Tony Azios
The Christian Science Monitor
May 6, 2010

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Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia – The portraits of stern-faced young men on armed forces recruiting posters, hanging from cafeteria walls, seem to gaze down at the mingling teenagers. Below, about 130 high school seniors have gathered to sit for a US military aptitude test required by the school’s administration. Several dozen plan to enlist; many more are still on the fence.

The students are from the Western Pacific island of Pohnpei. And the scene is repeated nationwide several times each year – putting the four states that make up the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) ahead of every US state in Army recruits per capita in recent years.

Lloyd Daniel, a talkative senior with a taste for pizza and American slang, will ship out for Army training on June 29. He joined for the same reasons most kids here do: to see the world, get a steady paycheck, and pay for college. Also, Lloyd feels a sense of debt to America: “The US has been here helping out our island in many ways, so I feel that we, as Micronesians, must return the favor.”

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