Students to become officers after graduation

Brynn Feighery, Online Editor in Chief

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, less than one percent of the U.S. population serves in the United States Armed Forces. This year, several students have decided to join these ranks through attending a service academy, participating in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) or through enlisting.

In the U.S., there are five service academies: U.S. Military (Army, West Point), U.S. Navy (Navy and Marine Corps), U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Merchant Marine (Kings Point). In addition to academies are the ROTC programs and enlistment options for each branch.

I myself am among those who chose to pursue a military path upon high school graduation. This is something I knew was right for me since sophomore year. While exploring many types of colleges, I stumbled across the service academies and fell in love with their core values and the service opportunity.

After narrowing my search to the Air Force and Coast Guard Academies, I pursued opportunities to help solidify my interest, such as attending an engineering program at the Air Force Academy followed by a program at the Coast Guard Academy during the summer prior to senior year. Such programs are designed for prospective cadets to experience cadet life.

These experiences heightened my excitement, and I could not wait to apply for the opportunity to enroll at such an institution. The applications to the service academies were intensive, including essays, interviews, mounds of paperwork and tons of stress.

Ultimately, after being accepted into both the Air Force and Coast Guard programs, I chose to attend the Air Force Academy for the academic opportunities in addition to the variety of career options. While a cadet, I plan to major in systems engineering and minor in a language while playing Division I volleyball.

Deciding to join the military is a personal decision that is different for each individual, especially when deciding in what branch to serve. Senior Ryan Sibley plans to attend the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Sibley will have very few days of summer because seniors will graduate a mere five days before he will report in on June 26.

“I had the academy as a college that I wanted to apply to because of its benefits and the fact that my dad attended,” Sibley said. “I began the application at the end of [last] summer and was super excited to have received my acceptance in December.”

Such programs are tough because of mandatory military obligations in addition to rigorous athletic and academic responsibilities. The four years are challenging but rewarding because they conclude with cadets commissioning as officers.

“I plan to study mechanical engineering and play soccer,” Sibley said. “I hope to use that degree to work in the engine rooms of cutters.”

Some commissioned as an officer in the United States Armed Forces through participating in university ROTC programs. Senior MacEgan Froberg, for example, plans to do Naval ROTC at Old Dominion University (ODU) to become an officer in the Marine Corps.  

“I planned on enlisting in the Marine Corps and attending college while enlisting,” Froberg said. “But I [took] some advice from current officers and decided to go the ROTC route.”

Froberg will contribute to his family’s long history of careers in the military in various branches as the first Marine. After studying at ODU, he plans to pursue a career in military policing and eventually work toward embassy and consulate security.

“I am looking forward to the ceremonial aspect of the military in general, especially the Marines where everything is symbolic,” Froberg said.

Senior Virginia Draper also plans to participate in ROTC. After completing a multi-step application process including paperwork and interviews, she was awarded an Air Force ROTC scholarship and will attend West Virginia University to study nursing in pursuit of a career as an Air Force flight nurse.

“I [took] the JROTC elective class [in the Chantilly Academy],” Draper said. “I decided to do AFROTC in college because I have always wanted to be an officer in the Air Force and serve this country.”