Rotary Club of Pottsville

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July 27, 2016

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PROGRAM SSG David Hertzog, United States Army

Staff Sergeant David Hertzog of the United States Army was our speaker this week. He currently is an Army recruiter, but talked to us about all aspects of his military career, which he obviously loves. SSG Hertzog graduated from Northampton High School in 2003 and immediately joined the Army. He described high school as difficult and at the time had no desire for college. He did indicate Sept. 11, 2001 was an influence on his choice to enlist, but in his mind he was planning for that long before 9/11.

Basic training was in Fort Jackson, SC, where he learned to be a diesel mechanic. After that he went to Airmans Training and Special Forces Training. SSG Hertzog had four trips to Afghanistan and one trip to Iraq, and told us of reenlisting during his third tour in Afghanistan. He also spent time in Okinawa, Japan, and was there during the 2011 tsunami. He was one of two qualified Army personnel who could operate their forklifts and other heavy equipment, and he spent several months helping with the cleanup and rebuilding of the area. After a brief time in Australia and the fourth tour of Afghanistan he returned home to Fort Bragg in 2013. He had spent 10 years in the service and decided on an indefinite reenlistment, which basically committed him to 10 more years and then he would be eligible to retire. At that time it was decided he would concentrate on recruitment.

SSG Hertzog talked a lot about the benefits of Army life, and what it can do for a person. He finds himself acting more as a salesman in his recruiting position, and told the crowd some of the things he looks for. He said the Army only wants perfect people, and that less than 1% of Americans would meet todays requirements to join the United States Military. There can be no visible tattoos or piercings, no physical limitations or learning disabilities, no past drug history, no violations of the law. However, the benefits are outstanding, including the current Minute Man program that provides a four year degree paid in full in exchange for joining the ROTC program and Army reserves. The post-911 GI bill is another strong incentive that will end in the near future; it provides up to $76,000 in college funds to be used by the enlisted party or their family members.

It was clear SSG Hertzog loves the military and his career choice. We thank him for his presentation and his service to our country.

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