't see that in my daughter." As a dad, Louis found it hard to imagine Krista in the Military, even though he knew what a good opportunity service could be.
Krista stood her ground because she thought the Military would be a good way to pay for college. She even went ahead and met with a National Guard recruiter. Soon after, she told Louis her recruiter's name. At that point, Louis realized that "Daddy's Little Girl" had grown up, so he gave her the information she needed and agreed to help her join the National Guard.
Preparing for the Military
Once Louis accepted Krista's decision, he helped her gear up for Basic Training. Although Krista grew up in a military household and was prepared for the discipline, Louis wanted her to be as physically ready as possible, so she started running and doing push-ups. Louis said, "The physical part … that's the very hard part. The body does things at boot camp that you never knew you were ever going to do … We did some physical fitness tests. We wanted her to see where she was based on these standards, and she was fine."
She’s my little girl …Being prior Service, I have knowledge about what it takes. Seeing your daughter graduate [Basic Training], and suddenly your little girl is a Soldier … I am so proud of her.
Louis also had to brace himself emotionally for Krista's departure to Basic Training. He admitted, "I was going to have about three to four grown men yelling at my daughter constantly. That bothered me." Louis knew that the challenges of Basic Training were for a good purpose, but it was hard for him to imagine his daughter in the situations he remembered from his own experience.
Ultimately, however, both Louis and Krista made it through Krista's Basic Training. Louis felt nothing but pride at her graduation. He said, "I took the trek to Kansas City when my daughter graduated, and that was very emotional for me … seeing your daughter graduate, and suddenly your little girl is a Soldier."
Appreciating Her Success
Whenever he looks back, Louis is thrilled with what military service has done for his daughter. He said, "When these children go to boot camp, they get molded, whether they realize it or not. From their facial features … I mean everything. Their bodies are sculpted; their attitude is just different. It's just a remarkable transformation that happens from the day they leave your home to the day they graduate. They are highly disciplined; they're motivated; they're proud. The pride just oozes out of their body, and they're so proud that you're proud of them."
Today, Krista is an MP (military policeman) with the National Guard. This position is an excellent fit for her civilian life, as she is using her GI Bill money to earn a college degree in criminal justice. He said, "I am so proud of her. I am fine with it. I have no issues. I have no concerns. She is handling it perfectly."
And, perhaps inspired by his older sister, another member of Louis' family decided to join the Military. Krista’s younger brother, Anthony, enlisted with the Marine Corps and is now deployed in Afghanistan. Louis continues to give both of his children his complete and total support. He said, "I go back and remember what I went through. I had the support of my mom and dad, so in turn that's what I give them."