I was only ten years old when my grandfather died, but I remember the final words my uncle spoke about him as he concluded the eulogy: “My father admits that his happiest day was when he attained his wings. Today we give him those wings again.” Something must have resonated with me that day, because six years later I sent in my application to the U.S. Naval Academy.
My goal at the Academy has always been simple: to challenge myself to excel in every way possible. When I first raised my right hand swearing to defend the Constitution of the United States, wearing “whiteworks” and “court shoes,” I had little clue as to what challenges lay ahead, not to mention what I actually wanted to do in the Navy as a career. What I did know is that in four years I would raise my hand again, this time on my way to somewhere on the water, under the water, in the air, or on the ground.