A conversation with Sgt. Dandridge


Shishir Pokhrel

Army Sgt. Jeffrey Dandridge has been enjoying his time at Everett High School.

Recently we spoke with military science teacher and Army recruiter Sgt. Jeffrey Dandridge, who spoke candidly about his life, his role here at the high school, the war in Ukraine, and what the military has to offer. 

KEDERSON: Are we at war with Russia as of right now?

DANDRIDGE: As of right now we are not at war with Russia. I don’t think we will be a part of that. And no, you will not be drafted if we do go to war because we have an excess line of people who are willing to go to war.

SHISHIR: Do you think the cold war will reoccur due to the conflict?

DANDRIDGE: Even if it did go back to that, it wouldn’t be that big magnitude. Wars nowadays are computerized. Everything is a drone. You’re basically in another location using controllers. There’s no human being in the drone to fight. That’s basically how war works nowadays.

SHISHIR: If war broke out between NATO and Russia, what are the chances of us getting drafted?

DANDRIDGE: I would say slim to none, but that’s just my Jeffrey Dandridge’s opinion, not Sergent Dandridge’s opinion. I would say it’s slim to none. I don’t believe there would be a draft. That’s why they have the IRR. People in the IRR (Individual Ready Reserve) are just waiting whether they are going to get called. Assuming you are in the IRR, and something bad happens, they can call you in.

KEDERSON: What are the benefits of being in the Army ?

DANDRIDGE: Being in the Army has a lot of benefits. The Army helps you pay for college, your house, and free receive full health, dental, and vision coverage as well as life insurance, and a 401k. The Army always gives out a loan up to 500k after you retire if you want to start a business and after you retire they still help you.

ALICE: What do you think about women joining the Army?

DANDRIDGE: I push it as much as I possibly can. In my classes I try to show the female officers and as many women that are listed, because I believe you all can do the same thing that we do and just as good as we do it. You all are just as mentally strong and physically strong men. Try looking at another perspective, the best shooter in the world is a woman. Because the way that women behave when they are breathing is better than guys. Women know how to breathe in and out better than men, and they can see better, so that helps them to hit the target more easily. I would love to have a woman next to me as my partner in the field and have my back. I have seen and I know some women that are just as strong as men in the Army. And I would pick them hands down to be my partner and would not even question my decision.

SHISHIR: What are the steps of going into the Army?

DANDRIDGE: First step is speaking to a recruiter, like myself. You make an appointment with me, we sit down, and see if you qualify. I am going to give you a practice test, the practice test doesn’t mean you could join the Army. It’s just a test to see where you are, whether you have to study further or send you out to take an actual test. After you take the practice test, we’ll go over the paperwork, important documents that you need. After all the documentations, we give you an actual test. Once you pass the actual test, we are going to show you in the computer the list of jobs you qualified for. Once you see the jobs that you qualify for, you can pick from that list. We can get that job for you. That job will tell you how long your basic training is, and the school required for that job. It’s going to tell you when you have to leave for that training.

ZINEB: What do you remember about the day you enlisted?

DANDRIDGE: I thought, like, “Wow. Man. I really just did that.” I’m telling you this is seriously what I thought, I was like “I really did that. Man.” Then when I got to basic training and they started yelling at me I was like “What did I get myself into?!”. Basic training is basically what they used to call it ‘boot camp’.

SHISHIR: Can you go to an Army recruiter to get a job in the Air Force?

No, you will have to go to an Air Force recruiter to get the job at Air Force. They will put their processes in place. Everyone wants to be a pilot, but the numbers are limited. The Air Force tells the lie to bring hopes up of people to be a pilot. If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, you can’t be a pilot.

SHISHIR: If you want to have a specialized career like nurse or pilot, how will the steps work in order to train the people?

DANDRIDGE: For doctors, you need a medical degree, because no-one wants to get surgery from a person just coming out of high school. You want people who have experience and education in the medical field. However, if you go into a medical field like nursing, you can do those straight out of high school. While you are doing that, you’ll have a lot more time to study to become a doctor. I tell everyone to go to school while they are nurses in the Army, after they are done, go take a medical test. Go back to school to be a doctor. You are going to be in the field, and next to a doctor anyways. Ask a question, pick their brain, give and understand what you want to do.