Tahoe Truckee High School graduates the class of ’03: Local graduate opts to join the military

Renee Shadforth
Colin FisherLindsey Buchanan.

Lindsey Buchanan makes no apologies for her reason to go into the U.S. Army: She wants to blow things up.

“I walked into the recruiting office and said I either want to drive a tank or blow stuff up,” said Buchanan, who will train to be an ammunition specialist.

Buchanan is one of 10 graduating seniors from the 180-member Tahoe Truckee High School class of 2003 going into a branch of the military. Although joining the armed forces is not as common as going away to college – an overwhelming number of students will attend a four-year university in the fall – on June 14, all Tahoe Truckee High seniors ended one period of their lives to enter another in their commencement ceremony.

For Buchanan, the next era of her life brings her excitement, as well as fear, with the fragile climate in the world today.

She will start boot camp in Fort Jackson, S.C., on July 24.

“There’s the fear of not being able to make it and the fear of a drill sergeant getting in my face,” said Buchanan, who looks like an unlikely candidate for the military, with her small frame and freshly dyed hair.

“Then there’s the fear of another war breaking out. I’m on hazard pay for a reason.”

It was almost on a whim that Buchanan decided to join the army. She went with a friend to a recruiting seminar at school to get out of class. Next thing she knew, she was ready to sign up for the army.

“All the men in my family have been in the airforce or the army air core,” Buchanan said. “They thought everyone should serve at least a year in the military, until they found out I wanted to join. My mom was the first one to accept it.”

In fact, Buchanan’s mom had been playing drill sergeant each day before school, getting her daughter out of bed at 5 a.m. to train. In order to enter boot camp, Buchanan has to run two miles in less than 18 minutes, 19 push-ups and 50 sit-ups.

Buchanan will spend nine weeks in boot camp and then she will go to tech school in Fort Redstone to train as an ammunition specialist.

Although Buchanan doesn’t know what to expect for the future, she knows she will change, along with her fellow soldiers in boot camp.

“It’s going to be hell we’re going through together. I expect it will make me a better person.”

Buchanan hopes she’ll be able to pass her new skills and knowledge about the military life to Truckee High students in years to come.

“One year from now, I’ll be coming back to do hometown recruiting,” Buchanan said. “I can’t wait to walk through the doors of this school with my uniform.”

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