By PAM SCHIFF For many people, Cranston runs deep in their blood, and they will happily return to their hometown if given the opportunity. Will Naylor is among them. Born and raised in Cranston, he attended Dutemple Elementary School and Park View Middle
For many people, Cranston runs deep in their blood, and they will happily return to their hometown if given the opportunity.
Will Naylor is among them.
Born and raised in Cranston, he attended Dutemple Elementary School and Park View Middle School before graduating from Cranston High School East as a member of the class of 2012.
“I grew up playing all of the classic CLCF sports, soccer, baseball, basketball,” he said. “When I got to Cranston East I joined JROTC and the boys volleyball team. I always had an interest in the Military but it really struck home when I took 10th grade history with Kenneth Hopkins.”
Naylor enlisted almost right after high school.
“I was going to CCRI, trying to figure out how to pay for school and didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life,” he said. “I knew I was into technology and computers, so when an Army National Guard career counselor told me about the opportunities to work with radios, computers, and satellites in the Guard, I jumped all over it. I took advantage of the free school, part-time pay and other benefits while I was young, and since then, the Guard has been great to me. It’s paid for school and I’ve had some awesome training all over the world.”
Naylor was deployed overseas in mid-January 2020 and returned in late November.
“I was deployed with the 115th Military Police company. Our unit was tasked all over the Middle East, but I spent my time in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Our mission was customs, ensuring that people, packages, and unit materials headed back to the United States were clear of any prohibited items and potentially dangerous agriculture not natural to the United States. We spent a total of 10 months overseas.”
Right before Naylor came home, a position opened for a career counselor and recruiter with the Rhode Island Army National Guard on the 02920 side of Cranston.
“I knew instantly I had to jump on the opportunity, since I loved the National Guard and especially loved the city of Cranston,” he said. “I’m super excited to help my community in country in this aspect and hopefully direct the future soldiers here in Cranston to a positive and successful career in the Rhode Island Army National Guard.”
Recently, he was able to meet back up with Hopkins, who is now the city’s mayor, and had the pleasure of gifting him a framed Rhode Island state flag.
“I carried this flag with me throughout the three military bases I spent time at in the Middle East,” he said. “As of now, I know the flag is hanging in City Hall and I’m looking forward to seeing it displayed in many of the various conferences and briefs the mayor gives.”
Naylor explained what his duties entail.
“My job now is mainly meeting with those people that have questions or interests in the Rhode Island Army National Guard, specifically in the 02920 at Cranston High School West,” he said. “From there, I walk them through the process of enlisting and ensuring all of their paperwork and qualifications are met. We discuss all of the benefits with their families and everyone involved and make sure it fits the needs of them and the Army National Guard.”
After recruits leave for their initial entry training, Naylor ensures they’re all settled with their unit here in Rhode Island.
“From there, we’re really just a source of knowledge for the recruits,” he said. “If they don’t know where to go for the forms for their free tuition, they ask us. If they have any other friends that have questions about the Guard, they ask us. We’re also tasked with working with soldiers currently in the RIANG to ensure their careers are on the right path and help with any retention issues such as contract extensions, bonuses, or anything we can resolve to maintain their status in the National Guard.”
If anybody has any questions or interest in the Rhode Island Army National Guard, they can reach him across any social media or text/call at (401) 465-6179.