With high school behind her, Tiffany Brown, 18, was confident in her decision to talk to an Air Force recruiter, even with bombs dropping on Baghdad.
"It's a little scary, I'm enlisting now when we're starting a war," Brown said. "I've actually been talking to a recruiter for six months. It was something I decided in high school."
Brown talked to the recruiter about going into linguistics or a medical field, but nothing about the war. She doesn't want to go but has a positive outlook if the war does drag on and she ends up in Iraq. Her exact departure date is still undecided.
"It would be scary, but just the fact that I'm over there helping them out," she said.
Brown is currently working in Starbucks at Huntsman Shopping Center.
Acquaintance "Mike" of Springfield was in the Marines for a while. He eventually was discharged for medical reasons, but not before going to Japan and Rowanda.
"It's definitely an eye-opening experience," he said. "I served most of my time on aircraft carriers. It definitely made me a stronger person."
Brown is considering all these things in her decision. Boot camp is one thing she's not looking forward to, but she feels getting through it is an accomplishment. That was one of the factors in choosing the Air Force.
"He [recruiter] told me it would be hard," Brown said. "The boot camp there is only six weeks. I know it's going to be hard, everyone has to go through it. It will give me a sense of belonging."
Brown broke the news to her mother, who accepted her decision.
"She's all for it," Brown said. "She thinks it will be good for me."
Military recruiters have an equal footing in school, and due to a recent ruling, they have more influence than colleges and businesses. Fairfax County Public Schools spokesperson Paul Regnier noted the military influences in the county.
"This is a pretty pro military area," Regnier said. "We've been required to treat the military recruiters more favorably,"
It all boils down to a student’s choice though.
"It's one type of opportunity for kids," Regnier said.