Navy veteran and Navy Captain express the importance of voting

By Mariah Guzman

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (UI7) — With the upcoming 2020 election, it is important to hear the voices of many. One retired naval officer, and a current Captain in active duty — who both have experience with teaching the University of Illinois — discuss the importance of their jobs, and voting.

Retired navy commander Joe Rank describes himself as a child of the cold war. He was in eighth grade when the Cuban missile crisis happened and has completed many forms of service over his lifetime.

“I served aboard ships in Vietnam,” Rank said. “I had an assignment as an assistant professor of naval science here at the University of Illinois, taught the principles of naval leadership. so, somehow, that three-year obligated service wound up to be a 20-year career.”

With the upcoming election, Rank, who identifies himself as an independent, says his political views have shifted in recent years.

“On social issues, I think I sympathize more with the democratic side,” Rank said. “Historically on national security issues, I’ve always identified with the republican side, and somehow this last term, that’s, that’s sort of flipped.”

Rank is friends with Captain Anthony Corapi, who is entering his 29th year of service and currently teaches Leadership and Management at the University of Illinois to Naval ROTC midshipmen.

“I knew this was going to be my last Navy job, and I just wanted to kind of have an impact on on the on the generation that’s going to take my spot out, you know, out in the fleet doing what I used to do,” said Corapi.

Both Rank and Corapi agree, given the history of their careers, that voting is important.

“I feel as somebody who served for a long time, I feel like it’d be hypocritical for, for a military member to not at least exercise their right to vote when that’s one of the things that in many cases people have bled and died for,” Corapi said.

“If you’re a citizen, you’ve got a duty to, to vote and to express your preference and that’s the way that you know, the arc of history is is is changed through the ballot box,” Rank said.

Through it all, their respect and dedication to the uniform remains the same.

The polls are open on Election Day, Nov. 3, from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. If you are in line before 7 p.m., you are allowed to vote.