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Stonington High senior to begin training as U.S. Army medic

Stonington — Stonington High School senior Jacob Cannon admits he was just an average student and athlete during his four years at the school.

“I was kind of in the middle of everything,” he said one day earlier this month while sitting on the deck of his Pawcatuck home.

But that’s only if you discount the fact that he's about to become an Eagle Scout, an achievement that only 4% of Boy Scouts attain.

When it came time to make his post-graduation plans, the 18-year-old Cannon said he did not want to just sit in a classroom, something he described as boring.

“School isn’t really my thing. I didn’t really want to go to college,” he said. “I don’t like sitting down. I like hands-on classes.”

So in February he enlisted in the Army, where he will train to be a combat medic.

He is scheduled to ship out July 15 for 12 weeks of basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, followed by 18 weeks of medical training at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. He’s already begun online training.

“I knew I wanted to help people. I had a little bit of medical training with the Boy Scouts and I think it will be cool to learn about how everything in the body works,” he said. “I feel like I can take care of someone.”

He said his Army medic experience will prepare him to enter the medical field following his service and the Army will help pay for college. His initial commitment is for four years.

“I wanted to do something I could do later on when I get out of the Army,” he said about his choice of Army jobs.

Cannon said he became interested in the military after he spoke to an Army recruiter while attending the high school’s annual college fair. He said he went to a recruiting office in Groton to find out more before bringing up his plans to his parents.

“At first, we were worried. One minute you're taking them out of a car seat and the next minute they’re telling you they want to be a soldier. It took time to warm up to it,” said Cannon’s father, Jerry.

“He had to talk us into it,” added his mother, Pamela. “It's taken a little time but we’re extremely proud.”

She also pointed out to her son that another thing that’s about to change is his shoulder-length hair.

Cannon said that when he first received a written list of possible Army positions he could train for, nothing immediately jumped out at him. But when he looked at another list online, he saw the medic job. He also considered working with hazardous materials or being a military police officer.

As for where he will be based after training, Cannon has no idea.

“I can go to any unit except an airborne unit,” he said. “It could be a hospital, a base or an infantry unit.”

Cannon, who said he has never left New England, said he could even be assigned overseas.

“I’d like to see the world,” he said about another attraction of the military.

Wherever he ends up, he said he will make sure to visit his hometown.

“I’ll always want to come back and see how things have changed,” he said. “I’ll definitely visit whenever I can.”


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