KANSAS CITY, Mo. --
On March 17, 2022, Jack A. Haertling stood before his own father, Jeff A. Haertling, and the Marine Corps Recruiting Station Kansas City Commanding Officer, Maj. Rick Hayek, to take the oath of enlistment. Having dreamed of being a Marine since his childhood, Jack spent his senior year of high school deciding whether he would follow through on his dream or attend college instead. Ultimately, he decided to take the plunge and commit to service in the Marine Corps like his father and others before him.
“His great-great grandfather, great grandfather and father were all Marines,” said Steffanie D. Haertling about her son, Jack. “And now he’s going to be, too.”
Jack’s great-great grandfather, Author Haertling Sr. served as a Marine in WWI in the West Indies and his great grandfather served near the end of WWII in Beaufort, South Carolina. While Jack’s grandfather took a different path, the Haertling family found its way back into the Marine Corps way of life when Jeff enlisted in September 2006. Starting out in the communications field, Jeff went on to gain other experience as a communications chief and range instructor.
Jeff, who is currently a Marine Corps gunnery sergeant, and his wife Steffanie brought their children with them as they traveled to Jeff’s duty stations around the United States. Jack and his younger sister Ava grew up as military children and attended schools on base, had other friends who were also military children, and were able to see behind the curtain of mystery that other children don’t get to experience as children of civilian parents.
As many children who grow up wanting to follow in their parent’s footsteps, Jack wanted the same. He would dress as a Marine for Halloween, dress in child-size combat utilities, and told his family that one day he too would be a Marine.
“I wanted to be a Marine as a kid,” said Jack. “During my senior year I started to think I might want to go to college with my friends [instead].”
As Jack made it through high school and hockey obligations, he weighed his options. Fortunately, he had firsthand experience of what to expect as well as a father who is in charge of Recruiting Substation Springfield, Missouri. With that wealth of knowledge and the looming end of his high school career, he decided he was ready to commit to the Delayed Entry Program and within a few weeks was on his way to the Military Entrance Processing Station in Kansas City.
“I wanted to stay local but I always thought I would get more out of the Marines,” said Jack when asked why he chose to go active duty over attending college. He went on to say that he can attend college while using the military’s tuition assistance program and other higher education benefits.
“It’s important to me that he can have a career if he decides to just do four years,” said Steffanie.
Now that Jack has taken his oath of enlistment and is a poolee in the DEP, he plans to ship to recruit training in September. After graduation and completion of the School of Infantry, he will attend school in the cyber security field.
To find out more about the Marines visit Marines.com/RSKansasCity or call 1-800-MARINES to be connected with a Marine near you.