Gladiator football, the U.S. military and the town of Italy are all things that run deep in the bloodline of Andrew Oldfield.
The Italy High School senior is a fourth-generation Italy resident, and a third-generation varsity Italy football player. Now, he can proudly call himself a second-generation military man after he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps.
It was the end of the last school year that Oldfield began to honestly consider his future. "That’s when you start to think about what you really want to do after high school, and I like the benefits and the idea of the military,” he explained.
To record this moment in history, Oldfield was photographed with Italy staff, his family and his Marine recruiting officer, Sargent Kaden Olson.
As the cameras flashed, Oldfield had one person on his mind — his mother, Beth Guilliams.
“I’m super proud of him," said Guilliams with tears in her eyes. "We have two seniors right now — one’s going to college and Andrew is in the military. I’m glad that they are finding their way because it’s only a few short months before they are out on their own.”
The photo op had sentimental value for the family, too, as Oldfield’s grandfather, J.B. Johnson Jr., served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, eventually discharging as a sergeant. Johnson Jr.'s father also served in the army in World War I. The father and son also played football for the Gladiators.
Guilliams herself has ties to the military, as she is a registered nurse for Veteran Affairs in Dallas in the dermatology clinic. She had served two years with the VA and worked for Italy ISD as a nurse for one year before she recently returned to the VA.
Oldfield’s stepfather also served in the U.S. Navy but was never deployed.
“Military is a big thing in our house,” Guilliams stressed.
Out of all the branches of the military, the Marines was the most appealing to Oldfield.
“The Marine Corps is the only one where you can go into and go into another branch without having to go through basic again," Oldfield explained. "So I thought I would go into the Air Force, but instead, I’d rather go into the Marine Corps and then go into the Air Force.”
For a little over a month, Oldfield has worked with his recruiting officer, Olson. Since Oldfield is new to the program, he has focused extensively on his physical strength. Olson assured Oldfield is already in tip-top shape from the Italy High School football program. Until he graduates, Oldfield will meet at the recruitment office in Cedar Hill on a monthly basis. There, other recruits and individuals interested in the Marines work out together and under initial strength tests to track progress.
“We also stress them out a little bit,” Olson elaborated. “In the Marines, we are notorious for yelling and kind of get in their face a little bit. Some of these kids have never been yelled at or had someone in their face.”
Olson explained the misconception about the military being the best last resort. He then assured Oldfield joined for the right reasons —to gain personal, nontangible life lessons from the culture of the Marines.
“First off, he’s a very quiet guy, and I noticed that right off the bat, but it seems that everything he says, he has a purpose for it,” Olson said.
Oldfield’s actions set him apart from other applicants Olson mentors.
“He is a smart guy," Olson explained. "He immediately knew what he wanted right off the bat, where he wanted to take his life, the job he wanted to get into the field he wanted to get into, and he was very adamant about that.”
Italy High School Athletic Director, Craig Horn, agreed that Oldfield might be on the quiet side but leads by example and always puts in his best effort.
"I would say he leaves a very positive example," Horn elaborated. "While he is a quiet kid, he isn't shy or passive. He is very confident and I believe his quiet manner is due to him listening and watching to ensure that he fully understands what is being asked and to ensure his best efforts."
Oldfield shared that he wants to gain discipline and a path toward aviation. As soon as he obtains his high school diploma, he will get on a bus or a plane to begin boot camp.
“He’s pretty much ready to rock right now and is waiting on his diploma,” Olson assured.
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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450