Thoughts of serving his country often ran through young Brian Bernardi’s large and handsome head.
By Robin Jovanovich
Thoughts of serving his country often ran through young Brian Bernardi’s large and handsome head. The 2014 Rye High School graduate said, “There are so many reasons — both selfless and selfish — to join the military. To do something for others was one of mine.”
Many have done things for him, Brian quietly remarked. In his junior year of high school, his father died of pancreatic cancer. “The whole community — teachers, parents, fellow students — was there to help me get through that loss.” He added, “My mother, who has always supported me became a single parent, a single earner. She works in the cardiac catheterization unit at Westchester Medical Center and part-time as a caretaker at The Osborn. She spends her days helping others and has long encouraged me to consider doing the same.”
Brian has been balancing college, majoring in business at Westchester Community College, and delivering pizzas for Al Dente five days a week.
But he had another plan for his life. At the end of January, he drove to the Naval Recruitment Office in Yonkers. Why the Navy? “Several reasons. I grew up on the water and enjoy the sea. If you’re on a tour of duty, the Navy will send professors to instruct you. I enjoy school and want to get an education.”
The former rower and Garnets football player had no difficulty passing the rigorous physical examination. He didn’t, however, pass the depth perception test, so he can’t be a pilot. As far as the placement exam, he summed it up as a test of common knowledge, which he possesses.
In late May, Brian will report to Ft. Hamilton in Brooklyn. From there he’ll be flown to the Great Lakes Recruitment Training Center outside Chicago for eight weeks of Basic Training. His next stop is the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Pensacola.
“I’ll be there for six months, working in computer technology. I can’t say more, but I can tell you that my petty officer says I’ll be able to build a computer when I get out!”
For now, Brian Bernardi, 18, is a seaman recruit and very proud to be one.