Military Branches Compete for Talented Recruits

After graduating from high school, Vanessa Givens wanted more opportunity than she felt her South Carolina hometown offered.

“Our family didn’t focus on education. We focused on getting a job,” she said. “In Beaufort, there’s not many opportunities outside of being a cashier or working at a local department store.”

So in search of a better life, she and two friends enlisted in the military. She chose the Navy, which paid her way through Florida A&M University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting. After 21 years, she retired as a surface warfare officer.

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