Playing notes for the nation

Senior Dalton Baham becomes musician for U.S. Army


Somari Carr

Senior Dalton Baham holds his signed contract for the U.S. Army.

A line of young teens stretches down the halls of the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) building in Dallas. Senior Dalton Baham is there to receive the results of the test he took earlier in the day. His palms are sweaty and his heart pounds in his chest as he makes his way to the front desk. When he is at the front of the line, he looks for his name on a clipboard. Once he finds it, he sees the results of his test. His heart rate slows and he is relieved when he sees he has passed the exam.

Baham completed the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) on Thursday, March 28. This test helps the armed services know if a civilian is ready or knowledgeable enough to be considered for enlistment. After receiving his test scores, he had to decide which job he would have in the Army.

“I’ve taken the ASVAB recently with my recruiter and I scored pretty high on the test so it helped out with my job selection,” Baham said. “When they showed me the list of jobs, I saw musician on the list [and] I knew instantly that was the job for me. I’ve thought about joining the military for a long time, but I never dreamed it would [become] a reality. I can barely believe I am this close to being an actual soldier for the U.S. Army.”

Not everyone in the armed forces is expected to fight on the frontlines of a war. The Army provides multiple roles for recruits to choose from like information technology (IT) specialists, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) specialists and even musicians. Musicians in the Army are a part of a band that performs during ceremonies including the changing of the flags, the rankings of new officers and soldiers’ funerals.

“My military occupational specialty (MOS) in the Army is 42 Romeo which is basically a musician in the Army,” Baham said. “A lot of people don’t know you can join the Army as a musician so it’s funny to see people’s reactions when I tell them I’m going to be a musician in the Army.”

I’m nervous but mainly excited to go and do something different with my life.”

— senior Dalton Baham

While the decision came easy to Baham, he was still nervous about how his friends and family would react to his choice. However, his worries were soon relieved when his friends and family quickly give him their support.

“I was happy for him, but at the same time, I was sad to know I won’t see him again for a long time,” senior Daniel Charles said. “However, this is his decision and I fully support his decision because he is making a choice not a lot of people his age is willing to make.”

With support from his loved ones, Baham believes he is making the best possible choice for himself. English teacher Ashley Elms is excited to see what Baham will make of himself in the future.

“I know Dalton is going to do great in the Army,” Elms said. “I hope he stays true to himself and always remembers his passion for music, I’m proud of him for making this tough life decision so early in his life.”

Baham will go to Fort Jackson in South Carolina during the summer to complete basic training. With the sudden change his life is about to take, Baham is ready to face any challenge thrown at him during his career.

“I’m nervous but mainly excited to go and do something different with my life,” Baham said. “I’m going to miss my friends and family a lot while I am gone but I know I have to do something with my life and the Army gave me that opportunity like everyone else has, I just made the choice to actually commit myself to that lifestyle.”