ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
At a time in life when her peers are thinking about the color of their eye shadow and how much the gasoline will cost to cruise D Street, Hillsboro has a teenager who will soon be trained to shoot an M-16 rifle.
Rose Vineski leaves June 15 for eight weeks of intensive basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., as part of her obligation to the Army National Guard.
Vineski, who will be a Hillsboro High School senior this fall, enlisted in the National Guard this past January.
“I’ve signed up for a six-year contract with the National Guard,” Vineski said. “At Fort Leonard Wood, they’ll teach me the basics-like how to shoot an M-16 rifle and the things I’ll need to know about the military.”
The daughter of Mike and Valerie Vineski, Rose is preparing for a career in law enforcement, focusing on her ultimate goal-a position with a Strategic Weapons and Tactics team.
“I think that would be cool,” Vineski said. “SWAT team members do a variety of things. They help stop or deter terrorists in the big cities and they help with bank robberies and things like that, and I think that would be exciting.”
Vineski said the military training will be invaluable for her career objectives.
“Most places that have SWAT teams like their people to have military backgrounds because they kind of do the same things,” she said.
For now, though, all of Vineski’s training is designed to prepare her for a possible tour of active duty with the Army.
“I’m kind of nervous, but I can’t get called to active duty until I get out of high school-which is still a year away,” she said. “Basically, when or if it happens, I’ll go because that’s part of being in the National Guard.”
Vineski said before being accepted into the Guard, she had to follow prescribed protocol.
“Since I was under 18, my parents had to sign a permission slip,” she said. “Then I went to Kansas City for a background and substance check.
“After finding I didn’t have any prior criminal background problems, I was accepted.”
Vineski said the fact her father is a Marion County deputy played no part in her decision to join the Guard.
“I’ve wanted to be in law enforcement since I was a little kid,” she said. “My folks, especially my dad, encouraged me to join the Guard.
“He told me it was my decision and I could do whatever I wanted to do and he’d back me in that decision.”
Vineski said her enlistment has generated a favorable reaction from her friends, too.
“Most of my friends are proud of me,” she said. “They think this is something I should do because I’ve talked about it for such a long time.”
Thus far, Vineski has devoted one weekend per month to her Guard duties.
“I go to Wichita to train at Repatory 63,” she said. “They teach us things like how to do CPR and things like that because we’ll have to know those type of things. Basically they’re teaching us what will prepare us for our basic training.”
Vineski’s summer training at Fort Leonard Wood will prepare her for the next step on the way to her career objectives.
“We’ll be learning about guns and doing field work and things associated with that,” she said. “It will train me in the specific field I want to be in.”
While in the Guard, Vineski said her specific field will be the military police.
“They basically help enforce the laws,” she explained. “If I was serving in Iraq or somewhere like that, my job would be to guard the prisoners. We’d be more behind the scenes and not up front doing the actual fighting.”
Even though Vineski will be schooled in the basics of military life, no high-school credit is earned with her association with the National Guard.
“This isn’t anything like an ROTC program,” she said. “It’s completely unrelated to school.”
Vineski said her part-time job at Alco in Hillsboro will be put on hold for the next eight weeks.
“It’s not a law that employers have to let guardsmen off to do their training, but Alco did let me take time off,” she said.
Next summer will find Vineski taking additional instruction with Advanced Individual Training.
While the pay wasn’t the main incentive for Vineski to sign on the dotted line ($120 per month), additional benefits do sweeten the pot.
“We don’t have any medical benefits, but we do have life insurance benefits,” she said. “And they help pay for college tuition, and you’re paid for the time you serve in basic training.”
If active duty doesn’t call on Vineski following her high school graduation, she hopes to take advantage of those benefits to further her education.
“I want to go to Hutchinson Community College because they have a good criminal justice program,” she said. “I’ll still have that one weekend out of each month that I’ll have to do my training and that will be in Topeka.”
Vineski said her decision to sign up with the Guard wasn’t difficult. “I thought about signing up for about a month,” she said. “I talked to the recruiter and he told me all the benefits of the Guard.
“He said by getting into the military police, I’d have a better chance of becoming a police officer.”
Vineski said she hasn’t regretted her decision to sign up.
“I think the National Guard is a good thing for people around my age,” she said. “You learn a lot, you get into good physical shape, and you learn a lot about teamwork.
“You get to go and do things and experience things that are different than what we experience in this area normally.
“If I get called to active duty, that would be great because I’d get to go to other countries and experience a different way of life,” she said. “But if I don’t get called up, that will be all right, too.”
With June 15 and a departure for eight weeks of training looming, Vineski said she looks forward to the challenges.
“I hope the Guard teaches me during the next six years what I need to do to be a stronger person and it helps me be what I want to be.”