Serving his country ... even before high school graduation
The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.
PUEBLO, Colo. — Most high school seniors don’t have a clear idea about what their futures will hold after graduation. Max Murtha isn’t like most seniors.
The Pueblo West High School student enlisted in the Army National Guard after his junior year and signed a six-year contract.
“I went to basic training at Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga., three days after I completed my junior year,” Murtha said. “I graduated from basic training in 10 weeks, just three days before I started school my senior year. The training was intense, but I made a lot of good friends.”
Murtha was partly motivated to join the military because of his family.
“My dad (Phil) was a chief warrant officer in the Army in Vietnam,” Max said about his father who was a helicopter pilot. “I wanted to follow his footsteps and get my way paid through college.” This fall, Murtha has focused his energy on the soccer field. Murtha earned a starting spot as a defender for the Cyclones. West finished the regular season at 11-4 overall and 10-2 in the South-Central League.
“I have played soccer my whole life,” said the 5foot-11, 170-pound Murtha, who also is a competitive snow skier. “It has been really cool to play with all my friends my senior year and we have a really good team.”
West finished second in the S-CL and earned an automatic berth into 32team state tournament. The Colorado High School Activities Association will release the state field today.
“Max has been with me for four years and he has come a long way,” West coach Rex Harriman said. “He has improved every year and this year he is a starter for us. We have a real tough defense and he is a big kid who is physical and he works very hard.”
Following graduation, Murtha will spend 22 weeks at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., where he will go through Advanced Individual Training (AIT).
“It’s an honor to serve your country and if I get deployed I will realize even more that a lot of these luxuries and freedom we have at home are protected by the people who serve,” Murtha said.