New members proud to serve in Connecticut National Guard

NIANTIC --   It was a big day at Camp Niantic as a brand new class of National Guardsmen celebrated graduation.

If they're called on, the new group of soldiers is now ready to protect the people of Connecticut, and proudly serve.

“I joined the National Guard because I felt a need to serve my country because it’s the greatest country in the world,” said Private First Class Devon Barker.

Barker was one of nearly thirty new soldiers welcomed today in the Connecticut National Guard.

“I could wake up and know that I’m doing something good and I can go to sleep and have the same feeling.” He was born in Russia and says he's thankful for the freedoms he's given in the U.S.

“If I had stayed there, if my parents had not adopted me, I would not have had the opportunities I find in this country so I feel a sense that I have to give back.”

The guard's newest soldiers, graduated Sunday from the recruit sustainment program, designed to acclimate guardsmen to their military career.

“My personality is be the best that you can be at everything you do, and I just want to be the best soldier in my unit and want to quickly rank up and hopefully become an officer one day, said Private First Class Devon Chandler.

“The unit actually gets a final product of a highly motivated soldier who’s actually willing to do their job. They’re fully trained. And again they’re going be great citizen soldiers,” said Capt. Ulrick Brice.

Brice has been with the National Guard for nearly 20 years and knows it takes a special person to become a guardsmen, with a desire to serve both community and country.

“It’s less than 1% of the population that actually serves in the military but it has to be the right mix and the right people who actually care about the organization and care about the country as well as the state.”