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Coffee talk: Local soldiers share military insight
The U.S. Army welcomed visitors to learn more about its organization during an informal question-and-answer session at Marista's coffee shop.
The men spoke with Federal Way Mayor Jack Dovey and approximately 25 visitors at Friday's event.
"People can sometimes be intimidated by the uniform," said Mike Tuttle, former soldier and U.S. Army public affairs specialist.
Several soldiers bought visitors their morning coffee and were available to discuss what the Army does. The effort was put on by recruiting personnel.
"Our major focus was not about finding people to join. It was just to meet people," said Kevin Shaw, U.S. Army Sgt. First Class.
Possibly due to the economy and rising unemployment rates, the Army as a whole has seen an increase in enrollment, Tuttle said. The Federal Way office has not seen a significant jump in the number of people becoming soldiers, but there has been an increase in college-educated folks showing an interest in the U.S. Army, Shaw said.
The organization offers more than 150 job options. Many employment opportunities found in civilian life are also found in the Army.
"We try to get them a skill that's going to get them through (in civilian life)," U.S. Army Sgt. Mike Hively said.
Civilians are typically interested in what the Army is currently doing in Iraq, Tuttle said. There are a lot of misconceptions fueled by movies and television, he said. People sometimes think the Army puts recruits through training, hands them a gun and pronounces them soldiers, Hively said. Soldiers do more than fight, he said.
"The Army and Marines are associated with the pavement in downtown Baghdad," Hively said.
The public also typically asks about job options and paid schooling, he said. Many who attended the event asked about uniforms and daily life as a soldier, Shaw said.
The mayor and soldiers talked about how the Army, Federal Way and residents can work together. A lot of people do not realize the resources available to them through the local Army recruiting office, Shaw said.