Senior Ryan Korff steps up to join the Army


Maggie Eldred , Social Media Manager

He isn’t your normal high schooler. He doesn’t spend his summers watching television or laying on the beach. He spends his summers navigating his way through obstacle courses, jumping over walls, and army crawling under barbed wire. He is not your typical 18 year old student. He is Ryan Korff.

“In the past couple of years, I have achieved the highest rank of boy scout, which is Eagle Scout,” senior Ryan Korff said. “I have joined the Army at 18, and went to basic training before my senior year, and I got engaged to my, now, fiance.”

Going into the army runs in the Korff family. Influenced by his both of his grandfathers and his uncle, Ryan knew that joining the army was for him. But the encouragement and knowledge was not the only reason Ryan chose to join the Army. If a future cadet in the Armed Forces, Navy, Marines, and/ or any other branch of the US Forces goes to school while being “on call” and ready to be sent out overseas, the government will in turn pay for the cadet’s education in full. According to Ryan and, there are many bills passed by the government that cover many different types of costs for a myriad of reasons. Some of the bills cover books, some cover housing, and some cover education, but they are doing all they can to cover the cost of the education in turn for the service of the cadet.

The cadet serves in many ways. After his or her second round of training, they are then assigned a unit. According to Ryan, the cadet is then eligible for deployment overseas. The second round of training is mostly focused on hand-to-hand combat, shooting, etc. Deployment locally is usually voluntary, so overseas will most likely be the outcome.

Unlike the Army or Navy, where you have to stay on or near a base, with the National Guard Ryan has the ability to stay in Grand Rapids or wherever he chooses after his second round of training. The only requirement is that he stays in the state. Ryan plans to attend Grace Bible College in Grand Rapids to study criminal justice and psychology.

“After this summer, I will be [on call to be deployed] because I have not yet [attended] infantry training. So then, I will be put with a unit,” Ryan said. “I will be deployed whenever they get deployed.”

I, not only needed a way to pay for college, but I saw [going into the military] as an adventure and something I wanted to try.”

— Ryan Korff

Overseas, Ryan will have to live on a base but not in the states. On the base, he and his unit will be doing missions and working as infantry on the ground among other things. But in the states, before deployment, the unit works on drills two weeks out of the summer and a weekend each month.

But on those weekends, Ryan has something else that is also important. Everyday after school from three to five, he is in the wrestling room working on new moves. Ryan has wrestled for six years. Although he might miss some meets to go and drill with his unassigned unit, it doesn’t really effect his wrestling schedule.

There is one person who is always at his wrestling meets. Her name is Ashley Goodman.

“We met through a friend of another friend; and then I just wanted to get to know her more,” Ryan said.

Ashley and Ryan met the summer of 2014 through a friend and a swing dancing class. They went dancing and got to know each other. Soon enough, they were talking and dating. In August, Ryan popped the question and Ashley promptly said “yes.” Because they are engaged to be married and Ryan is going into the National Guard, they have decided to take the leap to take college head on and do it together at Grace Bible.

“It is one of the more affordable private Christian colleges in the area. And being in the National Guard, it should be able to cover my cost and almost all of Ashley’s,” Ryan said.

The Federal and State governments have different bills to help married couples with the coupled tuition of college and just help as a whole. They also have bills and money that go to help anyone in the National guard or military. For many, the military is used to serve ones country and to show what one can do, but for Ryan, it revolves around that, but is not all about that. 

“I not only needed a way to pay for college, but I saw [going into the military] as an adventure and something I wanted to try,” Ryan said.