Senior drawn to Navy for service

Josie Spencer-Speirer enlisted to pay for college, found greater calling


Abby English

The Navy demands a lot, but it’s worth it to Josie Spencer-Speier to help. “Being able to help people from all over the world is really important to me,” she said.

By Aidan Rothrock

As strange as the saying may seem, sometimes, the pen is mightier than the sword.

While others may have their goals set on writing, teaching, or editing works of literature, senior Josie Spencer-Speirer is doing something different with her familiarity with the English language: she’s joining the Navy Linguistics Program.

“The Navy is broken up into programs, currently… I’m joining their second top program,” Spencer-Speirer said. “Humanities has always been a calling of mine.”

Within the Navy are many different opportunities for service. Among them are vocations such as aviation, legalities, first responders, and even nuclear physics. The specific position Spencer-Speirer is considering is cryptologic technician, the duties of which vary greatly.

“For the first two years they’re going to be putting me through school; one part is in California, the other part is in Texas,” she said. “After that, I’ll spend about two years on a boat, specializing skills, and then after that I’ll either become a translator, a codebreaker, or be stationed at a base where my language is needed.”

An interview with Spencer-Speirer’s debate coach, Jeff Plinsky, reveals more about her ability.

“Her communication skills are well above average,” Plinsky said. “She is an outstanding competitor and competes on weekends and wins medals against other kids who are also good speakers.”

Plinksy, admittedly, was a bit surprised by Spencer-Speirer’s decision, but supports her wholeheartedly.
“[The Navy] takes all kinds and there’s a lot of opportunities to be gained there, and I’m certainly excited for what her future holds,” he said.

An important part of what Spencer-Speirer will need are the abilities to quickly learn and comprehend other languages that exist in areas of conflict.

“I’m very American in the sense that I don’t have any outside languages at all,” Spencer-Speirer said. “I was never taught any, but I scored high enough on a separate test that I had to take, and it made it to where I didn’t have to know any other languages because I showed an aptitude for learning them.”

Spencer-Speirer said the field greatly interests her, along with the incentive of having college paid for.

“Figuring out how to pay for college and get the most out of my education as well as provide skills for future jobs has always been very important in choosing a college, but it wasn’t until I took the ASVAB in January that it became a real choice for me.”

Plinksy said Spencer-Speirer’s skills will transfer well.

“In debate, where she’s faced with cross-examination by people who are trying to make her look bad, people who are trying to find holes or gaps in her argument, she does an extraordinary job of staying calm during those questions,” Plinsky said. “She’s got a pretty cool and calm head and I think that probably will serve her well.”