Recruiter Visits OC
Northern Ohio’s Marine recruiter, Staff Sergeant
William Gonyer, spent Thursday at Oberlin, just outside the mailroom
His table was reserved through Career Services, which is obliged
to allow the US Armed Forces to recruit on campus. Just a few feet
from the recruiter’s table, a silent student manned a table
for Oberlin Coalition Against the War.
Over the past several months, more and more colleges and universities
have been opening their doors to recruiters. The Bush Administration
has been actively threatening schools that refuse ample opportunities
for the services to recruit on campus. Many such schools are heavily
dependent on federal funding for their operations; Oberlin is not.
Gonyer, dressed in civilian clothing, didn’t engage OCAW but
instead stood across from the table greeting students who engaged
“People come by and they’ll put their name down,”
he said. “I’ve got three or four students that go to
the school that are in my program.”
Students have also signed up on the Marine Corps website, Gonyer
said. “I put the literature out; if individuals are interested,
they grab the literature, they contact me,” he said. “I
don’t push it on anybody.”
In recent months, he has recruited at Kent State, Case Western,
Cleveland State, Tiffin University, College of Wooster and Kenyon
“Last year we put 40 individuals in the Marine Corps,”
When asked about the Iraq conflict, Gonyer said, “We’re
going to be involved because we’re a part of the UN. In one
way or another, it’s going to affect us whether we go over
there or not.”
He also responded to a question on the “don’t ask, don’t
tell, don’t pursue, don’t harass” policy that
was enacted by President Clinton, under which gay men and women
can be dishonorably discharged without pension if they admit they
“I’ve been around all four services…there are
individuals that come right out and say, ‘I’ve served
my country, I’ve done my thing, this is my sexual orientation,’”
Gonyer said. “I’ve never met anyone who’s been
kicked out for their sexual preference.”
When asked if he knew people in the military who were gay, he said,
“I guess the only way it would really interfere would be if
you’re hanging on each other all day and you’re not
getting your job done,” he added. “When you go to work
you should be doing work…what you do in your off time is your
According to Defense Department statistics, 573 men and women were
discharged from the Marines under the “don’t ask, don’t
tell” policy in 2000. In the entire Armed Services, 1,231
individuals were discharged that year — the most recent year
for which statistics are available.
Gonyer has served in California, Virginia, Arizona and Okinawa,
Japan. He entered the service in 1991.
He said he joined the marines to travel and for guaranteed job security.
It has also paid for his college education — he is currently
a sophomore at the University of Arizona.
American citizens who serve in the Armed Forces receive funding
for college through the Montgomery G.I. Bill after a four-year enlistment.
They can also receive funding for medical and law school, provided
they remain in the service for several years after their graduation.
“Every military center has an education center and the center
is open for everybody,” he said.
“I really joined the Marine Corps to get out of Ohio, because
there’s not a lot of jobs in Ohio,” he added. “As
long as I do my part in the Marine Corps I have a job for the next
Gonyer said he can retire at 37 with full retirement benefits.