PUTNAM, Conn., -- Pfc. Tony R. Fantoli has a clear goal in life, and service in the Marine Corps Reserves is going to help get him there.
The 19-year-old Windham, Conn. native graduated boot camp on March 19, and is currently on recruiter’s assistance while waiting to attend his military occupational specialty school to become a vehicle recovery operator.
Fantoli enlisted in the Marines as a reservist during his first semester at Manchester Community College. He was working toward a degree in criminal justice with aspirations that it would help him become a state police officer; when his best friend started talking to him about enlisting in the Marines.
“I have wanted to be a state police officer ever since I was three,” he said. “I know that being a United States Marine will help my chances of becoming a state police officer, when I am over 21 and eligible.”
Fantoli decided to reach out to his local recruiting office.
“The Recruiter picked up the phone and said ‘Marines!’” he said. “Then I said ‘yea I want to become one.’”
Fantoli and his mother met with Sgt. Stian Jones, the local recruiter for his area.
“I thought I was going to go to the recruiting office and be intimidated,” he said. “But he was very welcoming and showed me all the good things available to me through the Marine Corps.
“He didn’t sugar coat anything about how hard it was going to be.”
Fantoli talked at length with Jones about the opportunities available to him before deciding to enlist as a reservist.
“At first I was opposed to the idea of going into the reserves,” he said. “I didn’t want to go through all that training just to come home. But after talking to people about it and looking up stuff about the reserves, I realized, you can come back and have time to go to college.”
Now, while he works on recruiter’s assistance waiting to start his MOS school, he is making plans for his future.
“The Marine Corps is giving me a step above everyone else,” he said. “It is giving me the keys to success.”