from chapter 2 in Falling Angels
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Richie was an intelligent boy. He could have gone to College but his single mother had little money so the army seemed the most viable option.
He wanted to go to college, but his mother couldn't afford. So, believing that the war would be over before he's ever be called he joined the army. He also joined the army in order to send money home for Kenny (he wanted Kenny to have his dreams come true, even though they lokked as impossible as his own.)