Josh Roth, a 2019 graduate of De Smet High School, joined the Army National Guard on Sept. 21, 2017 —at the beginning of his junior year in high school. The second-eldest of eight children of Shane and Monica Roth, he has six brothers and one sister.
Roth said he was inspired to join the service by his older brother and an uncle who had previously joined.
Following his junior year of high school, Roth went to basic training at Ft. Benning, Ga., and studied as a mechanical equipment engineer.
His unit, the 211th Engineering Company, which, at one time had a detachment in De Smet, is now stationed in Madison. The 211th has not been deployed overseas since 2001.
Roth went for summer training last year to the National Training Center (NTC) in California.
When asked what he has learned, Roth said he has a whole list, but something that stands out is the great bond between the newcomers and old-timers. He noted some of his best friends are people he has done drills with and learned leadership skills from.
Roth is a student at SDSU in Brookings, where he is majoring in psychology and minoring in criminal justice.
“If it all works out, hopefully I will go on to officer’s school,” he said.
In his spare time, Roth enjoys staying in shape, lifting weights, hiking and the outdoors, as well as spending time with his family.
Roth said he would absolutely recommend joining the National Guard. He added that he loves the guards and plans to put in 20 years.