Joining the Military Means a Trip to Troy

Literally thousands of young men and women who want to join the military will end up in Troy as they start their new journey.

Troy is home to the Detroit Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) on Kirts. It’s a very busy place. There are only 65 MEPS in America, with two in Michigan, one in Lansing and the other in Troy, which not only serves southeast Michigan, but also northern Ohio.

After the new recruit has been seen by a recruiter for the branch of service desired, it’s on to Troy.

Here there’s more paperwork, and the recruit will take their oath for the first time. There will be a second oath before their are flown out to a new life adventure.

Commander of the Detroit MEPS is Major Jeffery A. Sierpien. He points out that the government’s fiscal year starts each October. Since last October, through last Wednesday, 1,870 new members of the military have been shipped to their branch’s training base.

But, there are another 2,020 recruits still waiting to be shipped out. There are reasons for delays, like testing and their branch of the service with a backlog of space. However, the delay is often because the new recruit is still in high school.

At the Detroit MEPS new recruits will take the ASVAB – the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test; it’s all computerized.

If they pass, they get to stay all night in a hotel, but at 5 a.m. they’ll be picked up and brought back to the MEPS for medical tests with a doctor, and yes it includes blood and urine testing. If they don’t pass, then perhaps they’d want to improve on their ASVAB prep for their next test!

There will also be an interview with questions about any contact with the law. Major Sierpien notes that this isn’t like television where it’s jail or joins the military. The Armed Services does not want felons. Additionally, there will be some sort of drug test, like an MDMA test kit, and if that comes back positive for any type of drug, you will also be out.

The recruiters check backgrounds, Major Sierpien says, noting they do not want to spend taxpayers’ money on criminals or those with drug issues. See this page for information on common drug tests that are available.

If all goes well, it’s on to that new career.

The Marines is not a new career for Major Sierpien. However, this is a new job. He just took formal command of the Detroit MEPS on May 13th of this year.

He’s glad to be here. Major Sierpien is from Clinton Township, graduated from Clintondale Highs School, and is a graduate of Wayne State University where he majored in criminal justice. He would later earn a master’s degree in human resources.

He had some bills for college after graduation and worked two jobs for two years to pay them off before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1997. His recruit training started in San Diego, and continued at Camp Pendleton and Camp Lejeune.

Then it was off to Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia, where he received his commission in 1999. It’s a career that saw is family live in a number of states from New York to Texas.

Major Sierpien was deployed seven times during his career, twice to Iraq, twice to Afghanistan, twice to Japan, once with the Navy. He’s received many decorations and awards for his service.

But when he retires, Major Sierpien thinks he’d like to move to Northern Michigan and do some hunting and fishing.

For now, however, he’s glad to be home in Michigan, and no one is happier than his Mom, who gets to see her three grandsons on a very regular basis.