Ona, W.Va. --
Recruiting Sub Station Huntington has a large area of responsibility in the eyes of Marine Corps recruiters. It is spread over 7,700 square miles and is composed of 65 different high schools, but one school stands out from the rest. One school continues to produce more of the next generation of Marines than any other school in its vicinity.
Located in a blue-collar coal mining community in the heart of West Virginia, Cabell Midland High School, located in Ona, W.Va., has long been a successful recruiting location for the Marine Corps Recruiters of RSS Huntington. The school, which currently has 411 seniors and 487 juniors, averages three students who enlist in the Marine Corps each school year, with seven to nine more joining during the summer after graduation.
These numbers are huge, according to Staff Sgt. Matthew Rogers, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Recruiting Sub-Station Huntington and Trafford, Pa. native. Out of the 64 other schools that Roger’s recruiters visit, most occasionally produce a Marine here or there, nowhere near the level of Cabell Midland.
“It’s huge…it’s our biggest school,” said Rogers. “Without Cabell Midland RSS Huntington doesn’t make mission… without schools like Midland, the RSS as a whole fails.”
There is no one single reason why Cabell Midland is successful for the recruiters. The school receives multiple visits from the recruiters, and the recruiters have many individual success stories from the school, to include enlisting several members of the football team. Additionally, former student Nick Boone, who was a captain of the football and wrestling team, received a Marine Corps Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship while attending Cabell Midland and now attends the University of Missouri.
Kristine Shy, a counselor at Cabell Midland, currently serves as the school’s military liaison. Shy offered her insight into the success the recruiters have at the school.
“The recruiters are always here in their dress uniforms and are always respectful to the staff and students,” said Shy. “Our student population has respect for the Marines, and our school welcomes the military… our staff believes it is a good career choice.”
In addition to their professional relationships, the Marines also have a personal connection to the school. Rian Caudill, a 17-year-old senior at Cabell Midland and a Defensive End on the football team, is the son of Master Sgt. Will Caudill, Recruiting Station Charleston operations chief and native of Charleston, W.Va. Rian, along with two other members of the Cabell Midland football team, have recently enlisted in the Marine Corps.
“It’s common to see the recruiters at the school…they come in once or twice a month,” said Rian. “The Marines always look the best…they talk good with the kids. They don’t try to just tell them what they want to hear…they try to be helpful and friends to them.”
Despite the challenges Marine Corps recruiters face day to day, schools like Cabell Midland help ensure there will be a Marine Corps in the future to answer the country’s call.