Enlistment numbers soar amid COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 6:34 PM CDT
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FORT SILL, Okla. (TNN) - The coronavirus pandemic has caused a surge in enlistment numbers on Fort Sill. Many people are turning to the Army to support themselves and their families during this difficult time.

Spc. Zachary Munoz was a college professor, teaching music and playing professionally. When the coronavirus hit, he took a major pay cut. Searching for a way to provide for himself, he decided to enlist.

“I figured, you know what, maybe this is a good time to pursue my dream of being in the U.S. Army Band,” said Spc. Munoz. “I auditioned and I made it. Here I am, now.”

Spc. Munoz, like many others in basic training, knew the military would provide stability and a future.

PV2 Matthew Montgomery thought his would be on the field. He had just accepted a partial college football scholarship, only for it to be taken away by COVID-19.

“It was hard, because I had passion for football and just thinking about what to do next,” said PV2 Montgomery. “But I knew that times are hard, that I was going to be able to be set and be able to set a foundation for myself when I come here.”

The pandemic was not all bad for PV2 Montgomery. It also provided an opportunity.

“One of my other things that I’ve always wanted to do was join the military,” said PV2 Montgomery. “And... I love it.”

Although basic training has been challenging, Spc. Munoz said he is grateful for the opportunity.

“Since I was a child, I used to see military bands come and play in my town, at schools, at jazz festivals, and this is a dream,” said Spc. Munoz. “It’s unfortunate what a lot of people are enduring right now and going through, but I am grateful to be here and I’m grateful to have work, because I know a lot of people aren’t so fortunate right now.”

Spc. Munoz and PV2 Montgomery have about four weeks left of basic training.

Spc. Munoz is still waiting to hear where he will play in the U.S. Army Band.

PV2 Montgomery said he will finish out his college education while he serves.

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