The Student News Site of Flora High School

Flora High School Howler

The Student News Site of Flora High School

Flora High School Howler

The Student News Site of Flora High School

Flora High School Howler

Jordan Smith FHS ’18

By: Madison Uebinger

Looking back to his senior year, Jordan Smith wouldn’t have imagined living halfway around the world doing what he loves.

Once out of high school, Smith left Illinois to pursue a childhood dream. It was after his basic training this summer than his life took a drastic turn.

Private Smith enlisted in the U.S. Army during early 2018. In May, just weeks after graduating from Flora High School, he hopped on a plane to Fort Benning, Georgia to begin basic combat training.

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While training, he was broken down and rebuilt into a new man: a soldier. Smith described the experience quite simply by stating, “They treat you like you are absolutely nothing, then they bring you back up to a totally new guy.”

Even though the training was rigorous, his adventure was just beginning.

After basic training, Smith completed Airborne school, which means he jumped out of a C-130 airplane regularly, both during the day and at night. This is a very rare training activity and something many people do not get the chance to experience.

Once leaving Georgia to visit his family in Illinois, Smith found out his next duties: a position needed to be filled in Italy soon after graduation. Later that month, he flew 5,000 miles across the world to start his new adventure.

Being fresh out of high school and never having left the country before, made for a huge culture shock. Smith has now traded the familiar cornfields of rural Illinois for the historical Vicenza, Italy.

Suprisingly, Smith does not need to know Italian while stationed there, but he can learn if he chooses to.

Over 5,000 miles away, Smith carries on doing much of the same routine training like in Georgia. The perk is that he, along with his men, get a lot more freedom to go out and see the beautiful country around base. While in Italy, his current duty is to prepare in case of another war.

While living this exciting new life, Smith admits it does get lonely being away from the people he loves.

“It is so weird not speaking to all of my friends regularly; the experience is definitely a life changer.”

One of the things he misses most is his time on the Flora Wolves football team. Luckily, he was able to come home during Homecoming Week and see his younger brother, Quinten Smith, play against Lawrenceville.

In his future military career, Smith hopes to become a Sergeant First Class and see combat at least once. Also, he would love to see more of the world through the Army.

After the Army, Smith plans to get married and settle down with a family of his own.

“The Army is everything I imagined it was gonna be,” Smith stated.

Thinking back to his senior year, Smith said he would change things by, “studying more army history and always staying in shape even when on leave, because when you come back from leave you will realize that you are way out of shape. Also, go meet new people as much as you can.”

One piece of advice Smith has for high schoolers is to never take your time at Flora for granted: “It’s scary at first to leave everything you know to pursue your dream, but in the end it is worth it.”

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